Two convicts break out of Central Prison early Monday morning

Two convicts broke out of the Central Prison here early Monday morning. They were ‘Ripper’ Jayanandan, a 45-year-old prisoner on death row, and his cellmate ‘Oopa’ Prakash, 40, who was serving time for burglary.

Jayanandan is accused in eight murder cases, all for gain, including a double homicide, and 14 burglaries. He was brought to the Central Prison here on June 21, 2010 following his capture after his audacious midnight escape from the Central Prison, Kannur, in 2009. In 2007, he had made a futile attempt to dig out of the Central Prison, Viyyur, through the toilet inside his jail cell.

The duo was housed in the maximum security ‘condemned cell’ in the UT block adjacent to the gallows. The police suspect that the jailbreak occurred after midnight.

The fugitives had cut through the cylindrical ‘dead latch’ of the padlocked cell’s grilled door, possibly with a hacksaw blade, and scaled the relatively low wall of the block. (The wall had been fortified and topped with an electrified barbed wire fence in 2011 to house terror suspect Thadiyantavide Nazeer.) They proceeded to the prison’s infirmary and stole bed sheets and clothes left out to dry on clotheslines.

The convicts hastily assembled a crude ladder from wooden poles to scale the wall. (The poles are used to prop up banana saplings planted in the nine acres inside the 7-metre-high walls of the 125-year-old prison.)

Once on top of the wall, they used a rope fashioned out of the knotted bed sheets and clothes to abseil down its frightening height, investigators said.

The police said the escapees had shed their jail uniform for civilian clothes, which they had kept with them inside the cell, to mix easily with the civilian population.

They had made up their cots inside the cell with vessels and pillows to make it appear as if they were sleeping. The prison’s extensive surveillance camera network was down at the time of the escape, purportedly due to a power outage. So far, the police have no clue about the fugitives.

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