Wall-scaling runner behind bars again

A PRISONER who escaped his cell and scaled a wall, leading police on a chase through East Tamworth has been jailed for two years.

Jonathon Ian Haines’ bid for freedom lasted just 14 minutes after police cornered him in a shed in the backyard of a home on December 6.

The 19-year-old was shackled when he appeared in the dock of Tamworth Local Court yesterday for the sentencing hearing, supported by family members.

Haines’ solicitor, Matt Kwan, submitted the escape was an opportunistic venture but Magistrate Roger Prowse said it was a serious offence, carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

“Fundamental breach of trust,” he said. “I doubt it that you were going to turn yourself in,” adding that the escape was only flawed “because you were recaptured.” 

Police swarmed the railway line above Marius St in the hunt for Haines on December 6 after he fled the Tamworth Court cell compound about 3.20pm.

Haines managed to open the small utility slot on the cell door and placed his hands through a small hole, undoing the bolt from the door.

A Corrective Services officer raised the alarm when he saw Haines leave the van dock area.

The prisoner then ran through the car park of the court compound before climbing the 4.5-metre wall.

“But how you did that is a bit of a mystery to me,” Magistrate Prowse said, adding that Haines then jumped onto the footpath and ran into East Tamworth.

Haines had appeared in Tamworth Local Court for a hearing on two charges, which were dismissed against him yesterday.

He was sentenced to two years behind bars with a non-parole period of 18 months for the unlawful escape.

The 19-year-old received a discount for his early guilty pleas and was convicted on the count of trespassing.

Haines, who is also on remand awaiting a trial in Tamworth District Court next year, will be eligible for parole in June, 2015.

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