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Can a file really get you out of prison?

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A file that has been baked into a cake, the stereotypical ploy to escape prison The idea of someone escaping from prison by using a file that has been baked into a cake is a common joke.

Jokes quite often have basis in fact, so where did this one come from?

An artistic impression of a prison ship from 1804 The story originates from a plot aboard a prison ship, which was recorded in 1804.
A selection of gingerbread cakes, all concealing saws and files Several thieves aboard the ship, which was transporting prisoners from England to America, had managed to get hold of files and saws, which they intended to hide inside gingerbread cakes. They planned to use them to break their chains and escape.
Image of William Blewitt reporting to the governor of a prison ship that the other inmates had baked files and saws into gingerbread cakes Their plan was foiled by another convicted felon by the name of William Blewitt, who alerted the wardens to their plan!
An official pardon issued by the British government As a reward for doing the honourable thing and dropping his friends in it, Blewitt was pardoned! So while there are no recorded instances of a file in a cake ever getting someone out of prison directly, Blewitt could have claimed to have indirectly used one to achieve his freedom!
An image of William Blewitt, the first man to escape prison by indirectly using a file, getting arrested again almost immediately What did he do with this new found freedom? He immediately got caught for another crime and was incarcerated again!

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