Most recent photo of escaped prisoner Graham John Enniss.
Most recent photo of escaped prisoner Graham John Enniss.

Violent prisoner with 'thug' tattood on neck escapes

THE prison escapee who slipped past prison officers prompting a police land and air search on Monday morning did so with a fellow inmate who was unsuccessful in his escape attempt.

Graham John Enniss, 38, of Smithton, who was sentenced to eight years' prison in 2016 for shooting a firearm towards police, broke out of Risdon Prison about 8.30am on Monday and was last seen in bushland near the prison.

He is described as 180cm tall of solid to muscular build and the word 'thug' tattooed across his neck. He is believed to be clean shaven.

Acting Southern District Commander Jason Elmer said Enniss's escape was done alongside another prisoner who prison officers were able to apprehend.

 

Acting Southern District Commander Tasmania Police Jason Elmer. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES
Acting Southern District Commander Tasmania Police Jason Elmer. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

GRAHAM JOHN ENNISS IN POLICE CUSTODY AFTER DRAMATIC MANHUNT IN 2015

He said both men attempted the escape by jumping over a fence from a prison building's roof.

"Two inmates from the Ron Barwick minimum security facility attempted to escape by accessing the roof of a building then subsequently cleared the boundary fence of Risdon Prison," Mr Elmer said.

"One of those prisoners was taken back into security by prison staff and the second person, Enniss, escaped and was last seen heading into bushland south of the prison between there and the Geilston Bay area."

Police search for escaped prisoner Graham John Enniss. Picture: JAMES KITTO
Police search for escaped prisoner Graham John Enniss. Picture: JAMES KITTO

Mr Elmer said police had deployed numerous resources, including the Westpac Rescue Helicopter, in the area in an attempt to locate Ennis.

A number of police vehicles were seen parked along the East Derwent Hwy while officers scoured bushland for the escapee. Numerous concerned Risdon Vale residents also watched on while police searched the area.

When asked how dangerous the escapee is, Mr Elmer said "we know Ennis is serving quite a substantial prison term for a number of instances on the North-West Coast a number of years ago. Clearly we would encourage people to not approach him and if they do come into contact with him, to contact police immediately".

Mr Elmer said police had "nothing to say about where Ennis might be heading" and police were concentrating resources in the area he was last seen.

He said no one was injured in both prisoners' escape attempt.

Enniss' father Gary Enniss told the ABC on Monday his son was doing well in prison.

"I don't know what's going on and I don't know why [he escaped] but he was doing OK. But hand yourself back in. It doesn't help being on the run," Gary Enniss said.

Risdon Prison was in lockdown on Monday afternoon, preventing fellow prisoners from attending scheduled court appearances.

Tasmania Police members checking cars on the East Derwent Highway near the Risdon Prison. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES
Tasmania Police members checking cars on the East Derwent Highway near the Risdon Prison. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

 

It is understood Risdon Vale Primary School and a number of nearby schools were also in lockdown over Monday morning and into the afternoon.

Enniss was the subject in a manhunt in 2015 involving multiple police officers after he shot at police in Tasmania's North West while on the run from police.

Enniss was wearing black trackpants, a dark green jumper, and a green beanie and was described as 180cm, of solid build, and about 100kg.

Anyone who sees him or has information can call 131 444 or report anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or crimestopperstas.com.au.