Drugged-up killer’s “foolish” hospital toilet escape bid

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By Michael MacLeod

A CONVICTED killer who was hospitalised after a drugs overdose tried to escape from police through a toilet ceiling.

With culpable homicide and attempted murder charges to his name, Paul Newman, 45, was branded a “very great danger to the public” by a judge.

But he was released on licence after serving seven years of a ten year sentence and tried to run away from cops while in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in October.

His supervising hospital police only caught him when he sent an extractor fan crashing to the floor as he tried to sneek out of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, causing £1,000 of damage.

The dad of two was sentenced to 14 months at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday for attempting to defeat the ends of justice.

Newman was jailed for four years as a 20-year-old for the killing of an 88-year-old woman who died of a heart attack after he snatched her handbag in the street.

The callous heroin addict’s four-page list of convictions also includes an assault on a 92-year-old woman for just £10.

And he was sentenced to a decade behind bars for a knifepoint raid at a nursing home to feed his drug craving.

Armed with a knife, masked Newman forced a nurse and two care staff to take him to a drug cupboard where he stole drugs and syringes.

After serving seven years of that sentence at Saughton prison, Newman was freed in the summer under a supervised release order.

But on October 14 police found him in his Craigmillar home suffering from a drug overdose, and accompanied him in an ambulance to the ERI.

He was kept in overnight under the watch of police officers, who told him his licence had been revoked and he was now in their custody.

Fiscal depute Aidan Higgins told the court: “He asked police if that meant he was going back to Saughton.

“While waiting for medication he asked to go to the toilet.

“Police felt it was safe that they could wait outside, as there was only one door, which didn’t lock, and no windows in the toilet room.

“However the officers heard crashing noises so went in and found he had removed four ceiling panels and had climbed into the ceiling cavity.”

His escape bid was thwarted by a cop grabbing his leg and pulling him to the floor.

As they handcuffed him, Newman wimpered: “I had to give it a dash.”

His solicitor Fiona McDonald said he admitted his effort to escape was “foolish.”

She said: “In the cold light of day he accepts it was a foolish thing to do.

“It was a brief attempt to escape what was inevitabley going to happen.”

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