Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Annabel Rus­bridgeThomas and Suz Elvey @KM_news­room

A mag­is­trates’ court went into lock­down on Tues­day af­ter a vi­o­lent crim­i­nal with links to Ash­ford dis­ap­peared by “sheep­ishly” strolling out of the front door.

Daniel McAvoy, 42, also known as Daniel Mur­ray, ap­peared at Maid­stone Mag­is­trates’ Court in the morn­ing charged with beat­ing up his girl­friend.

But af­ter se­cu­rity guards burst into court and asked if any­one had seen him, the build­ing went into tem­po­rary lock­down and no one was al­lowed to leave.

McAvoy, the step­son of an armed rob­ber, walked out of the front door and turned right to­wards Gabriel’s Hill, prompt­ing a full-scale search.

KM re­porter Annabel Rus­bridge-Thomas, who was in court when the drama un­folded, said: “I had seen the de­fen­dant and he left court and was hand­cuffed to prison guards when he was taken down­stairs.

“The next thing we knew se­cu­rity guards swung the court door open in the mid­dle of a later case and said loudly: ‘Have you seen him?’

“Ev­ery­one went ‘who?’ There was some com­mo­tion then some­one sug­gested the mag­is­trates re­tire.

“Out in the wait­ing room there were peo­ple milling around and I heard some­one say he had walked into another court­room.

“Some­one else re­ported they saw him sheep­ishly walk around, be­fore head­ing out of the front door.”

Harry Smith, who was in the wait­ing room, added: “He should have been hand­cuffed so ob­vi­ously some­one hasn’t done their job prop­erly.”

McAvoy was de­scribed as wear­ing a red jumper and dark trousers and has a shaved head.

The Mall shop­ping cen­tre and staff at Maid­stone East sta­tion were asked to keep a look-out. He is not be­lieved to be car­ry­ing any cash.

Po­lice were called and be­gan search­ing along with court se­cu­rity staff.

Bri­tish Trans­port Po­lice of­fi­cers were also alerted and pa­trols were stepped up at rail­way sta­tions around the town.

McAvoy, who has known links to Ash­ford, Swale and Dart­ford, had ap­peared in court­room two on charges of as­sault, beat­ing and ob­struct­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer.

It re­lates to an in­ci­dent where he pushed his girl­friend’s head into a bar, leav­ing her blood­ied. He ad­mit­ted the charges.

He was given a 90-day sen­tence to run con­cur­rently along­side an ex­ist­ing twoand-a-half year one.

McAvoy last ap­peared at Lewes Crown Court in East Sus­sex in Au­gust. He faced eight charges of bur­glary and one of fraud.

He was also sen­tenced for theft and bur­glary in 2011.

Dur­ing a trial at Can­ter­bury Crown Court he also ad­mit­ted another 14 of­fences – in­clud­ing us­ing a credit card from a wal­let he found on the street buy­ing £2,000 of items.

He told of­fi­cers he didn’t hand the wal­let in “be­cause I am not a good man”.

Po­lice of­fi­cers showed a pic­ture of the con­victed crim­i­nal to mem­bers of the public on Tues­day af­ter­noon in a bid to find him.

A po­lice spokesman added: “Of­fi­cers are cur­rently search­ing for Mur­ray, who also uses the name Daniel McAvoy, and in­quiries are on-go­ing.

“He had ap­peared in con­nec­tion with a do­mes­tic abuse in­ci­dent. He is not be­lieved to be a risk to the public.”

If any­one sees McAvoy they are ad­vised not to ap­proach him and to call 999 quot­ing ref­er­ence 22*510.

Con­victed crim­i­nal Daniel McAvoy, aka Daniel Paul Mur­ray, es­caped from Maid­stone Mag­is­trates’ Court on Sep 22 and dis­ap­peared, spark­ing a huge man hunt


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