Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 25°C

min temp: 19°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Bury St Edmunds: Man who sprung violent prisoner guilty

18:51 03 December 2012

Andrew Farndon

Andrew Farndon

Archant

A MAN has been convicted of holding two prison officers at gunpoint to help an inmate jailed for a violent assault escape.

Garry Cowan, 45, 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 a nine-year sentence for robbery.

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.

Giving evidence, Miss Lockwood said the gunman told her she had 10 seconds to remove the handcuffs from the prisoner, while Farndon kept repeating: “I’m sorry miss, let me go.”

The pair fled by foot before escaping in a getaway car, the trial heard.

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.

The jury heard from a number of witnesses who saw a man matching Cowan’s description hanging around the hospital on the day of the hold-up.

Mobile phone data placed Cowan outside West Suffolk Hospital that afternoon, the prosecution said, and the defendant’s DNA was found on a jumper sleeve used as a balaclava and on the inside of a case which allegedly contained the gun.

He was also picked out in an identification parade by Miss Lockwood.

Cowan denied being the accomplice and told the jury he was hitch-hiking through England at the time Farndon escaped.

He claimed Mr Hornall, who served time with him at Highpoint, might have been the gunman and suggested his former jailmate tried to frame him by planting some of the evidence.

During cross examination, prosecutor Gregory Perrins said Cowan was a “bare-faced liar”.

He told the jury that DNA from Farndon and Cowan was found on the seats of a Ford Escort used as a getaway car and on the neck of a milk bottle found in the vehicle.

Mr Perrins said when police arrested the pair in Scotland, they found ammunition, instructions and a cleaning brush for the gun in the boot of the Escort, and a checklist Cowan had prepared.

Judge Nicholas Hilliard told the defendant he faces a “substantial” prison sentence.

Farndon, who has pleaded guilty to a charge of escape, is also facing court proceedings in Scotland for three alleged firearm offences.

The pair will be sentenced at Woolwich Crown Court on January 18.

0 comments

West Suffolk pupils receive their GCSE results
Emotional King Edward VI School pupils in Bury St Edmunds

Schools across the area are celebrating outstanding GCSE results after months of waiting.

GCSE results day at Clacton Coastal Academy.

Year 11 pupils across north Essex are celebrating another bumper crop of GCSE results this year.

Farlingaye High School pupils Daisy Shaw (left) and Erin Hamilton celebrate their GCSE results.

There were tears from some and squeals of joy from others today as students across east Suffolk opened the envelopes containing their GCSE results.

Tim Odgers on a recent trip to York Minster

Tributes have been paid to an “inspirational” former Stowmarket Middle School head teacher who has died of an aggressive blood cancer.

Bury Magistrates Court.

The future of the justice system in Bury St Edmunds has now been decided, with the government accused of paying “lip service” to local concerns.

Amelia Felgate, five, with Sparkle - her very own Pigs Gone Wild creation

Her older siblings have been proudly showing off the junior pigs they and their classmates designed and painted during the summer term.

Stock image of pupils sitting an exam. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Girls are expected to yet again outperform boys on GCSE results day this year.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24