Profile: Felon whose crimes were 'nothing personal'
SERIAL robber Derek Brockwell, who was on the run from prison for the second time in his crime-ridden career until last night, has no regrets about carrying out at least 15 armed robberies.
But he is anxious that his victims be aware that the hold-ups were "nothing personal".
He offered in court to write to one of his victims in the Republic to explain that the robbery was "done in desperation" and that he needed the money to fund his lifestyle. Brockwell explained to his lawyers that he enjoyed his lifestyle and that he was fond of a drink and a smoke.
Last night, the law once again caught up with the escaped 53-year-old prisoner, who had previously been classified in the UK as a dangerous category A offender.
Despite that classification, and intelligence that he was regarded as a flight risk, Brockwell was taken from jail without an armed escort on seven occasions for visits to hospital and a medical centre.
Brockwell, who is Scottish, has few contacts in Ireland, apart from any relationships he might have struck up with cell mates while in Portlaoise and Cloverhill prisons in the Republic.
But somebody was prepared to take the risk to act as his accomplice and drive him to freedom on the back of a motorcycle after he had stabbed two prison officers in a toilet at Tallaght hospital in Dublin on Tuesday.
He reportedly received regular visits from a man, every four to six weeks, while in Portlaoise jail and another person was granted two visits in a day after travelling to the prison from Scotland.
Gardai now hope to track down those visitors to establish their relationship with Brockwell and also interview other prisoners, who were acquainted with him behind bars.
Brockwell has 64 UK convictions for offences dated between 1984 and 2000.