A serving prisoner who punched a guard and broke out of Princess Royal Hospital while he was being treated has been sentenced.
Andrew Hollidge, 29, hit one of his guards and ran out of the hospital in April this year, but was found just five minutes later.
Hollidge also escaped from HMP Ford in March and went on the run for 13 days before being recaptured by police.
Currently serving a sentence at HM Prison Highdown, the serial burglar appeared by videolink at Hove Crown Court this afternoon and pleaded guilty to escaping lawful custody and assault by beating.
‘The door burst open’
Prosecutor Edward Hand said: “This defendant was a serving prisoner and he was taken to hospital for treatment by prison officers on April 11.
“During his stay at the hospital he was allowed to use the lavatory and for the purposes of this he is handcuffed.
“The officers did not think anything was [amiss] until there came a point where one of the officers asked if Mr Hollidge had finished.
“The door burst open. Mr Hollidge appeared.”
The prosecutor told the court that the prisoner punched one of the officers in the face and ran through the hospital and out into the car park.
However his bid for freedom was short-lived. Hollidge was found hiding under a vehicle by passing medical staff about five minutes later.
He was put back in handcuffs and taken back into custody.
On the run for 13 days in March
The court heard that this was not his first escape from lawful custody this year.
Prosecutor Edward Hand told the judge that in March the prisoner walked out of HMP Ford.
That time he was on the run for 13 days and committed a number of offences before police caught up with him. He pleaded guilty to that offence and was sentenced in April, the court heard.
Defence barrister Harry MacDonald said Hollidge has since expressed remorse for what he has done.
He said: “The defendant is both realistic and apologetic in relation to his behaviour back in April.
“He is particularly apologetic to officer Dean who he stuck.”
The court heard how Hollidge’s sister was diagnosed with cancer, and that the escape attempts were part of a desire to spend as much time as possible with her.
Hollidge is sentenced
Sentencing Hollidge, judge Jeremy Gold QC said: “You took the opportunity to try and break free when you were at Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.
“It did not last very long and you did not get very far.
“Sadly it is not the first time that you have tried to escape, in fact with the last occasion you did escape by walking out of Ford prison.”
A sentence of 12 months for the hospital escape was added to Hollidge’s existing sentence, with a three-moth term to be served concurrently for the assault by beating.