Wife’s prison break foiled after husband uses real name to book helicopter

A prison break was foiled after a husband hired a helicopter to break his wife out of prison – but used his real name.

Mike Gielen, 24, was caught after detectives realised he had used his own details in a plot described as “amateurish” by his own lawyer.

He hijacked the chopper in mid-air and threatened the pilot with a replica handgun in a bid to help Kristel Appelt, 27, escape.

The helicopter circled above the jail – where she was being held for allegedly murdering an ex-boyfriend – several times.

It caused Gielen to feel queasy and he had to hang his head out the window to be sick five times.

Inmates at Berkendaal women’s prison in south Brussels, Belgium, cheered and waved from below as it continued to whirl in the sky.

But the pilot could not land within the courtyard so was ordered to fly to the town Hélécine, south of the Belgian capital.

Gielen’s adoptive dad, 50, was reportedly waiting in a car park there ready to make a getaway, the Guardian reports.

But they were caught after police detectives discovered convicted drug smuggler Gielen had used his real name to book the helicopter at Deurne airport, near Antwerp.

His lawyer, Tom van Overbeke, said: “I can confirm that my client admitted that he wanted to free his wife from prison.

“It seems the whole thing has been staged quite amateurishly.”

The two men, along with two further suspects aged 18 and 22, were arrested within 24 hours of the bungled plot.

All four are due to appear in Antwerp before an investigating judge on charges of theft with violence with a weapon and participation in a criminal organisation.

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They also face charges of unlawful deprivation of liberty and attempted escape.

Appelt is currently in prison on suspicion of knifing her ex Andy Vandereyt, 30, to death in a fight in December 2018.

The couple met last year in the mixed-gender Hasselt jail, where they also wed.

Gielen said: “When both Kristel and I had visitors in January 2019, we bumped into each other in the visitors’ area.

“We still knew each other from before, but hadn’t seen each other for a long time.

“Because we could never see each other, we both started taking computer lessons in prison.

“That was the only way to be together.”

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