THE scenes at Worcester Crown Court last week were quite staggering but sadly came as no shock to many.

The Worcester News was the first to report on the news of Bradley Tout’s dramatic escape from the court moments after he was convicted of a rape by a jury.

The paper’s court reporter, James Connell, witnessed everything and described the incredible scenes in his excellent court report. He told the story of how Tout was able to jump the dock, run out of court, through corridors, passing security officers, and head out through the metal detector at the front door into Foregate Street.

The story was later picked up by the national press and many people were left baffled how a rapist could have sprinted out of a court building, going on the run for five days. But I must admit criminals being able to escape is something that had crossed my mind before, and speaking to my colleagues they had shared similar thoughts.

And we were not the only ones. In one of our stories Richard Allen, director of Maximus Security, said: “Someone was going to do it some day. It’s always been a shambles.”

For me it comes down to two key issues, security in the courtrooms, and in the building.

At Worcester Crown Court, court one is the only courtroom with an enclosed dock. The rest - including court three that Tout managed to escape from - have open docks. This meant Tout was able to jump the three feet high dock wall. The fact it isn't enclosed has always seemed crazy to me. On this occasion it was a man jumping the dock to escape, but in that moment what if it had been a criminal with other intentions?

Court staff and the public, legal counsel, the press, juries and judges should never have to worry about their safety.

The other issue is after leaving the room, how did security allow him to leave the building? A Minister of Justice investigation is now underway, and lets hope they get to the answers.

Crown court buildings should be one of the safest places in the country. Let’s not forget every day the most dangerous criminals, including murderers appear. Remember too there are victims in all of this expecting to see justice and be safe.

Right now people are concerned it could happen again - and want to see action taken.