Northern Ireland

Derek Brockwell: Police say fugitive 'stabbed himself' before arrest

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Media captionEyewitnesses say he was having a drink outside the pub when he was approached by several police officers, as Mark Simpson reports

A prisoner who escaped from custody in the Republic of Ireland and was arrested in Belfast a day later is receiving hospital treatment after he stabbed himself in the stomach.

Derek Brockwell, aged 53 and from Glasgow, escaped from police custody at Tallaght Hospital in Dublin on Tuesday.

He got away on a motorbike driven by an accomplice.

He was arrested at a bar on Bedford Street in Belfast city centre at about 19:30 GMT on Wednesday.

Supt Darrin Jones said: "On police approaching (Brockwell), he produced a knife and proceeded to stab himself in the abdomen.

"To ensure no further injuries were caused to the man or others, police discharged a Taser."

The Police Ombudsman has been informed.

Brockwell was arrested on suspicion of two counts of robbery and two counts of possessing an offensive weapon.

Image copyright Garda
Image caption Brockwell had absconded from a life sentence in the UK for a series of armed robberies

He was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. A spokeswoman for the Belfast Trust said Brockwell was undergoing surgery for his injuries on Thursday morning.

He remains under PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) custody at the hospital.

It is understood police are investigating the possibility that he was involved in a robbery at a business in Belfast city centre in the hours before his arrest.

Image caption Police cordoned off the area where Brockwell was arrested at the Bridge House bar

Eyewitnesses say he had been sitting outside the Bridge House pub having a drink when he was approached by several police officers.

One of them said: "All of a sudden they pounced on him, and the next thing I hear the word Taser. Several of them stood back and I saw a blue flash."

Alerted

Brockwell arrived in Dublin in February 2012 after absconding from a prison in Lancashire while he was on day release.

He was serving a life sentence for a series of armed robberies in London.

He was convicted of armed robbery in Dublin in 2013 and was serving a seven-year sentence in Portlaoise Prison. He escaped from Tallaght Hospital on Tuesday after attacking two officers who had brought him there for treatment.

An Garda Síochána was liaising with the PSNI and British police in the search for Brockwell.

All airports and harbour authorities had been alerted.

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