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#283342 - 13th Jan 2009 2:51am VIOLENT LAG SPRUNG BY GUN GANG
_jase_
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Armed gunmen in balaclavas ambushed a prison van yesterday and freed a dangerous prisoner.

The attackers skidded to a halt in front of the van in the daring rush-hour hold-up and one smashed the driverís side window.

The driver was dragged out and beaten to a pulp with the barrel of a shotgun before the gang forced open the back doors to free handcuffed traveller Wayne Connor.

The driverís frightened partner looked on helplessly from the cab as the three then sped off.

Commuters watching from cars stuck behind the Serco van were also afraid to challenge the thugs.

Connor, 20, was being taken to court from Feltham Young Offenders Institution in south-west London, to face burglary and assault charges.

His co-defendant Jason McInerney, 21, also escaped briefly after a similar raid last year.

Police helicopters were scrambled as a massive manhunt was launched.

Officers are focusing on the local traveller community, of which Connor is a member, and hotels where he might be hiding. They fear he may try to flee the country.

Det Insp Alan Holford said Connor should not be approached.

He warned: ďHe is known to assault people Ė he is known to use violen

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#284339 - 16th Jan 2009 2:54pm Prison van escapee recaptured [Re: ]
_jase_
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Prison van escapee recaptured


Connor was alone in a hotel room when he was recaptured by officers

A suspected violent criminal on the run after being sprung from a prison van by armed men has been recaptured.

Wayne Connor, 20, was snatched by two men wearing balaclavas as he travelled to court from Feltham Young Offenders' Institution in west London on Monday.

He was arrested at the Clumber Park Hotel in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, shortly after midnight on Friday, police said.

Connor escaped when two men smashed the driver's side window and threatened the officer with a gun.

They demanded that the driver, who was accompanied by a second member of staff, release Connor from the rear of the six-cell van.

After the ambush, the Metropolitan Police launched a huge manhunt involving a police helicopter, specialist search teams and dog handlers.

Connor was alone in a hotel room when he was recaptured by officers from the Met's Specialist Crime Directorate, along with officers from Nottinghamshire Police.

Scotland Yard said no other arrests were made and the men who engineered Connor's escape are still at large.

He was due to appear at Woolwich Crown Court alongside his brother, Jason McInerney, 21, who escaped from custody last year, and a third man.

Mr Connor was the fifth member of the same family to try to escape from custody in the last 10 months, according to a newspaper.

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