Convict breaks out of Aussie top-security jail

SYDNEY • Red-faced Australian authorities have vowed to review security measures after a prisoner used bed sheets, a pillow and a mop handle to scale a wall topped with razor wire to escape from a maximum-security jail.

Convicted 28-year-old armed robber Stephen Jamieson made his daring break for freedom on Tuesday. He was on the run in a stolen car for 10 hours before police, using helicopters and search dogs, caught up with him about 100km from the prison.

Corrective Services New South Wales commissioner Peter Severin said yesterday the jailbreak from the prison in Goulburn, around 200km from Sydney, should never have happened.

Mr Severin said Jamieson escaped after cutting through a metal gate at the back of a small secure exercise yard.

"He was able to get out of that exercise yard, use a range of bed sheets that he had tied together

to swing them over the wall, and effect his escape by scaling that wall," Mr Severin said.

"It appears that he also had a pillow (that was) put around his waist to enable him to make good his escape over the razor wire."

He announced a full review of the incident by security experts.

Jamieson had already been in segregation, while the prison authorities investigated his alleged involvement in a tunnelling attempt from inside the jail earlier this month.

A "man-made cavity", 60cm deep with an entrance of about 40cm by 18cm, was discovered in a prison workshop, although it was more than 100m from the walls of the prison.

Jamieson, who was serving a 12-year sentence, appeared in Goulburn Local Court yesterday to face charges over the escape and the pursuit.

"This is a very serious incident that should not have happened... There is clearly, absolutely, no excuse for anybody to be able to escape from maximum security," Mr Severin said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2015, with the headline 'Convict breaks out of Aussie top-security jail'. Print Edition | Subscribe