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Thursday 29 September 2016

Man who killed older brother has gone on the run from open prison

Ken Foy

Published 13/05/2015 | 11:04

Martin Connors
Michael Connors - killed by his brother Martin Connors

A 24-year-old man who was jailed for two years last year for killing his older brother has absconded from Shelton Abbey Open Prison in Co Wicklow.

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There has been no sighting of Martin Connors, from Wexford, since 4am on April 29, just hours after he absconded from the low-security facility.

Gardai almost arrested him, but he fled into fields in the Barntown area of Co Wexford before making contact with his wife, Patrice, and telling her he might not hand himself in to the authorities.

On April 30, he made a brief phone call to his sister, Brigid, in which he said he was fine.

It is understood Connors is the fourth person to walk out of an Irish prison this year. All remain at large.

Among them is Tallaght crime figure John Paul Duncan (30), who walked out of another open facility, Loughan House in Co Cavan, in early February, two days after he was moved from Castlerea Prison.

Sources said gardai believe Connors is alive and well and is being put up by his close associates, possibly in south-west Dublin where he has strong connections.

He was jailed for three years with the final 12 months suspended at Wexford Circuit Court last October.

Judge Barry Hickson said he had intervened in a row at Belvedere Grove in Wexford town and, as a result of an exchange of blows, his brother Michael (21) died a week later in Beaumont Hospital on July 8, 2011.

Connors was convicted of manslaughter.

  Michael Connors.png
Michael Connors

Addressing him directly, Judge Hickson said he knew the defendant and his family were still suffering over what had happened and would "grieve to the end of your days".

He said, however, that he felt a custodial sentence was necessary despite the family's trauma.

At the trial last year, Connors' mother Sally and sister Margaret were convicted of attempting to impede Connors' prosecution.

Margaret Connors was ordered to carry out 240 hours of community service while Sally Connors was given a six-month suspended jail sentence.

According to figures released to the Herald by the Irish Prison Service, 11 prisoners escaped from Irish institutions last year, of whom two are still at large.

All 18 absconders who fled prison in 2013 were returned to custody.

In March, feared Limerick criminal Kieran 'Rashers' Ryan (31) was moved to Shelton Abbey ahead of his scheduled release in August.

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