Hereford & Worcester

Prisoner escapes after van ambush in Worcestershire

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Media captionJustice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said it was a "well-orchestrated armed ambush"

A prisoner charged with murder over a fatal shooting escaped after a "well-orchestrated armed ambush", Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke said.

John Anslow, 31, escaped in Hewell Lane, Tardebigge, near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire at 08:20 GMT.

West Mercia Police said three balaclava wearing men carrying sledgehammers, smashed the windscreen and driver's window of the prison escort van.

Officers said Mr Anslow, from Tipton, was considered "dangerous".

Mr Clarke added his arrest was a "priority".

He was charged with murder by Staffordshire Police last week.

Image caption Police believe John Anslow escaped in a Volkswagen car

Police said the men got away in a silver Volkswagen Scirocco and believe they switched to a silver Mercedes car in Stoney Lane, Bromsgrove, soon after.

Det Insp Jon Marsden, of West Mercia Police, said: "Anslow has recently been charged with murder and is considered dangerous."

He added: "We would urge any members of the public who sees him not to approach him directly, but to contact police immediately."

Police said Mr Anslow was 5ft 10in (1.8m) tall, of medium build, with short, straight, dark brown hair.

Det Sup Martin Evans of Staffordshire Police told a press conference at Redditch police station: "He has strong connections all around the country including London - this is a national appeal."

He is one of five men charged with the murder of Richard Deakin, who was shot in Chasetown, Staffordshire, in 2010.

Mr Anslow was charged on Wednesday and was on his way to Stafford Crown Court from HM Hewell in Redditch when the ambush happened.

Police said the van driver was punched in the ambush.

There were two other prisoners in the van at the time, neither of whom was released, police said.

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