Page last updated at 13:03 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Prisoner who escaped Swansea cell gets extra jail term


Stevenson was captured on CCTV in a jeweller's shop

A prisoner who used his shoe lace to break out of a court cell in Swansea had escaped from jail before - using a home-made rope and a stolen moped.

Details of James Stevenson's previous escape in Dorset in 2005 emerged after he had two years added to his sentence.

Stevenson, 30, fled court in Swansea last October after being jailed for five years for firearms offences.

Swansea Crown Court heard security staff had not been told he was a risk and had a previous escape record.

Prosecutor Janet Gedrych said Stevenson had broken out of HM Prison Verne, on the island of Portland, in August 2005 using a home-made rope.

He used part of a metal chair to make a hook and scaled the prison wall using his improvised equipment.

James Stevenson used a shoe lace to escape from Swansea Crown Court at the Guildhall building
James Stevenson went on the run from the court in October

Despite breaking an ankle jumping from the prison wall he managed to steal a moped belonging to a member of staff.

He free-wheeled down a hill before hot-wiring the moped and crossing the causeway into Weymouth, but was quickly recaptured.

Stevenson, who spent 17 days on the run after his last escape, admitted escaping and stealing 28 gold rings and assault with intent to resist arrest while on the run.

Passing sentencing Judge John Diehl told him he had to "bear in mind the obvious public concern, particular in relation to a man of your record."

The court heard he had 23 previous convictions - including one for a charge of manslaughter.

He had used his shoe lace to force a lock mechanism on his cell door, which had not been double-locked, before escaping into a court yard at the Guildhall by smashing open another door with a fire extinguisher.

During his time on the run, he attempted to steal rings from a jewellers, before handing himself in.

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