Court hears how mentally-ill prisoner escaped Suffolk care home

A care assistant at a secure unit in north Suffolk was having a relationship with a mentally-ill prisoner she helped escape, a court has heard.

Rebecca Martin, 22, was waiting in her car in the car park of St John's House in Palgrave in the early hours of the morning when Luke Sparks overpowered a member of staff and used a fire extinguisher to smash his way out of the building, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Martin and 21-year-old Sparks had then driven to the Bristol area where they were arrested two days later.

Rex Bryan, prosecuting, said Sparks was placed at St John's House, which is a medium secure mental hospital used for the assessment and treatment of prisoners who have been placed under hospital orders, in December 2009 after he admitted robbing and repeatedly stabbing a taxi driver.

Martin was working at the unit as a care assistant and had been fully trained in the procedures and requirements of the hospital, said Mr Bryan.


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Martin, of Greys Manor, Banham, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to assisting Sparks to escape.

Sparks, of Weston-super-Mare, admitted escaping from lawful custody.

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The case was further adjourned at a hearing at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday until the week commencing March 19.

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