Something of a minor celebrity in British criminal and legal circles, Hinds was known for successful escape attempts from no less than three prisons during one 12-year prison sentence for robbery. His first escape from Nottingham Prison involved breaking out of his cell, sneaking through locked doors and scaling 20-foot walls.
Recaptured six months later, Hinds sued the police for unlawful arrest, and while he was being held at court, had an accomplice smuggle in a padlock. While being escorted to the bathroom, he turned the tables on two guards escorting him by forcing them into the loo. He then padlocked them in there, and slipped out of the building to the airport.
Recaptured again, this time after only five hours, Hinds was then sent to Chelmsford prison, which he promptly escaped from. He then moved to Ireland where he lived under an alias, selling used cars.
After two years of that, Hinds was rearrested and transferred to Nottingham Prison where it all began. However, he was able to cut things short, legally, by winning a pardon. As an added bonus, he also successfully sued one of his arresting officers for libel damages.
A jailbreak by helicopter seems to definitely be the plot of a movie. Especially when it happens three times for the same man. But no, it actually happened in France for a man named Pascal Payet, who was initially sentenced to 30 years for murder during a robbery in 1997.
In 2001, an accomplice broke Payet out of prison in a hijacked helicopter. He was recaptured less than a week later and sent to another prison where less than two years later, he was sprung out again, also by hijacked helicopter.
He received an extension to his sentence for organized that other helicopter jailbreak, and was transferred between prisons every six months and kept in solitary confinement. However, it didn't really matter as on Bastille Day (which commemorates French revolutionaries storming the Bastille prison and breaking out prisoners) in 2007, he escaped his latest imprisonment, once again by helicopter.
Payet was recaptured two months later, and is currently in custody at an undisclosed location.
This September 1983 prison break in Northern Ireland was the largest in British history: 38 Irish Republican Army prisoners broke out of HMP Maze, which at the time was considered utterly escape-proof. For reference, each prison block had 15-foot fences around it, plus an 18-foot concrete wall around that with barbed wire on top and then steel gates electronically operated from a central location.
Using smuggled guns and sheer wits, the prisoners took guards in their cell block hostage, taking their uniforms and car keys. When a supply truck arrived, the prisoners commandeered it and the driver to help make their escape. 20 guards were injured, including two from gun shots, and one guard died from a heart attack.
19 prisoners were soon recaptured within a few days, but several were hidden successfully in Ireland and some even managed to make it to the U.S., though they were then extradited and returned to the U.K.
4. Keith Rose, Andrew Rodger, and Matthew Williams
This lesser-known 1995 British prison break is notable for its sheer audacity and simplicity: wait for the guards to walk away and then unlock the front door.
These three, Rose, Rodger and Williams, working secretly in the prison sheet metal shop, created a 25-foot ladder to scale the walls of Parkhurst Prison, as well as a fake gun and a working key for the door leading out from the exercise area.
Waiting for the guards to become distracted after the exercise period, the three unlocked the door and slipped out, cutting through the prison's inner fence and then using the ladder to scale the outer wall.
However, the trio was soon recaptured four days later.
Perhaps the best-known break on this list, it involved a trio breaking out of what was then considered the most secure prison in the country. In June 1962, Frank Morris and brothers Clarence and John Anglin launched the most elaborate, and some believe the most successful, prison break from Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary.
The three chiseled through weakened concrete in the back of their cells, on the other side of which was a maintenance tunnel with roof access. After securing roof access, the three made a rubber raft out of raincoats to sail across the bay to San Francisco. They then prepared papier-mache dummy heads of themselves to fool guards during headcount, and left in the middle of the night.
To this day, a range of contradictory and hard-to-confirm evidence has yet to confirm whether or not the trio successfully completed their escape, or instead drowned in the bay before making it to the mainland. In addition, their bodies have never been found.
Perhaps best known from the recent Leonardo DiCaprio movie, Abagnale was actually bagged briefly in 1971 when he was unable to outrun those who he conned. However, he put his improvisation skills to good use once he arrived at the Atlanta prison facility.
