Cuffed prisoner fled on motorcycle

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UPDATED: A man jailed for stealing luxury cars in both Norway and France made a dramatic escape after a court appearance in suburban Oslo on Tuesday, running away from police and jumping onto a waiting motorcycle while still wearing his handcuffs. The motorcycle driver was later found and charged.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the main defendant had been called in for an extradition hearing in the local court in Sandvika (Asker og Bærum tingrett) when he suddenly ran out of the courtroom. Another man, believed to be an accomplice, was waiting outside on a motorcycle, which sped off once the escaping prisoner was on board.

The motorcycle was seen around noon on Tuesday, driving in the direction of Blommenholm. Police launched a massive search and called for assistance from neighbouring districts, believing the escaped prisoner would try to flee the country.

Police told NRK the prisoner was Russian and had been arrested on charges of car theft. He’d been held in custody in Norway for the past two months. The court appearance  involved French prosecutors’ request that he be extradited to France.

Asked whether he was considered dangerous, police said they didn’t think so. He also has an earlier conviction for home burglary.

Police believe the escape was well-planned, not least because spectators in the courtroom also appeared to block police attempts to chase after the man. “Several of them hindered the police, so the man got a 10-meter head start,” Børge Enoksen of the Asker og Bærum Police District told NRK. It wasn’t immediately clear whether any of them were held for questioning.

The motorcycle was later found near the Blommenholm Music School and a man was arrested, suspected of being its driver. He is also Russian, age 20, and was later charged as an accomplice in the escape.

Police were in the process of securing video from surveillance cameras around the courthouse. They said the escaped prisoner is 30 years old and came to Norway in 2003, but has a wife and three children in France. His defense attorney said he has lived in Norway for several years.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund