Posts Tagged ‘prison break’

“Aylmer Man Is Arrested After Lengthy Search,” Ottawa Citizen. October 26, 1938. Page 01 & 04.

Rene Longpre, 24, Who Brutally Attacked Guard, Is Taken in Clarence Street Rooming House.

Dyeing of Hair Fails To Fool Police Officer

Accused Is Turned Over to Quebec Authorities After Capture by Detective Sabourin.

A three-month search for Rene Longpre, 24-year-old Aylmer resident, who escaped from the Aylmer jail after brutally attacking a guard, ended shortly before noon today when the long-wanted youth was taken into custody in a Clarence street rooming house by Detective Ernest Sabourin, of the Ottawa police.

Pauline Huneault, 19, of 50 Rouville street, Hull, who was arrested about an hour after Longpre, admitted to Chief Decosse of the Hull Police that she was an accomplice of Longpre when the home of Mr. and Mrs. Redmond D. Macdonald at Aylmer was robbed on October 16th and the inmates assaulted.

The girl told the police that she and Longpre went to Aylmer on the bus early in the evening and hid in the bushes near the Macdonald home until about 11.30 p.m. They they entered and, being surprised by Mrs. Macdonald, attacked her.

The sum of $55 and a gold watch was stolen from the Macdonald home. The watch was located in the Ottawa Lower Town rooming house in which Longpre and Miss Huneault were found.

Chief Decosse said other arrests may be made.

Hair Was Dyed
When arrested, Longpre was found to have dyed his hair and to have grown a moustache. He had also been wearing glasses. The disguise did not fool the Ottawa detective. Going under the name of Lucien Raymond, Longpre at first denied he was the wanted man, and put up quite an argument. He did not resist arrest otherwise. Detective Sabourin took him to the police station and booked him on a charge of vagrancy. Longpre was turned over this afternoon to Chief Eugene Decosse of the Quebec provincial police in Hull, and Chief Delbert Dumoulin, of the Aylmer police.

Assault on Jail Guard
The Aylmer youth who had been originally arrested by Chief Dumoulin for the Ontario provincial police for cattle rustling in Carleton county, escaped from the Aylmer jail on July 21, shortly after his arrest. He made his getaway after beating the guard. Fred Leon, 35, of Aylmer, over the head and face with a soft drink bottle. Leon had both jaws fractured. Longpre disappeared in the woods alongside the Ottawa river and eluded a posse which searched the whole district for weeks.

Searched Rooming House
It was learned today that Longpre came to Ottawa early in August and had stayed in various Lower Town rooming houses since that time. Information was received by police that the wanted youth was hanging around the city and several rooming houses were searched without success. 

At 11.30 o’clock this morning, Detective Sabourin walked into a Clarence street rooming house and found Longpre in bed.

Longpre will be arraigned tomorrow morning on the jailbreaking and assault charges. A week’s remand likely will be asked by police.

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“Convict at Pen Attempts Escape,” Kingston Daily Standard. October 12, 1912. Page 01.

Chartrand, Insane, Made a Futile Try.

Discovered by Guard Ryan Half Way Through Cell Door – Got Away Last Spring.

Chas. Chartrand, the prisoner who last spring escaped from the Penitentiary and was caught a week later near Brockville, this morning made an unsuccessful attempt to escape, being discovered by Guard Ryan, half way through the bars in his cell door Chartrand is a lifer and has been confined to the insane ward for about six years. He is serving a life sentence for shooting a policeman in Sault Ste. Marie.

The prisoner’s mode of breaking prison was most ingenious. He had secreted a piece of string and a piece of emery stone, and with these and a few pieces of metal, had sawn through several of the bars in his cell. The guard discovered him when he was half through the door. He was captured and placed in a stronger cell.

Chartrand had served about 12 years in the penitentiary, according to one of the prison officials, his whole mind seems centered an escaping, and the guards must be watching him all the time in order to prevent him from breaking away.

