Thursday 22 February 2018

How a hospital visit presented a golden opportunity for escape

By Paul Williams

we've all seen the movies where the criminal tries to dig their way out of prison, get smuggled out in the laundry or have an accomplice blow up the door.

It all seems very dramatic, but in reality the most obvious location for a prison break is when a convict is taken on a hospital visit.

Every day, scores of inmates in jails are transported under escort for scheduled appointments in the same way Derek Brockwell was taken to Tallaght on the outskirts of Dublin on Tuesday.

Brockwell, who had already been brought to the same ward on at least three occasions for treatment, knew exactly where he was going to be and when.

That made it all the easier for a weapon to be left for him in a pre-arranged location, and to have an accomplice standing by to spirit him away to what turned out to be a temporary freedom..

The fact that this criminal had no armed escort despite being classified as a flight risk will come as surprise to most.

Equally astonishing is the factthat the officers escorting the career criminal had nothing more than their fists to ensure that he remained in custody. Jail guards in the Republic are not equipped with batons, pepper sprays or stab vests.

As a result, the two officers who escorted Brockwell remain seriously injured in hospital.

The attack on the two officers, not to mention the fact that an acknowledged prison escapee with a penchant for violence got away so easily, will no doubt focus minds in the Republic's prison service over the coming months.

Especially as it came only weeks after after a dangerous Dublin criminal serving 10 years for violent crime escaped from a prison van after he was taken out to attend a medical appointment in city's Mater Hospital.

Belfast Telegraph

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