Sunday 18 March 2018

Brockwell used knife for raid on pharmacy after staff treated him

Derek Brockwell enters Urban Pharmacy on the Donegal Road. Photo: Pacemaker
Derek Brockwell enters Urban Pharmacy on the Donegal Road. Photo: Pacemaker
Derek Brockwell, who escaped from custody by stabbing two prison officers in Tallaght
Cliff McElhinney from Urban Pharmacy. Photo: Pacemaker

Paul Williams andChris Kilpatrick

STAFF at a chemist who were held at knifepoint by on-the-run criminal Derek Brockwell had earlier helped clean and dress a wound on his hand, it has emerged.

The dangerous criminal, who remains in hospital after stabbing himself in the chest, had visited Urban Pharmacy in Belfast at midday on Wednesday seeking help - but returned six hours later when he put a young member of staff in an arm lock and thrust a blade against his back.

He brazenly told a female member of staff: "It's me again."

The robbery took place just a few hundred metres from where he was Tasered by police outside a Wetherspoons pub.

Cliff McElhinney, who works in Urban Pharmacy, said his colleagues had been badly shaken by their ordeal, which was captured on CCTV.


"He presented here with an open wound to his hand which was treated and it was very much normal customer interaction," he said.

"We didn't ask questions about how it happened, we just treated him.

"He then came back before 6pm. When he came in he said, 'Hello, it's me again'."

Brockwell (53) also attempted to rob another business but fled empty-handed.

He was wanted by gardaí after stabbing two prison officers during a daring escape on a visit to Tallaght Hospital on Tuesday.

The Glasgow native is considered one of Britain's most wanted criminals, having gone on the run from prison in Lancashire where he was serving 22 life sentences for robbery and firearm offences. Discussion are ongoing between the PSNI and authorities in the Republic and England over where he will be sent to serve his outstanding prison sentences.

"We are liaising with our colleagues in An Garda Siochana and in Lancashire Constabulary as he is wanted within those jurisdictions as well," said PSNI Superintendent Paula Hilman.

Garda sources told the Irish Independent that they will most likely be seeking permission from the DPP to charge Brockwell with a number of offences including attempted murder and assault.

When that happens, they will have to seek an international arrest warrant for the career criminal and have him extradited back to this jurisdiction.

Senior officials in the Irish Prison Service yesterday admitted that they did not request the provision of an armed garda escort for Brockwell before his scheduled appointed in Tallaght where he was receiving treatment for diabetes.

The Prison Officers Association (POA) met with the Director General of the Irish Prison Service Michael Donnellan and Martin Mullen and the Governor of Portlaoise Prison where the armed robber was serving a seven-year sentence.

They also told the POA that they were not in receipt of any prior intelligence that Brockwell was planning an escape.

Last night the POA said they will now demand a face-to-face meeting with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

"We are bitterly disappointed with the outcome of the meeting - the serious questions we have been asking on behalf of our members for the past number of days were not been answered," POA assistant general secretary Gabriel Keavney told the Irish Independent.

Earlier Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the Prison Service would be given adequate protective equipment and resources to protect themselves.

"Yes of course the Government will support proper equipment and protection facilities being made available for gardaí and prison officers and those of the Defence Forces in general," Mr Kenny said.

Irish Independent

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