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“3 Insane Convicts Free; 5 Make Escape From City Jail; 2 Recaptured / Insane Prisoners Break Jail at Bordeaux.” Montreal Gazette, September 17, 1938. Second edition. Top image is page 15.  Next two are pages 1 & 9.

“Fugitives Overpower Guards – Are Believed Armed. / Police Cordon Drawn. / All Available Forces Join Search for Desperate Men in Woods.

Three dangerously insane convicts, all believed armed, were fugitives from a widespread police net last night after escaping from Montreal Jail at Bordeaux shortly after two o’clock yesterday afternoon.  Two others who were also confined to the jail asylum, escaped at the same time, but were captured shortly afterwards.

A jail guard’s car, which the convicts seized at the gun point outside the prison’s main gate, was found abandoned last night in the north end of the city.  Provincial, Montreal and Royal Canadian Mounted Police threw a strong cordon about the island as soon as the break became known, but it was believed possible that one or more of the men had slipped through before the guards were posted.

The men were believed to have two revolvers and a rifle among them, and all were described by prison officers as ‘desperate men who would stop at nothing to retain their freedom.’

Police search squads were armed with machine guns and tear gas equipment.

The five, all declared by Dr. Daniel Plouffe, superintendent of the prison hospital, to be insane, were:

JULES LEGACE, 32, 10 years for burglary and holdup;

JOHN O’MALLEY, 25, life for assault on penitentiary guard;

JOSEPH GAUCHEN, 23, five years for assault on penitentiary guard;

DIEUDONNE COALLIER, 25, 10 years for burglary;

LEO TREMBLAY, 25, sentence unascertained.

The first four were Montrealers, while Tremblay was brought here from Quebec CIty.

O’Malley and Coallier were captured within a few hours of the break.”

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Cinq Fous Criminels S’Évadent


Bordeaux – Des Gardes Blessés.” La Patrie, Edition Quotidienne. September 17, 1938. Page 1 & Page 21.

“L’évasion la plus sensationnelle encore vue dans notre province s’est produite vendredi après-midi,

à 2 heures 30,

à la prison de Bordeaux alors que cinq détenus de la section des aliénés criminels ont pris la fuite.

Trois gardes de la prison ont été assommés par les évadés qui leur ont enlevé leur armes et quie so sont ensuite fait ouvrir la grande barrière de la prison en dirigeant une fusillade nourrie dans la direction  des gardiens qui avaient mission de les empêcher de passer.”


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“Cinq prisonniers s’évadent de Bordeaux – Ils désarment deux gardes, en assomment deux autres et fuient dans une voiture volée à un cinquième gardien.” Le Canada. September 17, 1938. Page 01.

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“The Stoney Mountain Gang,” Kingston Daily Standard. September 4, 1912. Page 02.

The Stoney Mountain gang who came up for trial this spring and received nineteen years additional to their sentences for breaking jail, have not yet been restored to the confidence of the authorities at the Portsmouth Penitentiary, and as a result are still doing solitary confinement. The officials do not intend to take any chances, for the members of the gang, facing their long recently acquired sentences, would be willing to take any chance, however small, to escape. They are keeping very orderly during their present sojourn in the dungeons.

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“The improvements recently carried out there [at the Cobourg jail] have made this a capital and commodious
prison, and also a secure one. Nevertheless, I found on examining the records, that an
escape had taken plate a few weeks previous to my visit.

The blame of the escape mentioned is not due to any defect in the Gaol, but to the
imprudence of the authorities in employing prisoners to work outside in unprotected
situations, whilst they could be employed within the yard with perfect safety. 

In justice to the Gaoler it may be added that deeming himself in some degree to
blame for the escape mentioned, he offered a liberal reward for the recapture of the
prisoner, with what success I have not learned.

 A melancholy spectacle was presented here in the case of an entire family, the mother
and her five children, ranging in age from four to twenty-three years, undergoing imprisonment
at the same time, and not, be it observed, for being participators in the same
offence, but all, or nearly all of them, for some offence committed by each on “his” or
“her own hook." 

