Police issue warning after convict escapes court seconds after being handed prison sentence
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Police are on the hunt for a man who leapt from the dock and escaped from court just moments after he was given a jail sentence for assault.
Nicholas Bunclark, 30, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court today (Tuesday 3 January), where he was given a 16-month sentence for assaulting a man at a hostel in Southport in November last year, leaving him with a fractured cheek bone.
Bunclark had denied actual bodily harm but was found guilty following a trial, and was in court today to receive his sentence.
According to the Liverpool Echo, after judge Garrett Byrne handed down the 16-month sentence, Bunclark put his head in his hands, after which he had a brief interaction with his mum, who was sitting in the public gallery.
But as he was about to led towards the cells, Bunclark jumped over the gate of the dock.
Court officers attempted to stop Bunclark, but he was able to escape following a ‘brief tussle’.
It’s believed Bunclark absconded from the court in the aftermath and remains at large, Merseyside Police have said.
The court service has said such escapes are 'extremely rare' and confirmed it was working alongside police to capture Bunclark and bring him to jail.
A HM Courts and Tribunals Service spokesman told the Liverpool Echo: "The strict security measures we have in place ensure escapes from court custody are extremely rare, and our staff and the police are now working together to recapture the offender."
Following the escape, a heightened security presence was spotted around the building, with guards patrolling outside.
Several other cases due to be heard that day had to be postponed, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Prior to his sentencing, Judge Byrne had pointed out that Bunclark had a history of breaching court orders and claimed there was no realistic prospect of rehabilitation.
Police have urged anyone with any information to come forward.
Merseyside Police said in a statement: "Officers are appealing for help in locating a man who has fled the dock at Liverpool Crown Court this afternoon, Tuesday, January 3, after being jailed. Nicholas Bunclark, from Liverpool, was sentenced to 16-months for assault at Liverpool Crown Court this afternoon.
"If you see him, recognise him or know where he is, contact us via @MerPolCC on Twitter, Merseyside Police Contact Centre on Facebook or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 with reference 369 of Tuesday, January 3."