Escaped prisoner jailed after attack - St Albans

19/12/2014

A life sentence prisoner was jailed for 7 more years today, Friday, 19 December 2014, after going on the run from an open jail and attacking a chef in an East Herts pub with a knife.

Paul Frankou, 49,  left Salah Touati with permanent scars to his hands when he confronted him alone late at night in the Sow and Pigs pub in Thundridge, near Ware.

He had wanted money, but got away with just a bottle of Southern Comfort  and had caused thousands of pounds'  worth of damage, St Albans crown court heard.

Frankou was serving life for attempted robbery and firearms offences when he walked out of Hollesley Bay jail in Woodbridge, Suffolk on Saturday May 24. He had been sentenced in 2001.

Prosecutor Helen Guest said just after midnight on 24 August he broke into the Sow and Pigs pub in Thundridge near Ware, Herts through the staff door.

CCTV from the pub showed him brandishing a knife in front of Tunisian Mr Touati, who was upstairs. He demanded money and, in a struggle, the chef suffered cuts to his hands.

The judge, Recorder Peter Hertbert, commented: "It was an awful lot of damage and terror for the victim - all for a bottle of Southern Comfort."

Blood left at the scene linked Frankou to the break-in and he was arrested in a stolen Ford Focus on a petrol station forecourt in the High Road, Broxbourne, Herts on August 28.

The Focus had been stolen on 9 June this year from Ilford.

Frankou appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to escape, handling stolen goods ( the car) and aggravated burglary. He pleaded guilty today,  Friday, 19 December 2014, to driving with no insurance and driving a vehicle taken without consent.

He had been in Hollesley Bay jail for 4 to 5 months in preparation for his release on licence that was planned for the end of this year.

Defence barrister Monica Stevenson said Frankou had been on day release from the Category D jail and was working in a charity shop in Ipswich at the time he walked out. "It was a moment of madness. He had lost privileges when the prison discovered he had been drinking alcohol while on an earlier day release and that appears to be the trigger for him absconding," she said.

She asked for credit for his guilty pleas.  He is now being held in a Category B prison.

Recorder Herbert told him "But for your own stupidity you would be looking at parole in the immediate future.

 "The victim was clearly terrified. If this was your partner or your daughter you would be horrified. You have to put yourself in the place of this man.

"It was lucky in the struggle that the injuries were not more serious. It takes very little for a knife to cause a defensive wound to being fatal."

He sentenced him to a total of 7 years in jail. He was banned from driving for 18 months.

12 prisoners have absconded from the open prison in the year to March 2014.

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