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Security probe after WA prison escape

An armed robber who escaped custody outside a Perth hospital with the aid of a violent accomplice knew he’d be there because he was told he had to fast for a medical appointment.

A male and female prison officer were escorting Johnathan Fraser Sedman outside Fremantle Hospital on Tuesday afternoon when a man drove up, stepped from the car and pointed a rifle at them before using it to club one on the side of the head.

Department of Corrective Services Commissioner Tony Hassell said he didn’t want to reveal too much about security operations and couldn’t rule out Sedman communicating his pending travel to associates.

“We had to tell him because he had to fast for a period of time before the appointment because of the nature of the treatment,” Mr Hassell told reporters.

Police and the department are investigating the brazen escape, which ended with Sedman back in custody after about three hours on the run.

Opposition spokesman Peter Katsambanis demanded an independent inquiry to learn how the accomplices found out the time and place to get the prisoner.

“That should not be information that is publicly available and the very fact these people knew this information is a real risk to our community,” he told reporters.

“A prisoner should be given an indication of the day, perhaps, and the type of procedure but where they are going to be transferred to and at what time they will be there should not happen.”

It has also emerged the prison officers used a public car park across the road from the hospital.

WA Prison Officers’ Union secretary John Welch said any review of protocols should look at ensuring facilities are appropriate including where staff park, their access and egress.

“Minimising risk must mean that you look at those questions,” he told AAP.

Corrective Services Minister Fran Logan said the matter needed to be thoroughly investigated.

While Fiona Stanley Hospital has a secure unit for holding prisoners, Sedman went to Fremantle Hospital for specific treatment.

“I believe that the staff did a great job. They were brave in the face of a traumatic assault,” Mr Welch said.

Sedman and two of three alleged accomplices, Steven Ray Clarke, 29, and Jessica Louise Withers, 26, faced Perth Magistrates Court on Wednesday and secured adjournments while they seek legal advice.

Police say a 35-year-old woman also helped with the escape.

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