Bank raid suspect is on UK's most wanted list
Published 06/10/2012 | 05:00
A man being questioned by gardai about an armed robbery in south Dublin on Thursday has been on the run from English police since February.
Derek Brockwell (51) had been serving a life sentence for a series of armed robberies, mainly from betting shops in the London area.
But he was granted day release from Kirkham Prison in Preston, Lancashire, to take part in a work-placement programme in Blackpool.
But he never showed up for work and has been on the run for the past eight months.
The day after his escape he became the prime suspect for an attempted robbery at a NatWest bank in Lytham St Annes.
A Lancashire police officer told the Irish Independent they were aware that Brockwell had connections in Ireland as well as London and Glasgow.
Police issued an alert describing Brockwell as "a dangerous individual" and advised the public he should be approached with caution.
Last week he was dubbed one of Britain's most wanted men as his description was circulated through the BBC's 'Crimewatch' programme.
Shortly before 4pm on Thursday, a lone man entered the Bank of Ireland branch at Main Street, Blackrock, in south county Dublin and produced a handgun.
He threatened staff and customers and made his escape with an estimated €4,500 in a taxi.
But gardai later stopped a taxi at Merrion Road and arrested Brockwell. He was being held last night at Blackrock garda station.
Gardai are investigating if there is a link between the raid and a robbery at a post office in Merrion Row on September 25.
After that robbery, the raider also made his getaway in a taxi. The raider was described as heavily built, spoke with an English accent, and wore glasses and a dark jacket.
Brockwell's life sentence was imposed after he was found guilty of 22 armed robberies on betting shops in the Marylebone and Paddington areas of London during September and October 2009.
Police said he had deliberately targeted premises with female cashiers and threatened them with a pistol.
After his trial the judge imposed a life sentence because of previous convictions and he was deemed to be ineligible for parole for at least six years.