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Escapees from Leyhill Prison get more time for crime spree

April 24, 2013 at 1:30 AM

CARDIFF, Wales, April 24 (UPI) -- Two men who admitted going on a violent crime spree in South Wales after escaping from a minimum-security prison were sentenced to more time Tuesday.

Liam Aherne, 24, who attacked the owner of a kebab shop in his home village of Markham and committed a 4 a.m. home invasion, received an additional 12 years, the South Wales Argus reported. Stephen Rees, 32, who was involved with Aherne in an attempted robbery and attempted carjacking, got four years and eight months.

"You are both dangerous and prepared to carry weapons, using them on anyone that stands in your way," Eleri Rees, the recorder of Cardiff, said. "You showed a ruthlessness and a disregard for the injuries you caused."

The recorder said he considered giving Aherne, who has a long record of violent crime, a life term.

Rees and Aherne were serving indeterminate sentences at Leyhill Prison in Gloucestershire when they walked away in January. The gardening program at Leyhill, an "open prison," inspired the movie "Greenfingers," starring Clive Owen.

Aherne was also involved with his brother, Nathan, 24, and Andrea Williams, 33, in the theft of about $8,000 from the Markham Miners Welfare Club. Nathan Aherne and Williams are to be sentenced in May.

Rees surrendered Feb. 21. Aherne was arrested almost a week later at a hotel in Cardiff.

Rees's lawyer, Andrew Jones, said his client has called his escape a "stupid, mad mistake." Aherne's attorney, Marion Lewis, said he "acted on impulse" after being turned down for parole.

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