TWO escaped convicts who punched a young motorist and stole his car in Uttoxeter were chased along the M6 at speeds of more than 100mph, a judge heard.
Jail mates Nathan Evans and Neil Mullen walked out of Sudbury Open Prison on the spur of the moment, even though they were being considered for release.
With no money, the pair headed for Uttoxeter and on the town’s Tesco car park, in Dovefields Retail Park, off Town Meadows Way, Mullen attacked the owner of a Seat car, Daniel Wood, punching him in the face.
The convicts jumped in to the Seat, with Evans behind the wheel and headed for Manchester, Paul Farrow, prosecuting, told Stafford Crown Court.
They were spotted by a police patrol near the Stoke north exit, but after initially pulling on to the hard shoulder, Evans raced off. The chase lasted for 30 miles at speeds of up to 112mph with objects being thrown out of the windows of the Seat. A bottle hit the patrol car’s windscreen.
The pursuit ended in a country lane and both men inside the car became aggressive meaning they had to be tazered.
Evans, 31, and Mullen, 32, were both serving indefinite prison sentences for offences of serious violence. Evans was jailed by Wolverhampton Crown Court in 2009. Mullen, who is from the Manchester area, was jailed in 2006.
Judge Peter Barrie sentenced each defendant to two years after they both admitted charges of escape and aggravated vehicle taking. Mullen also admitted common assault on Mr Wood.
The judge said the attack on Mr Wood had been ‘in very frightening circumstances’ and told both convicts they had breached the trust put in them by being in an open prison.
Nicholas Smith, for Evans, said his client was going to drive his friend up to Manchester, where he lived, and then go to Wolverhampton.
He said: “He was clearly coming towards the end of his sentence and rather than sit it out, he decided to escape, take a car and drive dangerously, with his friend.
“It is hard to put in to words what came over him. He had been transferred from an enclosed prison to an open one, he found that very difficult to cope with.” Chris Grainger, for Mullen, told the judge: “The whole incident beggars belief.
“He simply walked out the front gate with his friend, they had no real plan, no money or resources to get anywhere.”