Escaped Dana prisoner returns as jail tour guide

Image caption,
Mr Groom's "daring" escape was covered in the local newspapers

An ex-prisoner has returned as a tour guide to the high-security jail he escaped from 56 years ago.

Walter Groom and another man became the only two inmates to escape from HMP Shrewsbury when they broke out in 1961.

Mr Groom, who was serving time for breaking into shops, said the pair went down a manhole and tunnel before making "a human ladder" to scale the wall.

The 81-year-old told his story to visitors to the former jail, known as the Dana, during a history day.

Image caption,
Walter Groom, who was 25 when he escaped from jail, said he made a new life

HMP Shrewsbury dates from the 19th Century and closed in 2013.

Mr Groom, of Bilston, said the plan was hatched after he was approached by the other man "who was desperate to get out".

They planned the escape for 16 days after realising a manhole led into the prison yard, but they were both recaptured six days later.

Image caption,
The three-acre Shrewsbury site housed more than 300 prisoners until 2013

Mr Groom, whose wife Barbara has written a book about his experiences, said he later put his criminal past behind him.

"I wanted to make a new life for myself - I always wanted to do that and I succeeded in the end. It was hard... but I did it."

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