herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Dangerous inmate still on the run after stab attack escape

Stephen Delaney, president of the Prison Officers Association, arrives at Tallaght Hospital yesterday
Derek Brockwell

A major manhunt is under way for a dangerous inmate who stabbed two prison officers in Tallaght Hospital before escaping on a waiting motorbike.

Notorious armed robber Derek Brockwell (53) is on the run after a “highly-organised” pre-planned escape shortly after 3.30pm yesterday.

Brockwell had been taken to the hospital for an appointment from Ireland’s highest security prison in Portlaoise, where he is serving a seven-year sentence for four separate armed robberies in Dublin in 2012.

Read More: Two prison officers stabbed by escapee prisoner at Tallaght Hospital

Dozens of armed gardai were last night involved in the hunt for Brockwell, who was previously described as one of Britain’s most wanted men.

“This was a highly-organised enterprise and a big level of planning must have happened within the walls of Portlaoise,” said a source.

Two prison officers were with the criminal in a toilet in the diabetic treatment unit of the hospital when the violent offender stabbed them after he came out of a cubicle.

Gardai believe that the knife had been left in the cubicle by a criminal associate of Brockwell.

The prisoner then ran through the hospital and was picked up by his accomplice on a motorbike.

Prison officer Dan Buckley required life-saving surgery for stab wounds to his stomach. He remains in intensive care but is in a stable condition. Officer Graham Flynn suffered less serious injuries after he was stabbed in the hand and back and is also in a stable condition.

Both officers are aged in their 30s and are family men, according to sources.

Brockwell, who is Scottish, is facing the prospect of serving the rest of his life in prison in the UK when his sentence expires here.

busted

Before being busted by gardai in October 2012, he had been on the run from English police since February of that year and had even featured on the BBC’s Crimewatch television programme just days before being arrested by detectives in Blackrock, south Dublin.

Brockwell had been given 22 life sentences for a series of armed robberies in London in 1999 but fled from a day-release programme.

Apart from his four armed robbery convictions here, Brockwell has 64 previous convictions in the UK, including 11 for firearms and 11 for robbery.

He is 1.90m (6’3”) tall, has a broad build with brown hair and is described as a dangerous individual. It’s understood that previously Brockwell was not allowed to leave prison without an armed escort, but this was withdrawn in the last year.

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