There was also another sad specimen of precocious thieving. An unfortunate child
between seven and eight years of age committed for stealing money out of a church – and
probably not the wretched urchin’s first essay – the act of unpremeditated impulse, or suggestion
of an older head. He had been suspected of having practiced the ” black art “ on
other occasions, and quite likely on his own instincts. It is to be hoped that the merciful
sentence awarded him will be one of many years in the Reformatory. 

From the large number of prisoners usually confined here, it is of much importance
that some systematized modes of employment should be provided.”  

– Inspector Terence O’Neil, “SEPARATE REPORT FOR THE YEAR 1864,” Annual Report of the Board of Inspectors of Asylums, Prisons &c for the year 1864. Sessional Papers of the Province of Canada, Sessional Papers No. 14, 29 Victoria, A. 1865.

 pp. 61-62

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“Laval penitentiary has long history of violence,” Montreal Gazette. August 28, 1980. Page 04.

The Laval Institute, where late last night nine prisoners were still holding 11 hostages, has often been the site of prison violence.

The history of the 107-year-old prison, formerly known as St. Vincent de Paul Penitentiary, is dotted with riots, hostage-takings, escapes, suicides and murders of both prisoners and guards.

In the last four years alone there have been five hostage-takings, including the current one. The most recent occurred last February when three prisoners, armed with ice picks, held three guards hostage for eight hours.

The hostage-takings have all been resolved without violence, but in other incidents several guards have been attacked by prisoners, and one guard has been killed.

In July, 1978, prison guard Guy Fournier was shot and killed as five inmates made an escape attempt. One prisoner was killed in the incident and the other four were recaptured within weeks. They are currently serving life sentences, with no opportunity for parole before 25 years.

Conditions at the Institution, which has housed approximately 200,000 inmates during the last century, has been called deplorable by prisoners, politicians and prisoners’ rights groups. 

The prison has been condemned by at least three royal commissions of inquiry and one government subcommittee.

A 1977 report by the federal sub-committee that examined Canada’s penitentiary system called the institution uninhabitable and said it should be ‘demolished and rebuilt.’ 

But the report did nothing to lessen the violence there.

In September, 1978, for example, 29-year-old inmate Roland Simard, a known associate of Edgar Roussel, one of the prisoners involved in the current hostage-taking, wounded two guards with a home-made knife.

Simard, who was serving two life terms for murder, got another year for the attacks.

But during his trial several other inmates testified that guards in the solitary confinement unit where Simard was being held harassed him by restricting his food and taunting him for about a month before the incident. 

Over the years, prisoners’ protests of conditions in the jail have ranged from hunger strikes to suicides to riots.

Earlier this summer, seven prisoners from the solitary confinement unit slit their wrists in the prison exercise yard to protest conditions in the unit.

Two were hospitalized and the others were treated in the prison infirmary. Authorities used tear gas as they cleared the exercise yard.

Four years ago almost 300 inmates went on an hour-long spreed, smashing sinks and toilets, setting bedding and mattresses afire and breaking windows. Approximately $500,000 worth of damage was done, but no one was injured.

And in 1962 Laval was the scene of the worst prison riot in Canadian history. Several inmates were killed in a riot that destroyed almost 400 cells and cost more than $3 million in damage.

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“Escapes From Jail Narrowly Averted,” Sudbury Star. August 14, 1918. Page 08.

An attempted escape by at least three prisoners from Sudbury jail was narrowly averted Sunday, when gaoler O’Neill, suspecting that something was wrong, shifted the inmates around and conducted an investigation. It was found taht three inmates had succeeded in sawing the bars of their cells, which had been carefully set back in position ready to lift out as soon as the opportune moment present itself for a get-away. The three prisoners implicated are Fred Whissel being held for the murder of Dominion Constable McLeod at Espanola, while resisting arrest under the Military Service Act, Lorne Beck, awaiting removal to Kingston Penitentiary as an incorrigble, having escaped twice from Burwash Industrial Farm, and Jos. Dalton, admitted only last Thursday afternoon, one of the trio rounded up by the Provincial Police near St. Charles and one of the five who escaped during the past month from Parry Sound gaol.

