David Martin, the transvestite burglar who becameBritain's most wanted...

LONDON -- David Martin, the transvestite burglar who becameBritain's most wanted man in 1982, was found hanged in his prison cell five months into a 25-year sentence, the Home Office said.

Prison warders found Martin hanging Tuesday from an electric cable lashed to the bars of his cell in Parkhurst prison, prison sources said.


Martin, 37, became the most wanted man in Britain in December 1982 when he escaped from a London court while awaiting a hearing on charges of shooting a policeman and bank robbery.

His reputation as a gun crazy burglar and his mastery of disguise - he was a transvestite who reportedly went on raids dressed as a woman - sparked off a huge police operation.

It went awry when police marksmen ambushed a car in a crowded London street and shot and wounded an innocent man, mistaking him for Martin. The victim, film editor Stephen Waldorf was awarded $180,000 compensation against the police last week.

Martin was finally captured 34 days after his escape in a dramatic chase through London's subway system.

Police had staked out the restaurant where Martin was meeting a girlfriend. He gave them the slip by dashing into a subway station, vaulting down the stairs and running into a tunnel along the electrified line. Police marksmen cut off his escape route.


Martin was convicted at the Old Bailey court last October and jailed for a minimum of 25 years for assault, firearms theft and burglary offenses.

Even in jail, he caught the headlines. Newspapers reported he had a homosexual affair with Britain's worst mass murderer Denis Neilsen -- the civil servant jailed last year of butchering more than a dozen young men to death.

Martin vowed in letters from prison that he would either escape or kill himself. 'I just want to see you once more and then I will end it,' he said in one letter to his girlfriend.

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