Prison van escapee John Anslow cleared of murder

By Connie Osborne Saturday 29 March 2014 Updated: 04/04 23:15

A DRUG dealer who escaped from a prison van as he was being driven from HMP Hewell has been cleared of murder.

John Anslow, from Tipton, was found not guilty of murdering Richard Deakin in 2010 at Woolwich Crown Court on Wednesday (March 26).

Mr Deakin was shot by a masked gunman as he lay in bed at his home in Chasetown, Cannock, on the morning of 5 July 2010.

The 33-year-old was charged over the killing in January 2012 but was sprung from a prison van as he was being driven to Stafford Crown Court over the murder charge.

A police appeal was launched to capture him and he was eventually traced to Northern Cyprus in March last year.

When he returned to the UK Anslow was charged over the prison van ambush and he admitted escaping lawful custody in September, but denied any role in Mr Deakin's murder.

The murder case lifted the lid on the 33-year-old who was handed a 22-year prison term in September 2012, for his role as a drugs kingpin overseeing cocaine and cannabis supply across the country.

But reporting restrictions were put in place until the murder case was finished.

On top of a seven year sentence for absconding from custody it means Anslow now faces a total of almost 30 years in jail.

Investigating officer Mike Greenland from West Midlands Police Force CID, said: "Anslow hadn’t declared any income to HRMC that could justify such an extravagant lifestyle. The reason for that is simple - the money came from drug dealing.

"Anslow will be behind bars for many years and if he believes he can look forward to spending his vast criminal proceeds when he’s eventually released he’ll be in for a shock because we’re looking to claw back the cash via a Proceeds of Crime application."

Two men from Bilston were given life sentences for the murder of Mr Deakin.

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