Tuesday 27 September 2016

The fugitive: Record-breaking Irishman has been on the run for 60 years

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 05/01/2016 | 08:10

The Verne prison
The Verne prison

An Irishman is the holder of a dubious record - he is the fugitive who has been on the run for the longest time, a whopping 60 years.

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John Patrick Hannan was jailed in 1955 after being convicted of car robbery and the assault of two policemen in the UK.

However, 30 days into his 21-month sentence, he broke out of Verne Prison in England.

The Irish Sun reports that The Guinness Book of Records currently refuse to recognise Hannan's 'achievement' unless he hands himself into authorities.

The Irishman, and his fellow prisoner Gwnant Thomas, fled the jail under the cover of darkness and used knotted sheets to scale the prison wall.

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Both men were aged 22 at the time.

The fugitives were clad in grey prison overalls, but broke into a nearby petrol station and stole coats to disguise themselves.

Thomas was re-captured within 24 hours, but Hannan remained on the run, and it is believed he made his way back to Ireland where he has been living in secret ever since.

Dorset Police ended their active search for Hannan in 1996.

If alive, Hannan would now be aged 81.

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The previous world record for the longest prison escape was held by Leonard Frisco, who successfully evaded capture for 45 years and 11 months.

However Hannan surpassed this record in 2001.

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