Police hunting prisoner who has escaped from Goulburn jail

Christopher Gibbs
Christopher Gibbs Contributed

UPDATE: A prison escapee serving time for a series of terrifying armed hold-ups on the NSW Mid North Coast remained on the run tonight.

Two years after Christopher Gibbs led police on a chase from Coffs Harbour to Nelson Bay, the serial bank robber sparked a state-wide manhunt when he managed to escape from Goulburn jail on Tuesday.

Gibbs, 30, has served just 14 months of a seven-year sentence for terrorising staff at six Mid North Coast banks in November 2011.

In the space of 24 hours, he threatened staff at the ANZ bank on Harbour Dr with a large hunting knife and went on to rob the BCU branches at Urunga and Nambucca Heads.

The spate of violent hold-ups caused bank tellers across the region to fear for their safety.

At the time, Coffs police Inspector Cameron Lindsay said staff had been traumatised by Gibbs' aggressive behaviour and it's understood some have since left work or undergone counselling.

The week after Gibbs unleashed terror on the Coffs Harbour region, he hit a credit union at Belmont, a bank at Port Macquarie and a building society at Nelson Bay.

His lucky run ended with a dramatic arrest at Nelson Bay when he was recognised by a patron at a local hotel.

Gibbs was chased through several backyards and across building roofs before a quick-thinking off duty police officer arrived on the scene and crash tackled him to the ground.

Despite Gibbs' criminal record, he was ordered to serve his time at the minimum security Goulburn Correction Centre.

He was seen by guards 8.35am yesterday but when it came time for the 9.30am muster, he had disappeared.

Polair search helicopters and the dog squad scoured the region but Gibbs remained at large.

He is believed to have links in Western Sydney.

Police have released an image of Gibbs, who is described as being about 195cm tall and thin with sandy blonde hair and acne scars on his face.

He was last seen wearing prison greens.

Anyone who sees Gibbs is warned not to approach him but to call 000 immediately.

Timeline of offending

  • Wednesday, Nov 9 - 2011 - ANZ Bank, Harbour Dr, Coffs Harbour: Wearing a dark-brimmed hat Gibbs enters the bank, produces a large hunting knife and demands cash from a teller at 1.50pm. He flees.
  • Thursday, Nov 10 - BCU, Bowra St, Urunga: Gibbs hits the Bananacoast Credit Union at Urunga around 11am. He flees on foot along the street with cash stuffed into a fabric pencil case.
  • BCU, Mann St, Nambucca Heads: As police investigate the Urunga hold-up, Gibbs strikes again, holding up the Bananacoast Credit Union in Nambucca Heads at 12.40pm. He gets away with cash and runs along the main street, is chased down an alley beside the town's liquor store before making a getaway.

 

EARLIER: A convicted armed robber who terrorised staff at three Mid North Coast banks has escaped from a Goulburn jail.

Christopher Gibbs, 30, is serving a seven years and eight months sentence for the dozen robberies he committed between Coffs Harbour and Belmont two years ago.

On November 9, 2011, Gibbs held up the ANZ Bank on Harbour Dr and the following morning demanded cash from the BCU branches at Nambucca Heads and Urunga.

During one of the robberies he was armed with a knife.

Soon after, he was arrested at Nelson Bay when a quick-thinking off-duty police officer spotted him and tackled him to the ground.

Gibbs was seen at the Goulburn Correctional Centre at 8.35am but when it came time for the 9.30am muster, he had disappeared.

Police have released an image of Gibbs, who is described as being about 195cm tall and thin with sandy blonde hair and acne scars on his face. He was last seen wearing prison greens.

Anyone who sees Gibbs is warned not to approach him but to call 000 immediately.



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