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Fugitive Whose Escape From London Prison Had Shades of Alcatraz Is Recaptured

LONDON — One of two men who escaped from a London prison in an audacious breakout has been captured and arrested after three days on the run, police said Thursday.

Scotland Yard said that Matthew Baker, 28, who had been awaiting sentencing after being convicted of attempted murder in the stabbing of a man in East London, was arrested Wednesday in Ilford, also in the east of the city. Authorities said Baker had been held in a police station overnight.

In a statement announcing Baker’s capture, Scotland Yard said that a 21-year-old woman and a 33-year-old man, neither of whom was identified, had also been arrested, but police did not elaborate on their role.

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Baker and the other inmate, James Whitlock, 31, broke out Sunday after apparently using diamond-tipped cutting equipment to sever the bars of their fifth-floor cells at Pentonville prison.

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Then they climbed onto the roof and jumped onto a 25-foot perimeter wall before shimmying down a makeshift rope to freedom.

In a ruse that recalled some details of a legendary escape from Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary in San Francisco in 1962, Baker and Whitlock were reported to have left pillows under their bedsheets to approximate the form of bodies to fool security guards. The escape was discovered Monday morning, about 12 hours after the two men broke free.

Police said that Whitlock remained at large. They appealed to the public for any information that could help lead to his arrest.

The daring escape from Pentonville, a Victorian-era building that opened in 1842, has generated strong criticism about the poor state of Britain’s aging prisons.

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Prison managers said budget cuts were undermining their ability to do their jobs, including the primary mission of keeping facilities secure.

Investigators are examining whether the cutting equipment used by the two men had been dropped near the prison by drones and then smuggled in through windows.

New York Times