A notorious gangster is on the run after escaping by helicopter from a prison in the Paris region.
Redoine Faid was helped by three heavily-armed men with assault rifles.
Two gunmen in balaclavas used smoke bombs and angle-grinders to break into the visitors’ room where Faid was talking to his brother. A third man in the prison courtyard guarded the helicopter and its pilot – a flying instructor whom the men had taken hostage.
The helicopter flew to the nearby Gonesse area, where it was found by local police. Faid, 46, has been serving a 25-year sentence for a failed robbery during which a police officer was killed. This is the armed robber’s second prison break: in 2013, he escaped after seizing four guards as human shields and blowing several doors off with dynamite.
Nearly 3,000 French police have been drafted into the manhunt.
Timeline of a jailbreaker
- Faid’s cycle of imprisonment and escape began with his arrest in 1998 on multiple counts of armed robbery and bank theft.
- In 2009 he was freed on parole, swearing that he was a changed man – but by 2011, he had breached his terms of release and was back behind bars.
- In 2017, Faid was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for his 2013 jailbreak from Séquedin prison, outside Lille. He was also given 18 years for masterminding a 2010 robbery in which a young policewoman, Aurélie Fouquet, was killed.
- Faid mounted a failed appeal, and in April 2018 was given a heavier sentence of 25 years for the botched robbery. He was serving that term at the time of his latest escape.