Monday 19 March 2018

'When you see freedom, who wouldn't go?' - Prisoner escaped garda station via open door on hot day

Stock picture
Stock picture

Andrew Phelan

A PRISONER in a garda station escaped during a consultation with his lawyer by running out a door that had been left open on a hot day, a court heard.

Owen Maughan (36) had been left in the room with his solicitor when he saw the open door, ran out and encountered an open back gate.

When caught two weeks later, he told officers: "When a door is open, when you see freedom, who wouldn't go?"

Judge Anthony Halpin gave Maughan a two-month sentence suspended for 18 months.

The defendant, of Dalton Park, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, pleaded guilty to escaping from lawful custody on June 30, 2015.

Dublin District Court heard a garda had arrested the defendant in Wheatfield Prison on a warrant and had brought him to Mountjoy Station, where he requested to speak to a solicitor.

At 3.56pm, the solicitor was brought to the consulting room and Maughan was taken in and left to speak with her.

At 5.02pm, a garda checked the room and discovered Maughan had absconded. He could be seen on CCTV running out the back gate of the station.

Maughan was re-arrested in Sligo on July 14 and sent back to the prison, where he had been serving a sentence since 2013.

The court heard there was an open door in the cell area and the gate was also open.

"Mr Maughan saw an opportunity and made good his escape," his solicitor said. "It was a short-sighted, snap decision."

Maughan had been attacked in Mountjoy Prison and had then been put on protection and lock-up in Wheatfield.

The court heard while he was unco-operative on re-arrest, he did give an account of what happened, saying: "When you see freedom like that, who wouldn't go?"

Judge Halpin asked if what happened had been "fortuitous" for the accused.

"It was a very warm, very hot day in June and that may have contributed to why the door was open," his lawyer said.


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