The West

Guards sacked over escape
Escaped: Darren John Goldsworthy. Picture: Facebook

Two Serco guards who let a convicted armed robber slip through their fingers during a routine hospital visit have been sacked for failing to follow basic security procedures.

Darren John Goldsworthy, 22, ran from the guards while at a radiology appointment at Royal Perth Hospital's Shenton Park annexe on May 21, only to be recaptured by police nearby about an hour later.

A Department of Corrective Services investigation is understood to have found that the guards had failed to handcuff Goldsworthy correctly during the appointment.

His wrists were cuffed together but guidelines require prisoners to also be handcuffed to an "immovable object" at all times to prevent them from running.

Since that incident, security has been further tightened, with prisoners now also required to have their feet shackled together when outside a prison.

The department is still reviewing findings from the investigation to decide what penalty Serco will face.

Under the terms of its $50 million contract with the State Government, the company can be "fined" up to $30,000 for an escape from what is termed an "unsecure environment".

A Serco spokesman confirmed last night the two guards had been dismissed but refused to comment on reasons behind that decision.

It agreed to pay the Government $242,000 after two inmates - one a dangerous rapist - escaped from a prison van in Geraldton in January.

A third inmate escaped two weeks later from Joondalup hospital after asking guards if he could use the toilet.

The WA Prison Officers Union renewed its call yesterday for the Government to consider cancelling Serco's contract and return prisoner transport services in-house. "How many incidents need to take place before the Government decides to act on the failure that is the privatisation of the prisoner transport system," union secretary John Welch said.

"Clearly, it is the sensible thing to review a contract that is doing as badly as this one."

Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis has said publicly he has no intention of cancelling the arrangement.

The West Australian

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