"Officers are hunting for prisoner Mohammed Waqas"
A manhunt has been launched after a thug behind a machete attack on a pedestrian has fled after “getting lost in a crowd” while on compassionate release from prison to visit a mosque.
Mohammed Waqas was jailed for seven years and 10 months in 2019 for being part of a gang who attacked a man with a machete and baseball bats outside a petrol station in Tipton, the West Midlands.
On January 29, 2021, he was allowed out on compassionate release to attend his mother’s funeral at the Zia-Ul-Quran mosque in Saltley, Birmingham.
A Ministry of Justice source told the Daily Mail that Waqas was accompanied by a prison officer.
However, he became “lost in a crowd” and “ended up not returning” to prison at the end of the day.
Waqas is not believed to be dangerous, but police have urged the public not to approach.
A manhunt has been launched.
A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: “Officers are hunting for prisoner Mohammed Waqas who has absconded while on day release in Birmingham.
“The 29-year-old – who is serving a prison term for assault at HMP Sudbury – has fled after being granted release on compassionate grounds yesterday.
“Although he’s not considered to be a threat to anyone at this stage we would ask people not to approach him.
“We’re following a number of lines of enquiry but anyone with information can contact us via 999.”
In 2019, Waqas pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent, breaching an anti-social behaviour order and driving without a licence or insurance.
In May 2018, the victim had been walking along Park Lane East when a gang in an Audi A3 attempted to drive at him.
He got into a passing Vauxhall Corsa but the vehicle was pursued onto a petrol station forecourt in Dudley Port where it was attacked with baseball bats.
The victim was beaten over the head and had his legs slashed with the machete. Two others inside the car escaped.
A CCTV appealed was published and Waqas was arrested and eventually jailed for seven years and 10 months. He was later released on temporary licence and moved to HMP Sudbury, an open prison in Derbyshire.
A Prison Service spokesperson said: “Absconds are extremely rare and those who do so face tough consequences, including being returned to closed prison conditions where they may have to serve additional time.
“The number of absconds has almost halved over the last 10 years and have fallen by more than half at HMP Sudbury since 2016.”