French 'getaway king' handed 14 more years in jail after helicopter prison break

French 'getaway king' handed 14 more years in jail after helicopter prison break

Rédoine Faïd was sentenced for his second jaw dropping prison break this week


A French career-criminal who made a spectacular escape from prison in a hijacked helicopter has been sentenced to another 14 years in jail by a Paris court.

Rédoine Faïd, a self-described “freedom addict” who had multiple convictions for armed robbery, escaped prison in Reau, 50 kilometres southeast of Paris, in July 2018.

In a scene straight out of an action movie, three armed henchmen posing as flying students commandeered their teacher’s helicopter and ordered the pilot to land in the prison courtyard.

They let off smoke bombs to confuse the guards while one of the accomplices, Faïd’s elder brother Rachid, used a disc-grinder to cut through the doors leading to the visiting room.

Faïd, who was taking a visit from another brother, Brahim, then made off in the helicopter with his associates, to a chorus of cheers from the other inmates. The operation took just a matter of minutes.

He evaded authorities for three months, before police eventually tracked him down in Creil, a town north of Paris, where he was disguised as a woman in a Muslim burqa.


Incredibly, it was Faïd’s second escape from prison. In 2013 he used explosives to break out of Sequedin prison in the north, before being recaptured the next month.

The Algerian-born Frenchman carried out his first bank robbery in 1990, becoming an expert in attacking armoured vans. His first conviction was in 1998.

During a brief period of “going straight” in the 2010s, he even wrote a book about his career and appeared on national TV. He claims he was inspired to go into a life of crime by movie bad guys such as Tony Montana in Scarface.

When the sentence was passed down by a judge this week, the courtroom was packed with more than 100 members of the public.

Prosecutors described him as a “social predator” and “gifted manipulator”, and warned the jury not to be won over by his charms.

Faïd was seen laughing and joking with his 11 co-defendants, one of whom was his 65-year-old brother Rachid, who he greeted with a kiss on the cheek.

The 51-year-old, who clearly enjoys the limelight, told onlookers that he had put on running shoes for the trial. “Because you never know. The light goes out, and then when it goes on again, puff – I’m gone!”

He admitted that the reason for breaking out was because he was bored.

He said: “I’m in a concrete sarcophagus 23 hours out of 24… What am I going to do? Kick my heels indefinitely?”

Describing the moment he walked out into the prison courtyard, he said he “took the sun full in the face, like a first taste of freedom”.

“It was indescribable. A confinement that suddenly opens to the four winds, to space, to the infinite”.

“I have an addiction which consumes me and which I cannot cure. I am addicted to freedom.”

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