Monday, 19 May 2014

Terry Cutts - "The Young Houdini"

Terry Cutts acquired his nickname of "Houdini" because he had the ability to get out of any secure place where he was held, be it prison, Army Detention or Approved Homes.  He viewed every institution as a challenge, as if he was escaping from Colditz.  His escapes in total, up to 1957/58 were fourteen.  He got out of secured Approved homes eight times, Army Detention twice and prison four times.  His fourteenth escape was from Armley Prison in Leeds, which was six months after an escape from the same prison, where he remained at large for two months.  The Police set up an extensive manhunt with forces throughout the country being alerted.  Cutts, 30, was serving 7 years 9 months - double sentence - originally 3 years 9 months for stealing a car, then four years were added when he was recaptured.  He was only wearing only a shirt & underpants when he escaped by cutting through cell window bars and climbing over a high wall.

    His freedom did not last very long as two Police officers went into a cafe in Briggate, Shipley, making routine enquiries.  Their gaze fell upon a shabbily dressed man with his hat pulled down over his eyes, eating a fry up( bacon & eggs, fried bread, cup of tea) when the two officers challenged the man.  They were Detective Constable Reg Firth & PC White.  Suddenly a violent struggle broke out, bringing the cafe proprietor, who hit Cutts over the head with it, stunning him.  The officers informed the staff to call Police, and bundled Cutts outside and into their car.  DC Firth had blood over his face and shirt, resulting in needing six stitches in a local hospital.  Very quickly, more officers arrived on the scene, and Cutts was taken to Shipley Police Station, then back to Armley Prison.  Houdini was back inside.