Derek Brockwell: Escaped prisoner 'may be trying to get to Britain'

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

It is understood that a prisoner who escaped from custody in the Republic of Ireland may be trying to get to Britain through Northern Ireland.

Derek Brockwell, from Glasgow, is serving a seven-year sentence in Portlaoise Prison for an armed robbery in Dublin.

He 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.

On Tuesday, Brockwell was brought to Tallaght Hospital for treatment, but once there he attacked two prison officers escorting him.

He escaped on a motorbike driven by an accomplice.

The crime correspondent with the Sunday Times, John Mooney, told BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster programme that officers were continuing to search for Brockwell.

"He is still on the run at the moment, the gardaí [Irish police] are involved in a fairly extensive search," he said.

"I understand the PSNI in relation to this matter are involved as well because there is suspicion that he may try to leave the island of Ireland, by transiting through Northern Ireland and possibly across to Britain using one of the ferries."

An Garda Síochána have confirmed that they are liaising with the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) and British police in the search for Brockwell.

All airports and harbour authorities have also been alerted, and the public is being urged not to approach him.

Irish state broadcaster RTÉ reported that the Irish Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has asked for a report into the circumstances surrounding his escape.

She said it was a "priority" that Brockwell be returned to prison as quickly as possible.

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