It was the feigned coughing of Dalton at every appearance of gaoler O’Neill during Sunday afternoon that aroused the official’s suspicions. This was afterwards learned to be the signal to the other prisoners to cease sawing the bars of their cells. Sunday evening the inmates in the north corridor were transferred to the south corridor and vice versa, and an inspection of the south side corridor located a small hack saw blade hidden in the door jam of one of the cells. The saw blade was brought into the jail by Whissel it is said at the time was committed, having been concealed in the lapel of his mackinaw coat.

That all three men are of the desperate type may be assumed from their admissions on Monday morning that even after they had been foiled in their attempted ecape by being transferred to new cells Sunday evening, the three had conspired to make a break for liberty by a concentrated attack on the turnkey when they were admitted to the corridor Monday morning, and were to use the loose bars from their previous cells as their weapons, secure the keys, and clear out.

The keys of the Parry Sound gaol were found on young Dalton on his arrest last Thursday, he with four others having made a clean get-away from the district jail to the south in a similar manner to that attempted here Sunday.                                 

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“Spent Night in Bush Tortured With Flies,” Sudbury Star. July 31, 1918. Page 04.

Of the many attempted escapes from Burwash Industrial Farm, an exploit last week by two prisoners is the most novel in the history of the institution to date. The men of the dormitory were taken down to the lake for their customary swim, when two of them swam clear across the lake and took to the bush. When found next day they had made about seven miles on the Canadian Northern tracks in a perfectly nude state, and had suffered untold agony on account of the flies. The deer flies are now bad in that section and the men were severely bitten. They spent the entire night in one of the creeks immersed to the chin to avoid the torture of the flies.

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“A Sad Case,” Sudbury Star. July 31, 1918. Page 05.

An extremely sad case was that of Lorne Beck, not yet twenty years of age, and who has spent the best part of his life in jail. He was charged with escaping from Burwash on July 9th. He has a long record and frankly told the court that he spent his boyhood days in an Industrial School. He had been sentenced to Burwash for theft committed while he was in the army.

‘The army is not against you, you are against the world,’ said the Magistrate, as he sentenced Beck to two years in Kingston. Chances of parole to join the army are much better there than at the Burwash instuitution, and recommendedation will be made that Beck be allowed to proceed overseas.

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“Provincial Police In Aylmer Manhunt,” Ottawa Citizen. July 28, 1938. Page 04.

Chase Has Been One-Man Affair Up to Now, With Town Chief Doing All Work.

For the first time since the search has been on for Rene Longpre, Aylmer jailbreaker and fugitive from justice on a cattle rustling charge, the Quebec provincial police in the Hull district have been authorized to take part in the manhunt, The Citizen was informed today. There is a possibility that Eugene Decosse, chief of the provincial detachment in Hull, will enlist the aid of the Royal Canadian mounted police. He planned today to confer with officers of the criminal investigation bureau of the Mounted.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been reported as having participated in the search, but it was learned today that the force has taken no active part.

Ald. F. L. Pilgrim, chairman of the Aylmer police commission, said today that the hunt has been a ‘one-man’ hunt, with Chief Delbert Dumoulin of the Aylmer police doing all the hunting. With the provincial force ready to step in and the aid of the Mounted likely to be enlisted it is felt in official circles that Longpre’s freedom will be short. If he is caught he will be lodged in the county jail in Hull.

Insofar as the manhunt is concerned, the presence in Hull today of Col. P. A. Piuze, director of the Quebec provincial police, had no significance. The director is in hull arranging for the centralization of the Hull district detachment of the force.

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Hiding North of Aylmer Fired On, Makes Escape,” Ottawa
. July 25, 1938. Page 02.

Thought To Be Rene Longpre, Who Broke Jail, Gets Away Although Surrounded.

