Prison escapee who duped guards jailed

Wandsworth Prison

Wandsworth Prison - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

“Hedonistic” conman Neil Moore who escaped from prison after sending staff a fake email saying he had been granted bail has been sentenced to seven years.

Neil Moore, 28, of Princes Road, Barkingside, was on remand at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London for fraud offences when he emailed wardens posing as a court clerk manager at “Southwalk Crown Court”.

While behind bars he set up a website, using the address and telephone number of the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, using an “illicit” mobile phone that was used widely in the prison.

He created a domain name similar to the court service’s, emailing the custody mailbox from an account ending hmcts-gsi-gov-uk.

In the email he claimed he had been granted bail, ensuring he was able to walk out of prison on March 10 last year, London’s Southwark Crown Court heard.

Moore’s escape only became apparent three days later when his solicitors attended HMP Wandsworth for a conference with him and discovered he was gone.

The judge, Recorder David Hunt QC, described the escape as “sophisticated and ingenious”.

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He said: “The way you contrived your escape was potentially more of a threat to the integrity of the prison system, and therefore to the public, than the mere use of brute force. And in my judgment there is an obvious need to deter others from trying to procure their escape through the same or similar means.”

Investigations, with the help of Homeland Security in the US, revealed Moore set up the website using the name of the officer who was investigating him, Detective Inspector Chris Soole.

The court heard how when Moore, from Trinidad and Tobago, left his native country, he changed his name and entered a civil partnership, committing the frauds to fund a lavish lifestyle.

“He became addicted and intoxicated by it, and the lifestyle he was able to enjoy. He entered into a civil partnership with a transgender individual,” he said.

It was this relationship that ultimately led Moore to make his escape from prison, after they were both sent to HMP Wandsworth, it was said.

Mr Femi-Ole said: “He (Moore) and his partner were remanded into prison, Wandsworth Prison. Their relationship became revealed, he tells me, by the guards.”

He described these as “dark days” for the pair, with Moore fearing being raped or killed after his partner was granted bail.

“It was in these circumstances that he felt he could not tolerate the situation and escaped in the way the crown describe.”

Moore was on remand for previously impersonating staff from Barclays, Lloyds and Santander banks and persuading large organisations to give him vast sums of money.

He admitted eight counts of fraud in which he posed as staff from banks such as Barclays, Lloyds and Santander to dupe major organisations such as Thomas Exchange Global into handing over almost £2million.

The court heard that Moore used up to four aliases to commit the frauds worth a total of £1,819,000, sometimes putting on a woman’s voice to dupe his fraud victims.

He was so convincing that his partner was initially charged alongside him, believed to be involved in the scams, Mr Paton said.

All charges against Moore’s partner were later dropped.

Moore admitted eight counts of fraud, and one count of escape from lawful custody, and was jailed for a total of seven years.