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Cheeky remand prisoner walks out

PUBLISHED: 00:30 15 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 March 2010

PRISON guards have been left red-faced after an inmate walked out of Norwich jail to freedom during visiting time.

In a jailbreak with a difference, the remand prisoner managed to give the guards at Norwich Prison the slip before boasting to startled visitors and trying to persuade them to be his getaway driver.

PRISON guards have been left red-faced after an inmate walked out of Norwich jail to freedom during visiting time.

In a jailbreak with a difference, the remand prisoner managed to give the guards at Norwich Prison the slip before boasting to startled visitors and trying to persuade them to be his getaway driver.

James Turner, 38, who is on remand for theft, is today still on the run after removing his distinctive prison bib, strolling straight past guards and out of the visitors' room.

He then walked unchallenged into the adjoining waiting room where he sidled up to Chris Savage, 33, who was with partner Tracy Mussett, 36, and their three children preparing to visit her father.

He muttered under his breath, "I have just escaped. I am on remand and the guards let me walk straight past. Are you driving? I need a lift".

Mr Savage, from Costessey, said: "I didn't believe him at first. I thought someone was winding me up so I said no and walked outside. But he followed me and kept asking.

"I felt a bit sorry for him but not enough to give him a lift."

"He was not at all threatening or anything. He seemed very laid-back and calm - not horrible or nasty in any way," added Ms Mussett.

Eventually Turner accepted their response and pleaded with the couple "don't say anything, will you?"

He asked two other women who were also visiting the prison but when they refused he completed his bold bid for freedom on foot, walking down the road away from the Mousehold jail.

After Turner had left, Mr Savage and his girlfriend returned to the waiting room and were joking about the episode with other visitors when, around five minutes later, the guards raised the alarm.

The family was forced to cancel its visit to Ms Mussett's father and the couple were interviewed by red-faced prison officials.

An internal investigation has now been launched into how Turner was able to walk past the guards.

In the past, the prison has clamped down on people smuggling drugs to the inmates and Mr Savage, who regularly visits the jail, said:

"When I go in they always check me thoroughly and make me take my shoes off and so on. I also have to give lots of ID. But on the way out you can walk straight past.

"By the time he spoke to us this guy had already escaped and got past the guards. The visitor centre is completely open to the public. He was already out.

"I just couldn't believe that he had got out and was actually sitting next to me and asking for a lift."

Turner was not dressed in prison garb and was wearing a pale blue top with dark blue stripes. He had stuffed his white bib in his pocket.

Mr Savage described him as being of medium build, slim, with mousy brown hair and a bad complexion.

Norfolk police were told about Turner's escape yesterday afternoon and were today involved in the hunt for him.

They have assured people that he is not considered to be a threat to the public.

He is thought to be the first person to escape from the category-B jail for six years.

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