Escaped teenager convinced guards to remove handcuffs

Steven McGovern absconded while in custody. Picture: Contributed
Steven McGovern absconded while in custody. Picture: Contributed

AN Edinburgh teenager who escaped prison guards convinced them to remove his handcuffs before running off, it is understood.

Steven McGovern, from Muirhouse, had appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on charges including stealing a motorbike and spitting at a police officer.

But the 18-year-old, who had been released from hospital after suffering injuries from a motorcycle crash, fled after his handcuffs were removed before he was transported to jail.

The teen was still missing last night.

Mr McGovern was arrested on Friday night, while on bail, for dangerous driving at excessive speed of a stolen motorbike on Granton Road.

He is accused of swerving into the opposite lane crashing into a car before colliding with a fence.

The teenager was taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for injuries sustained after the crash where he was also charged for threatening staff with sexual violence, assaulting and spitting on the head of a police officer and headbutting another officer.

He was also charged with behaving in a threatening or abusive manner and kicking over a sign.

After appearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday to answer the charges, McGovern is understood to have convinced prison escort officials from G4S his injuries were too severe to climb into the van, before he took an opportunity to escape.

Security G4S will now launch an investigation into the incident.

G4S court escorting operations director, Willie Galloway, said: “Shortly after 5pm yesterday [10 July] evening at Edinburgh Sheriff Court a prisoner absconded from custody as they were being escorted onto a vehicle.

“We notified Police Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service and are working with them to recapture this individual as soon as possible.

“While our focus is on supporting the police to re-apprehend this individual, we will work with the court and other relevant authorities to understand the circumstances surrounding this incident and establish what happened.”

Police Scotland, who were still on the hunt for the prisoner last night, warned members of the public not to approach McGovern, who they said had “managed to free himself” from G4S staff.

McGovern is described as white, around 5ft 7in tall, with brown hair and was wearing a green hooded Lacoste tracksuit, a blue T-shirt and green trainers when he absconded. He has links to the Drylaw area of Edinburgh.

Inspector David Hughes said: “We ask anyone who knows where Mr McGovern is or has seen him, not to approach him, but to contact Police Scotland on 101, quoting incident 2617 of 10 July.”

Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said: “This individual needs to face the appropriate punishment if, as reported, the prisoner has escaped from court.

“In the future, we must make doubly sure court surroundings are secure in order to keep communities safe and avoid a similar incident occurring again. As part of the justice process, it is hugely important that criminals take responsibility and face the consequences after breaking the law.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk