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Released from prison by mistake

Hunt for accused sex offender on

A prisoner charged with sexual assault and indecent exposure has been mistakenly released from jail.

William Fernandez was set free from Wormwood Scrubs in West London on Wednesday and has not been seen since.

The 24-year-old fled to the nearest rail station and disappeared by the time staff realised their error.

Police are now hunting for Fernandez, who was being held on remand awaiting trial accused of sexual assault by touching, indecent exposure and possession of a class B drug.

He was arrested and charged over the allegations in April 2020, the Met said. Staff at the prison informed the force on Wednesday night that Fernandez had been released from custody that evening in error.

It is believed Fernandez travelled by London Underground from East Acton station and was later spotted on CCTV walking along Wealdstone High Street, heading north.

There have been no confirmed sightings of him since.

It is not clear how the mistake occurred but it is thought he was mixed up with another inmate, according to The Sun.

Officers are continuing to conduct extensive enquiries to locate Fernandez, including CCTV analysis and house to house appeals for witnesses.

Fernandez had no fixed address prior to his detention, but officers believe he is most likely to be in the west London area.

Detective Inspector Rory Wilkinson, who is leading the search, said: ‘Officers are exploring every possible line of enquiry to track Fernandez down and return him to prison.

‘We would ask the public to assist us by being our eyes and ears and calling us if they see him or have any information about his whereabouts.’

Fernandez is white, of medium build, with thinning hair and a dark beard.

He has a distinctive cross tattoo on the left hand side of his neck.

When last seen, he was wearing a black tracksuit and black hat. He is also known to use the name Agustin Fernando Jimenez Eiberte.

People have been asked not to approach the prisoner if they see him and instead contact the police.

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