A MURDERER who escaped from prison 20 years ago has avoided being locked up again after he made chilling threats to an off-duty police officer near Helensburgh.

Andrew Rodger, from Garelochhead, told the cop – who was cycling on the A814 near Faslane at the time of the incident – that he would "run him over" if there were no witnesses, despite being on licence from a life sentence for murder.

Now aged 68, Rodger was originally jailed for killing a swimming pool attendant with a crowbar in 1987.

In 1995 he broke out of Parkhurst prison with two other men, making their own ladder, handcrafting a gun and making a master key to every door in the jail.

They avoided police for six nights before being caught and put back behind bars.

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Rodger appeared at Dumbarton Sheriff Court for sentencing on Friday after admitting shouting, swearing and threatening the cyclist and assaulting him.

Fiscal depute Gemma McKechnie told the court an off-duty officer from the Ministry of Defence Police had been heading north on the A814 towards Faslane at around 9.50am on August 14, when he became aware of a works van overtaking another vehicle, causing it to move into the cyclist's lane.

The cyclist raised his arms in a "what was that?" gesture, heard the court.

At some point he passed the works van and then became aware of it behind him, only to overtake him and pull to the side, putting on hazard lights.

Again the cyclist passed him and the van followed him, prompting the officer to stop and get off his bike.

The driver, Rodger, got out of his vehicle and shouted: "Who the f*** do you think you are? I'm allowed to overtake you. This is a road.

"I heard a cyclist got knocked down by a car and I can see why.

"If there was nobody around, I would f****** run you over and I would laugh.

"The only reason I don't is because I don't want the f****** jail.

"You are a c***."

The officer then told Rodger he was recording everything on a cycle-mounted camera and Rodger returned to his van.

But Rodger then came back to the man holding a black torch, lunged at him and attempted to strike him, causing him to move backwards.

Another witness saw the assault and reported the incident to the police, along with the off-duty officer; Rodger was arrested a few hours later.

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Rodger's defence solicitor said his client had been out on licence since 2006, and told the court there had been no incident since then, other than the road rage crime.

The lawyer said: "He has shown genuine contrition. He is horrified by his behaviour that day and accepts he never should have behaved in that manner.

"The situation has escalated and he has been genuinely contrite since the outset."

He added that after Rodger lunged at the man, he immediately "checked himself, turned on his heels, walked back to his van and left the scene".

His new community was described as a "positive influence on his behaviour".

The solicitor said: "He has learned a huge, huge, salutary lesson."

Sheriff Simon Pender noted the seriousness of the charges, particularly given Rodger was on life licence for murder.

He said: "Your conduct on the day was wholly unacceptable."

Sheriff Pender put Rodger on a community payback order with supervision by social workers for two years.

He must also do 250 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months, and he will be electronically tagged for a curfew of 7pm to 7am for five months.

His parole was described as "suspended" pending the outcome of the case.