TWO Bolton men who conspired to spring gangsters free in a terrifying armed raid on a prison van have been jailed.
Marcus Hill and Michael Crossley were both jailed for 16 months today for their part in the audacious plan in which armed raiders sprang two gangsters from the van in front of shocked drivers as it drove through Salford.
The escape happened in April last year, when Ryan MacDonald, aged 21, and Stevie McMullen, aged 32, were freed as they were being transported from custody to court.
Three armed men attacked the van, carrying an axe, a sledgehammer and a double-barrelled shotgun, and forced staff to free MacDonald and McMullen, both of no fixed abode, while the driver was hit around the head.
Hill, aged 28, of Chedworth Crescent, Little Hulton, and Crossley, aged 26, of Bradford Road, Farnworth, both admitted their parts in the escape and pleaded guilty to helping a criminal.
Hill also pleaded guilty to drug dealing, and both were jailed for 16 months.
Their role amounted to driving McMullen from Bolton to Lancaster while he was on the run, and both were present in the Nissan Juke when McMullen was arrested.
McMullen was today jailed for 25 years at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, while MacDonald was jailed for 20 years and two months.
Both were jailed for 13 years for conspiracy to escape from lawful custody and conspiracy to possess an imitation firearm, while McMullen was also given a consecutive 12-year sentence for conspiracy to rob, conspiracy to commit arson and conspiracy to kidnap.
MacDonald was sentenced while on the run to seven years and two months for conspiracy to commit robbery, which will also run consecutively.
Karla Withers, aged 29, of St Joseph’s Drive, Ordsall, was jailed for four-and-a-half years after she was found guilty of conspiring to escape from lawful custody and admitted possessing ammunition.
The three men who attacked the prison van were Nathan Chapman, Matthew McGivern and Anthony Smith.
Chapman, aged 25, of Mulberry Court, Pendleton, and Smith, aged 21, of no fixed address, were jailed for 10 years for conspiracy to escape from lawful custody and conspiracy to possess an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
McGivern, aged 32, of Red Moss Row, Agecroft, was jailed for seven years after he was found guilty of conspiracy to escape from lawful custody, and six years for possessing a class A drug with the intent to supply.
Michael Morrison, aged 18, of Adelphi Court, Salford, was jailed for three years and four months for conspiracy to escape from lawful custody.
Stephen Wilson, aged 18, of Rosamund Drive, Salford, was jailed for five-and-a-half years for conspiracy to escape lawful custody.
Mavis Chapman, aged 64, of West Crown Avenue, Ordsall, was jailed for 15 months for perverting the course of justice.
Paul Taylor, aged 24, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to conspiring to escape from lawful custody and was jailed for five years and four months.
Ainsley MacDonald, aged 21, was jailed for 15 months for contacting MacDonald on a contraband mobile phone while he was in prison.