Escaped prisoner found hiding in Highgate Cemetery

17:34 30 January 2013

Escaped prisoner Ivan Leach was on the run when he was apprehended by police in Highgate Cemetery

Escaped prisoner Ivan Leach was on the run when he was apprehended by police in Highgate Cemetery


A prison absconder captured after seeking sanctuary in Highgate Cemetery is being questioned over a number of offences allegedly committed on Hampstead Heath while he was at large, the Ham&High understands.

During a seven-week manhunt, police scoured the Heath for Ivan Leach, who went missing from North Sea Camp open prison in Boston, Lincolnshire, in October.

Leach, 47, also known as Lee Cyrus, was traced to the cemetery, the burial place of Karl Marx and former Russian secret agent Alexander Litvinenko, where he was arrested.

Last month at Blackfriars Crown Court, Leach, from Preston, Lancashire, was sentenced to seven weeks in prison for being unlawfully at large.

Now a small team on Camden’s major crime unit are investigating whether Leach is linked to a series of crimes on the Heath in November.

Documents seen by the Ham&High reveal that the Heath Constabulary and Met Police launched a manhunt for Leach after a “spate of low level sexual offences were reported on the Heath”.

Heath users reported six sightings of a flasher on the open space in November, but the suspect was never caught.

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DC Carl Ryan, 35, failed to send off vital DNA evidence for analysis, Southwark Crown Court has heard. He allegedly then falsified entries on the police log system between 2010 and 2012. Det Con Kelly Ward, who worked with Ryan in the Camden and Islington branch of the Sapphire Unit, said the workload was “manageable.” When asked about her working relationship with Ryan, she said: “I didn’t enjoy working with him, I worked out quickly I would rather complete my own tasks than rely on Carl to assist me in any way. “I was aware he was struggling at some point during that period, myself and another officer would offer our assistance but it would always be declined.” DC Ward said Ryan would allegedly take on more work, just so he could blame his workload if he was found to have made mistakes or not meeting his deadlines. Ryan has blamed his boss DS Richard King, saying his incompetence was to blame. Asked about their relationship, DC Ward said: “They were close and friendly in the office to the point it made me feel uncomfortable, alienated and isolated within my own team.” Ryan’s lies resulted in the early closure of three serious cases, jurors were told, including that of a woman who had been sexually assaulted at knifepoint. In a fourth case, Ryan allegedly cooked up witness statements of four members of staff at the Whittington Hospital and then signed them in their names. Prosecutor Eloise Marshall has described Ryan as “a believable and manipulative liar”. Ryan, of Cemmaes Court Road, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, denies six counts of misconduct in a public office. The case continues.

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