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Lee McDonnell

Lee McDonnell

Lee McDonnell

One of Ireland's most dangerous prisoners was still on the loose last night almost a week after he escaped from a prison van in Dublin.

Ballyfermot thug Lee McDonnell has not been seen by the authorities since his dramatic escape at lunchtime last Wednesday and there are fears that he may have fled abroad.

McDonnell (23) from Lough Conn Road in Ballyfermot, Dublin was serving 10 years in prison for a number of violent crimes, including an aggravated robbery during which he used the butt of a replica firearm to assault a shopkeeper.

Last night, sources revealed that local gardai in his stronghold of Ballyfermot have not been able to conduct proper searches for him because of a lack of resources.

"When this lad first went on the run last week, the feeling was that he would show up in no time as he was never considered the smartest criminal in the country," a source explained.

"However, it is almost a week in and he has not been found - he might well have slipped out of the country."

Last Wednesday, the gangster was taken from Portlaoise Prison to the Mater Hospital for medical treatment with three prison officers.

While on the way back to Portlaoise at around 1.40pm, the prison van stopped in Inchicore to get McDonnell something to eat at a local chippers.

When officers opened the back of the van, McDonnell - who was wearing handcuffs - jumped out and escaped.

The prison authorities immediately notified gardai who issued an alert and circulated a description of McDonnell.

McDonnell was sent to prison in 2012 and was not due to be released until 2019.

He is the leader of a hardcore group of thugs who caused absolute mayhem in west Dublin in the years before he was eventually locked up.

McDonnell has 108 previous convictions, including robbery, assault, firearms possession, hijacking, dangerous driving, criminal damage and endangerment offences.

GERRY O'CARROLL: PAGE 24


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