Friday 2 December 2016

Violent inmate among five who fled Oberstown

Martin Grant and Robin Schiller

Published 15/08/2016 | 02:30

A garda manhunt was launched on Saturday evening after the five teenagers escaped from the Oberstown centre in Lusk, north county Dublin
A garda manhunt was launched on Saturday evening after the five teenagers escaped from the Oberstown centre in Lusk, north county Dublin

Senior managers at the Oberstown centre were last night investigating how five teenagers - including a seriously violent inmate - managed to escape from the campus.

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A garda manhunt was launched on Saturday evening after the five teenagers escaped from the Oberstown centre in Lusk, north county Dublin.

It is understood that the youths, aged between 14 and 18, managed to scale a fence at the facility and then fled into a nearby field after 6pm.

The Irish Independent has learned that one of the escapees is a particularly violent offender who had previously escaped from the detention last year.

Sources also say the teenager was involved in a brawl at the facility last year, which resulted in another inmate being stabbed and two staff being injured.

Read more: Oberstown detention centre must file report to Government after five children escape

Read more: Five teens armed with bats and golf clubs recaptured after escaping from child detention centre

It is understood that the juvenile used a broken cup to stab another inmate in the chest. Three staff members who attempted to break-up the fight also received injuries.

Gardaí were alerted on Saturday and launched a major operation to catch the on-the-run offender, involving Balbriggan gardaí, the garda air support and the dog unit.

Local neighbours near the centre were also informed that five teenagers had absconded.

Three were apprehended a short time later, whilst another was discovered around 9pm.

A fifth offender was later captured at 11pm.

A major investigation is ongoing as managers try to piece together exactly how the five managed to escape.

Oberstown's director Pat Bergin yesterday told the Irish Independent that staff were examining the centre following the escape.

He said: "We're currently walking the campus, looking at what happened.

"I'm doing a review and will be preparing a report."

Mr Bergin would not comment on reports that the five offenders were armed with bats and golf clubs.

He said: "I can't comment on that for the moment as I'm in the process of determining the facts. I will be in a better position to report to the minister (Katherine Zappone) in the next day or two."

This is one of a number incidents that have placed the security at the detention centre under the spotlight.

Four teenagers escaped last July using a ladder which had been left lying around by builders.

One of the teenagers was later involved in a serious attack on the Luas, while another posted several messages on social media whilst on the run.

All four of the teens were later returned to Oberstown.

Irish Independent

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