Thursday 22 February 2018

Two prison officers stabbed by escapee prisoner at Tallaght Hospital

Paul Williams Special Correspondent

Gardai have launched a major manhunt after the escape of Derek Brockwell, an armed robber described as one of 'Britain's most wanted men' this afternoon.

The gangster who is serving seven years in Portlaoise Prison made his escape after stabbing the two prison officers who escorted him to Tallaght Hospital for medical treatment today at 3.45pm.

One of the officers was stabbed in the back and the arm, while the other was stabbed in the stomach when Brockwell suddenly produced a knife shortly after arriving at the hospital where he had been scheduled to undergo a procedure.

The prisoner, who is a native of Glasgow, then ran from the ward where he was to be treated and was picked up by an accomplice on a motorbike outside and driven away at speed.

Derek Brockwell (aged 53)
Derek Brockwell (aged 53)

Brockwell, aged 53, is serving time for a number of robberies which he carried out in Dublin in 2012 after escaping from Kirkham Prison in Lancashire, England in February of the same year.

At the time, Brockwell was serving 22 life sentences for a series of robberies and featured on Scotland Yard's 'most wanted' list.

He is described as being 'extremely dangerous'.

A city-wide garda manhunt is now underway in a bid to catch the prisoner.

An Garda Siochana released a statement this afternoon, reading: "Gardai in Tallaght are investigating an incident in Tallaght Hospital at approximately 3pm this afternoon during which a prisoner escaped from custody.

"Prison officers were escorting a prisoner named Derek Brockwell, aged 53 to Tallaght Hospital for treatment when an incident occurred during which he escaped from custody and two prison officers were injured.

"The prisoner, Derek Brockwell, is currently serving a sentence at Portlaoise Prison. He is described as being 6’03’’ tall with brown hair and broad build."

Gardai describe the man as being 6'03' in height with brown hair and broad build.

Later, Jim Mitchell, deputy general secretary of the Prison Officers' Association, said he was deeply concerned by the incident.

"It is vitally important that the Irish Prison Service thoroughly investigate this incident and establish how such a serious assault could have occurred," he said.

"It is very evident that prisoners, who are known to be dangerous and pose a serious risk, must be accompanied by appropriate levels of security when being escorted outside the prison environment.

"This, and indeed other incidents where our colleagues have been injured in recent years, raises many serious questions which must be tackled by prison management."

Mr Mitchell said the association's thoughts were with the injured prison officers.

Gardai are anxious to trace the whereabouts of this prisoner and wish to appeal for the publics assistance in locating him. Anyone with information is asked to contact Tallaght Garda Station on 01- 6666000, The Garda Confidential Telephone Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station. 

(Additional reporting PA)

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