A DRUG dealer who escaped from a prison van as he was being driven to court from HMP Hewell, between Redditch and Bromsgrove, has been found not guilty of murder.

John Anslow, aged 33, from Tipton, was charged with killing Richard Deakin when he was freed by a gang of masked men who attacked the van near the prison in January 2012.

More than a year later, he was arrested in Cyprus and brought back to the UK, but was cleared of the charge by a jury at Woolwich Crown Court.

David Harrison, aged 63, and Daryl Dickens, aged 34, from the Bilston area, were given life sentences for Mr Deakin's murder in December 2012.

Anslow did admit a charge of conspiracy to escape from lawful custody and was jailed for seven years in December.

Reporting restrictions in the case had meant that police were not able to reveal that Anslow was sentenced to 22 years in prison in September 2012 for his part in large-scale drugs supply.