Due to a bureaucratic slipup, Abagnale was transferred without detention paperwork. Working with an outside accomplice, he worked for weeks to convince the prison staff that he was a high-profile undercover prison inspector, via fake business cards, and was afforded numerous privileges and other preferential treatment.
His accomplice, Jean Sebring, even served as the `FBI contact' on Abagnale's fake businesses cards, who the guards could call to verify his story. After establishing this cover and telling the guards he needed to report back to the FBI, Abagnale was allowed to be driven away by Sebring, and managed to escape.
Dillinger, a notorious Great Depression-era gangster, carried out probably one of the most classic prison breaks of all time. Imprisoned in Indiana's Lake County Jail in March 1934, Dillinger was guarded not only by cops but by National Guardsmen. Undeterred, he carved a fake gun out of wood and using that, managed to bluff his way into taking hostages of the prison guard staff and forcing them to release him. Then, to add insult to injury, he made his getaway in the county sheriff's own car.
Dillinger then continued his four-state crime spree for another few months until he was killed in a shootout with FBI agents in Chicago in July.
You might think this next scenario comes straight from a movie, but eight years into a 20-year prison sentence for armed robbery, Jay Junior Sigler received a very large shakeup to his daily routine.
As did nearly everyone else at the Everglades Correctional Institution, when Sigler's friend, Christopher Michaelson, along with two others, came along with a semi and rammed through four prison walls in order to spring Sigler. And even better, Sigler's mother, Sandra, also came along for the ride in her own car.
After some brief gunplay with the guards, Sigler and the jailbreakers piled into Sandra Sigler's car and escaped from the prison. However, all involved were soon recaptured, after splitting up into two different cars.
Sandra and her passengers were arrested at a gas station. Sigler and Michaelson, in an attempt to evade police, ended up colliding with a car and killing its driver. Both were brought up on charges of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
This exceptional story takes place in December 1979 against the backdrop of apartheid in South Africa. Two political prisoners, Tim Jenkin and Stephen Lee, who had distributed leaflets for the African National Congress, a banned political party, were locked up in a high security prison in Pretoria. Instead of waiting out their sentences, they decided to teach themselves to pick locks and escape, along with fellow prisoner Alex Moumbaris.
Through a combination of said lock picking skills and creating wooden keys out of a soap impressions, and attaching them to the end of broomsticks to reach the outside of the doors of their cells, the trio was able to make their way past 10 locked doors after 18 months of planning.
For the 11th and final door, none of their keys worked. However, they had a backup plan: chiseling off the lock. Despite the noise, they were not noticed by any guards, and were soon out of the prison and out of the country, and arrived safely in the U.K.
A more recent mass prison break from December 2000, these seven escaped from a maximum security prison near Kenedy, Texas through deceit and force. Initially, the group was able to overpower and capture nine maintenance supervisors, four corrections officers and three uninvolved prisoners.
Specifically occurring during lunch time, when the fewest patrols were on hand, the seven used a variation of the `Hey, what's that?' ploy to distract each person and then take them hostage, one at a time. They then stole clothing, wallets and keys.
Giving false reassurances that everything was fine by impersonating corrections officers on the phone, the seven commandeered a maintenance truck and left that way. Recaptured about a month later in January, five of the seven are on death row awaiting execution. The sixth committed suicide, and the seventh has already been executed.
This 1984 prison break is notable for being the single largest prison break of death row inmates in U.S. history. Here, the six inmates, after months of planning, overpowered the guards in their cell block one night and took their uniforms. Stealing riot gear, and then creating a fake bomb by covering a TV with a blanket and putting in on a stretcher, they radioed for a van to pick up the "bomb."
They then hijacked the van and made good their escape, with prison officials taking a half hour to figure out that it all was part of an escape plot. However, four of the six were recaptured within days, with the last two holding out for three weeks. All were executed in the end, as previously sentenced.