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Prisoner’s pillows trick duped Littlemore staff
ESCAPEE Ian McLean fooled Littlemore Hopspital staff by stuffing pillows into his bed, it has been revealed.
McLean, a prisoner given a life sentence for a violent attack on his former partner walked of the unlocked Lambourn House facility at Littlemore Mental Hospital in the early hours of July 8.
Staff were supposed to be checking on him but he duped them into thinking he was sleeping soundly by stuffing pillows in his bed.
Armed with his passport, the 44-year-old caught a taxi to St Pancras Station and then a Eurostar to Brussels.
He was in the Belgian capital for an hour before Littlemore staff knew he was gone. He then travelled, via German, to the northern coast of Poland.
He was arrested on July 15 after a European arrest warrant was issued but took his own life while in police detention before he could be extradited.
The review, commissioned by Oxford Health and led by Broadmoor Hospital’s clinical director Dr Kevin Murray, found proper checks on him were not carried out.
Clinical director Dr Clive Meux said: “Staff did not see hands on the covers, breathing or moving. It was not adequate and it was a failure.”
McLean’s mother, Moira Henderson, 68, from Mansfield, said: “I cannot understand how they missed him when they were checking every hour.
“I am disgusted with Oxford Health. They are supposed to be professionals.”
McLean was given a life sentence in 2004 after stabbing his former partner, Michelle Storer.
He was held at Bullingdon Prison near Bicester but was then needed treatment for his mental health issues. He was eventually transferred to Lambourn House, which is unlocked. It caters for patients before they are released back into the community.
McLean may have been released six to nine months before his escape.
He was allowed to make temporary trips out of the facility unaccompanied, although this was revoked two days before his escape because he was late returning.
Although McLean could have left at any time no transferred prisoner had ever done this in the past, Dr Meux said.
The report said it was possible McLean may have been trying to contact a non-medical member of staff who had travelled to Poland and is now subject to disciplinary proceedings.
Dr Meux said access to a passport, money and a mobile phone was normal but the trust had since contacted the Ministry of Justice to suggest patients’ passports be flagged up at ports.
He said police were contacted immediately after the escape and given a detailed report of McLean’s background two days later.
This led to police issuing an appeal saying he was a risk to the public when previously, on Oxford Health’s advice, they had only considered him a risk to himself.
Dr Meux said he understood why they said that but added: “In our view and the Ministry of Justice’s, we did not think he was going to present a risk to the public.”
Thames Valley Police spokeswoman Hannah Williams said: “Risk assessments are based on all of the information available to us at the time and take in to account previous offending history, the details known to police about the offender and information provided by partner agencies.”
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