Man Found Guilty Of Helping Prisoner Escape From Hospital

4 December 2012, 12:46 | Updated: 4 December 2012, 12:55

A man's been found guilty of helping a prisoner escape from outside the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds.

A man was convicted of holding two prison officers at gunpoint to help an inmate jailed for a violent assault escape custody.

45-year-old Garry Cowan was found guilty of 'springing' Andrew Farndon with the aid of a replica handgun from outside West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds on January 25.

The getaway took place after Farndon was taken to the accident and emergency ward with a knife wound sustained at Highpoint jail in Stradishall, Suffolk.

Farndon was serving an indeterminate sentence for public protection after fracturing a victim's skull in a hammer attack, and his escape sparked a nationwide manhunt.

Cowan, his former jailmate, had been released 15 days earlier after serving He denied possession of a replica firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, and assisting an offender to escape but a jury at Woolwich Crown Court in London took less than three hours to reach a unanimous guilty verdict on both counts.

Cowan, who has 41 previous convictions for 180 offences, shook his head as the panel of nine women and three men delivered their guilty verdicts.

During the trial, prison officers Kim Lockwood and Chris Matson told the jury they feared they were about to be killed when the gunman threatened to shoot them moments after arriving at the hospital.

Cowan, originally from St Andrews in Scotland, was arrested three days later at the home of another former jailmate, Alan Hornall, in New Cumnock, East Ayrshire.

Farndon, who admitted a charge of escape, also faces court proceedings in Scotland for three alleged firearm offences, and the pair will be sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on January 18.