A British murderer who was serving a minimum of 30 years in prison is on the run after two armed men helped him escape during an escorted hospital visit.

Shaun Colin Walmsley, 28, fled from outside Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool as he was getting into a car with prison officers.

Merseyside Police said two men believed to be armed with a gun and a knife, threatened the officers and demanded they release Walmsley, before making off in a gold Volvo.

Walmsley was remanded in custody at HMP Liverpool after being sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2015, with a 30-year minimum term, for the murder of Anthony Duffy.

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Duffy, 33, a cannabis and cocaine dealer, had allegedly been planning to steal a large cannabis crop belonging to Walmsley and another drug dealer.

During sentencing in 2015, Judge Clement Goldstone said: "They decided that Anthony Duffy had to be eliminated, not only because he was a rival drug dealer, but even more because he dared to cross them and the message had to be sent out as to who was boss.

"Anthony Duffy has paid the ultimate price. His family's loss is unquantifiable."

Neither of the prison guards were hurt during the incident that took place after Walmsley's appointment.

A manhunt is now under way.

The public are being warned not to approach the killer, described as dangerous, as he could also be in the company of the armed men who ambushed the car.

- Originally published by Telegraph UK