Crime isn’t glamorous. Criminals shouldn’t be heroes. Or so we are told. Sometimes, however, there are people, it has to be said, come from the wrong side of the track, but it is hard to be critical of their nefarious ways.
One such person is Neil Moore. After committing a fraud of just over £1.8 million, he found himself pleasuring Her Majesty at the salubrious location of HMP Wandsworth*. Quite understandably you may think, he wanted out.
Instead of instructing his lawyers to make a bail application, he came up with a scheme to cut out the hassle of solicitors and the bureaucracy of the Court system. More amusingly perhaps, “The court heard Moore registered the bogus website in the name of investigating officer Det Insp Chris Soole, giving the address and contact details for the Royal Courts of Justice“.
Using an illicit mobile phone he set up a fake web domain that had a URL that was similar to the Court Service one, and then sent an email to the prison from that address giving instructions for Mr Moore’s release.
The prison acted on this and Mr Moore left through the front door of Scrubs to enjoy his illicit freedom.
This was only discovered three days later when his solicitors attended for a conference at prison.
Mr Moore handed himself in three days later and pleaded guilty to eight counts of fraud and escape on 27th March 2015. He will be sentence next month.
What sentence will he get?
Lets leave aside the fraud (we haven’t got many details). For escape, the general rule is that someone always gets a custodial sentence (for fairly obvious reasons).
There aren’t any sentencing guidelines, but the CPS have done a good job of collating the sentencing decisions.
It’s hard to say. On the one hand, it is very sophisticated. On the other, there was no real harm done and he handed himself in. Given that the sentence on the fraud will be measured in years, I would expect a custodial sentence of about 3-6 months, consecutive to the sentence on the fraud.
Why is this an escape, as they let him out?
The offence is a common law one, so not set out in a piece of legislation. There doesn’t appear to be a good definition of ‘escape’, so it must be that Mr Moore took the view that what he did constitutes an escape.
This must be right – he got out of the prison by deception, so, in other words, he got out of prison which he was not allowed to do. Although he didn’t file the bars off the window, this is still an escape.
But, leaving all that aside, and recognising that what he did was wrong, Mr Moore – I, for one, salute you.
*We originally said HMP Wormwood Scrubs, which appears to have been a mistake on our part.