A man, believed by police to be Rene Longpre, 24-year-old resident of Aylmer
who escaped from the Aylmer jail while awaiting trial on a charge of cattle
rustling, was discovered hiding in a clump of bushes about two miles north of
Aylmer on Saturday evening, by a posse of 30 men, headed by Inspector Prevost
of the Quebec provincial police, Chief Delbert Dumoulin of Aylmer and Ald. F.
L. Pilgrim. The man managed to avoid capture, however, despite the firing of
three shots, two over his head, and one at him.

posse which had been conducting an active search in the Aylmer distirct, ever
since Longpre slugged Guard Fred Leon, over the head with a soft drink bottle
and made his escape, were in receipt of reports early Saturday afternoon that a
man answering Longpre’s description had been seen crossing the highway about
two miles from Aylmer.

Posse Surrounds Bush.
At once the members of the posse proceeded to the district where the wanted man
had been last seen and surrounded the heavy bush there. A group of the men were
detailed to stand watch around the bush while another group entered into the
thicket and carefully covered every foot of ground. As the search was
proceeding about seven o’clock, Ald. A. O. Routliffe, who was stationed on the
outskirts of the bush, spotted a young man slinking along a ditch by the side
of the road. The adlerman at once signaled to Inspector Prevost who, running to
the scene, shouted to the man to halt.

The man, hearing the shout, turned
and at once started to run away. The officer fired two shots over the head of
the running man, and, when no heed was taken to order to halt, Prevost fired a
shot at the legs of the man. Just as the third shot rang out, the man, believed
to be Longpre, fell and the officer, thinking he had been struck, raced up to
capture him. Before he could do this, however, the man rose to his feet and ran
into the heavy brush.

Signs of Blood
Other members of the posse, hearing the shot, at once centered on the point
where the man was last seen but despite a very careful search of the area, no
signs of him were found. A careful check of the spot where stumbled was made,
but no signs of blood were found on the ground and it is thought that the man
stumbled on the rough ground and the bullet missed him.

Officials pointed out that the man,
if Longpre as they believed, had somehow or other secured a change of clothing.
When he escaped he was wearing a pair of grey flannel pants. When seen on
Saturday night he was wearing a brown suit, complete.

When darkness fell on Saturday the
search was given up, only a few members of the posse remaining on duty guarding
the area.

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“Man Wanted for Cattle Rustling Beats Aylmer Jailer and Gets Away,” Ottawa Citizen. July 21, 1938. Page 01 & 2.

Rene Longre, 24, of Aylmer, Held for Ontario Police, Knocks Fred Leon, 35, Guard, Unconscious and Escapes.

Unmerciful Beating With Glass Bottle

Fire Siren Summons Posse Which Begins Search of Woods Under Chief Dumoulin.

Knocking the guard at the Aylmer jail unconscious by slugging him on the head with a soft drink bottle and then beating him unmercifully with his fists, Rene Longpre, 24, of Aylmer, wanted by Ontario provincial police for cattle rustling, made a successful escape from his cell at 3.30 o’clock this morning.

Despite an intensive search, which was launched immediately, no trace of the fugitive has yet been found.

The guard, Fred Leon, 35, if Aylmer, who is a volunteer fireman and special constable, received severe facial injuries. It is thought that after Longpre delivered the blow with the bottle he used his fists to beat the guard into unconsciousness.

Leon revived shortly after the attack and notified Chief Delbert Dumoulin, who was patrolling the main street near the town hall, in which the overnight cells are located.

Chief Summons Posse
The chief rang the fire siren bringing to the town hall about 25 men who, under the direction of the chief, began a search of the woods between Aulmer and Deschenes.

Ontario provincial police were notified of the break and asked to be on the look-out on the Ontario side of the Ottawa river.

Longpre is wanted for cattle-rustling in Carleton county and other places in the vicinity of Ottawa. He was picked up at nine o’clock last evening in Aylmer by Chief Dumoulin, who also arrested Romeo Gravelle, 35, of Aylmer, at the same time. Police believe Gravelle is also implicated in the cattle stealing. Gravelle did not escape as he was in another cell.

