France’s most wanted breaks out
Armed robber Redoine Faid stages the first of his two spectacular escapes from maximum- security prisons
Armed robber Redoine Faid is probably France’s most spectacular gangster since Jacques Mesrine. Sentenced to 20 years, Faid had been released, but was once again detained after breaching his parole, and was awaiting trial over another armed robbery in which a female police officer was killed. He escaped from Sequedin prison in 2013 less than 30 minutes after arriving, taking four guards hostage and blasting through several prison doors with explosives.
Recaptured and returned to a different prison with a 25- year sentence, he didn’t stay at Sud- Francilien prison very long either. This time Faid made his 2013 break seem comparatively timid.
In July 2018 three masked men with assault rifles and smoke grenades hijacked a helicopter, forcing its pilot to fly them to the prison. While one guarded the chopper and pilot, the others used angle grinders to breach the prison’s visiting room. They knew exactly where and when to strike.
With Faid released, the fearsome foursome boarded the chopper, which had landed in the courtyard – the one part of the prison not protected by anti- helicopter netting. They abandoned the helicopter and its pilot, who was shaken but unhurt, near Gonesse, before continuing in a black Renault Megane.
The lack of netting also provided unintentional humour. When asked, a representative stated that inmates never use the courtyard, “except to leave the prison”.