HC Deb 08 April 1936 vol 310 cc2799-800W

asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that there is no individual at Oxford Prison or at the Home Office who can state on oath the time at which Sullivan escaped from Oxford prison on 30th September, 1933, in consequence of there being no record kept of his going out or coming in; and whether there is any record kept at the present time when red-band men go out or come in?


The hon. Member is under a misapprehension if he thinks that because the movements of this prisoner were not booked on the morning of his escape, there is any doubt as to the facts. There is no dispute that he was let out of the Hall into the yard before breakfast. The evidence given at the time by the officer who let him out was perfectly clear. The enquiry made at the time also showed that no officer had re-admitted him. On those facts, it necessarily follows that the prisoner escaped before, and not after, the breakfast period. After the enquiry into this escape, it was arranged as an additional precaution that separate records should be kept of the movements of red-band men in and out of the Hall.


asked the Home Secretary how many sworn statements he has received which support the theory that Sullivan, the red-band prisoner, escaped from custody at Oxford Prison on 30th September, 1933, some time after 8.30 a.m.; and what check, if any, was in operation at the time of the outgoings and incomings of prisoners who were allowed to work without the usual disciplinary supervision?


Statutory declarations were made in 1935 by Sullivan and another ex-prisoner to the effect that the escape took place after breakfast. As already explained, these statements made 15 and 17 months after the event do not outweigh the evidence obtained at the time or the statements made by Sullivan in November, 1933, that the escape took place before breakfast. The statutory declarations made by the two dismissed officers in 1936 add nothing to the existing information. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer to the reply given to the hon. Member for the Colne Valley Division.