Some time before midnight, Longpre asked the guard to get him a hot dog and a soft drink. The guard complied with the request, but failed to remove the bottle after Longpre had finished drinking the contents. At 3.30 a.m., the prisoner asked permission to go the lavatory, and when guard opened the cell door, Longpre, who is a powerful man, struck Leon on the head with the bottle and beat him brutally.

He then made his escape through the rear door and across a field to the wooded section along the Ottawa river. He was in his bare feet as his shoes were found in the cell afterwrds, together with his hat and coat.

After the alarm summoned a group of 25 citizens Chief Dumoulin funished the men with a description of the fugitive and placed some of them at roads leading from the town. Others combed the bush and watched along the river front in case Longpre attempted to row or swim across the river to Ontario.

The bush, which is quite thick from Aylmer to Deschenes, was thoroughly searched but no trace of Longpre was found. He did not return to his home to get his automobile as two two men watched his house.

Chief Dumoulin belueves that the escaped prisoner is hiding in the bush as all roads leading from Aylmer have been closely watched. The Hull polcie were also notified. Unless Longpre crossed over to the Ontario side in the darkness, the Aylmer chief is confident that the man will be recaptured shortly.

Alderman F. L. Pilgrim, commissioner of police, was early on the scene and with two others patrolled roads in the Eardley section.

Severe Facial Injuries
The guard was given attention by Dr. J. P. Hudson and taken home. He has a cut over the right eye, a cut on the cheek and lips. None of the wounds is long or deep and they did not require stitches. Leon also has a lump on his head which it is thought he received when he fell to the floor. Dr. Hudson said an X-ray examination was going to be made to determine the exact extent of the injuries.

Chief Dumoulin was making his final rounds of the town for the town when the incident occurred. Leon was the only guard on duty.

Admitted Rustling
Chief Dumoulin told The Citizen that Longpre had admitted stealing catle from farms in the Ottawa district, including six sheep from the property of the Dominion Experimental Farm at Connaught Ranges; two steers from a farm at Woodlawn and two other steers from a farm at Munster. The animals were sold in Hull.

Longpre, according to Chief Dumoulin, had transported the sheep across the river in a boat, and had tied them in a field a short distance above Aylmer until he sold them. The Dominion Experimental Farm is near the shore of the Ottawa river and Longpre had only a short distance to bring the sheep.

He admitted the steers were brought to Hull in the rear seat of his sedan automobile. The legs of the steer were tied and the animal was put into the back seat of the car. Only one animal could be transported at a time, as they were quite large, some of them weighing around 400 pounds.

Longpre was dressed in a brown shirt and white trousers when he escaped. He is five feet ten inches in height, weights 150 pounds, fair complexion, blue eyes and clean shaven.

Leon, with his wife and family resides with his mother at the corner of Court and Center streets. He is the father of six children and has been a fireman and special constable for many years. He is employed at delivering wood and coal for an Aylmer man.                    

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“Guard Is Slugged By Prison Breaker,” Montreal Star. July 21, 1938. Page 02.

Aylmer Posse Searching For Fugitive

AYLMER, Que., July 21 – (C.P.) A posse of 20 men under Police Chief Delbert Dumoulin today continued a search for Rene Longpre, 24, after the prisoner at the jail here slugged his guard over the head with a bottle and escaped.

Chief Dumoulin said his men had been scouring the countryside 10 miles west of Hull, since the jailbreaker at 3.30 a.m. today. Meanwhile the assaulted guard, Alfred Leon, 35, was being treated at his home for serious scalp wounds.

Leon was knocked unconscious from which a ginger ale bottle which the prisoner asked for in the middle of the night.

Longpre was arrested here last night by Dumoulin who said the man was wanted by Ontario police in connection with several cattle thefts in the South March and Stittsville districts in Carleton County.

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