A PRISONER who laboriously tunneled his way out of his cell every night and wandered the streets of Gibraltar was only discovered after someone from the Rock’s parole board spotted him.
The incredible story, straight from Shawshank Redemption, a film released the previous year, recently came to light in the memoir of Superintendent John Field, whose career with the Royal Gibraltar Police spanned 30 years.
It was a hot summer night in 1996, after officers arrived at the former Moorish Castle prison, when they discovered that a prisoner had painstakingly dug an escape hole through his cell wall.
Cleverly enough, the hole was concealed with a poster, allowing the man to escape each night, as he roamed Gibraltar free, cavorting with the locals and stealing what was not his before returning to his cell the next morning. with his loot.
A young and wide-eyed Field was sent to investigate the mysterious case of the Night Wanderer when he was early in his career.
The daring impersonator of Andy Dufresne, the Stephen King character who spent 20 years tunneling out of his own cell, was finally cast after a few jaunts abroad in the pure air of temporary freedom.
As Field recalls in his book Subbuteo, Bonsai and Catching the Bad Guys: “I remember getting a call from the acting prison superintendent, Daniel Agius.
“I went to the prison and he showed me this huge hole in the wall,” he explained in an interview to promote the book.
“The prisoner had been removing clay and cement and would go out at night, before returning and distributing alcohol and everything he stole.
“Someone on his parole board even thought they saw him out one night, which, of course, he denied.
“He covered the hole with a world map like in The Shawshank Redemption.
He went unnoticed for a long time until we finally realized what was happening and he was interviewed, charged and convicted.”
That was just one of the more interesting cases of Superintendents Field in a career that has spanned more than three decades, making him the second longest-serving officer in the RGP after Commissioner Richard Ullger.
John, a former plumber, joined the RGP on March 23, 1992 at the age of 21.
“I was the youngest officer on the force when I joined. And now I’m about to go, I’ll be one of the biggest! she joked.