Irishman back in Dutch jail 23 years after absconding
AN Irishman was back behind bars in a Dutch jail last night after going on day release . . . 23 years ago.
Dubliner John William Keogh, who had been on a Dutch police 'fugitive' list since 1988, lived within an hour's drive of the jail from where he had absconded more than two decades ago.
His luck finally ran out when he was stopped in a line of motorists pulled over at a routine police traffic check last week in the southern Dutch province of Limburg.
The 49-year-old disappeared after obtaining day release from Maastricht prison where he was serving a six-year jail term for robbery with violent assault, causing the death of his landlord in December 1984.
He was classified as a fugitive in Dutch police records throughout the country and an alert went out for his capture.
When Limburg traffic police checked the computer records, they discovered that the Irish motorist, who was known as John Reilly, with a local address, was in fact John Keogh, jailed at the age of 23 for attacking and robbing a 67-year-old man who died from his injuries.
For decades the Irishman had managed to avoid attention, becoming a prominent member of the local soccer club in the village of Neer where he had been living for most of the time since he went on the run.
Described as "a good footballer in his day" by a local man who knows him, in recent years he went into business for himself as a handyman and registered a home repairs business with the Limburg Chamber of Commerce as "Keogh Klussenbedrijf" -- and giving his true identity and date and place of birth. Online reports from satisfied customers rated his work highly.
Villagers told local media this weekend of their astonishment on learning the true identity of their Irish neighbour, who had always been known as John Reilly.
Keogh was in a long-term relationship with a local widow. She died in December 2010 and he continued to live in the house they shared on a quiet lane outside the village.
"The Irishman spoke Dutch, most of us knew him through his earlier involvement in the football club.
"He must have felt safe as the years went by because he even used his real name Keogh for his handyman business logo when he set up for himself in 2009," said a local man.
Limburg police confirmed last night the fugitive Dubliner was back in jail to serve the remainder of his sentence.