Crime Boss’s Bid to Lower Prison Escape Risk Status Fails in Court

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A famed crime boss doing a life term for masterminding a blameless pair’s murder has failed his legal fight against his labeled escape threat from jail.

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Colin Gunn, the Nottingham gang chief, got a minimum 35-year sentence in 2006 for engineering the murders of John and Joan Stirland in Trusthorpe, Lincolnshire, in a twisted act of vengeance on their son.

He sued the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), arguing the February 2023 call to not ease his escape risk label was biased and not right by law.

Locked up in high-security HMP Long Lartin in Evesham, Worcestershire, Gunn claimed this decision has him under a more “intrusive and restrictive regime in the prison”.

He’s reportedly once controlled Nottingham’s Bestwood Estate with his brother, David Gunn, creating a multimillion-pound empire from drugs, extortion, and violent crime, contributing to the city’s once-title as the UK’s gun crime hotspot.

Gunn, sentenced again in 2007 for nine years for bribing two cops and planning to corrupt, has made news before over his prison life antics.

In 2010, he boasted winning the right to be called “Mr” by guards post a Prisons Ombudsman’s complaint.

And in 2012, at HMP Belmarsh, he pushed other inmates to protest overpriced fees for A4 mail.

His lawyers argued this month that the high-risk tag blocks him from lower security and dims his chance for an early license release after his 2040 minimum term.

Yet, Mr Justice Saini chucked Gunn’s challenge out in a Monday ruling.

The court heard Gunn was tagged “exceptional” risk in March 2013 after hints he planned a breakout involving a staff member, a chopper, and guns, but was later lowered to “high risk” come September that year.

In his 26-page verdict, Mr Justice Saini wrote: “The counsel for the claimant argued his past exceptional escape risk should hardly matter now, as him being downgraded clearly means the old reasons for his past label are ‘no longer valid’… I find this argument flawed.”

He added: “The past ‘exceptional’ tag was due to intel that the claimant and another inmate had a getaway plot with a helicopter and firearms… This history is part of the whole evidence picture.”

The judge also decided that skipping an oral hearing on Gunn’s risk status was legal, noting “it wouldn’t have added anything”.

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