Prison inmate and his parents held over Derek Brockwell escape

Gardaí believe Glaswegian (53) was assisted when he managed to get away during hospital visit

Derek Brockwell escaped custody on February 17th and was recaptured. Photograph: Irish Prison Service /PA

Derek Brockwell escaped custody on February 17th and was recaptured. Photograph: Irish Prison Service /PA


Gardaí investigating the escape from prison custody of armed robber Derek Brockwell and the stabbing of two prison officers have arrested another prisoner and his parents.

The prisoner being questioned is serving a lengthy sentence for a serious offence in which a man lost his life.

He is also linked to underworld figures including associates of Gerry Hutch, also known as ‘The Monk’.

Detectives are working on the theory that Brockwell was assisted in escaping by an Irish prisoner he met while serving his sentence in Portlaoise Prison.

They believe the prisoner who conspired with him also organised a number of contacts outside the prison setting to provide the logistical support Brockwell needed to complete his escape.

Brockwell was able to access to a knife which he used to stab the prison officer he was chained to and his colleague.

The officers, along with a third colleague, had taken the 53-year-old Glaswegian to Tallaght Hospital in Dublin on the afternoon of February 17th for a medical check-up related to his diabetes when the attack and escape occurred.

After freeing himself from the officer he stabbed in the stomach, Brockwell ran through the hospital and was driven away at speed on the back of a motorbike driven by another man waiting outside.

Garda sources said they were examining if those who assisted Brockwell did so for payment.

A 31-year-old prisoner with an address in Ashbourne, Co Meath, was arrested at Portlaoise Prison this morning. His parents, who are both in their 60s, were arrested at the same time in Ashbourne.

All three are being held under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act and are being questioned at Tallaght and Rathfarnham garda stations.

Both of the prison officers stabbed by Brockwell required surgery. The most seriously injured was the officer stabbed in the abdomen. His colleague was stabbed in the back and arm. A third officer was parking the prison van at the time of the incident.

Brockwell fled to Northern Ireland after escaping, apparently as part of his efforts to leave the island and travel back to Scotland.

However, the evening after his escape he was arrested outside a Wetherspoon’s pub on Bedford Street, Belfast, after having robbed a pharmacy.

He was drinking beer at the time and the PSNI officers who arrested him used a Taser gun to subdue him.

Brockwell sustained a serious stab wound during the arrest which was believed to be self inflicted. He has been in hospital in the North under armed guard since his arrest.

He fled to Ireland in 2012 after he absconded from a sentence of 22 life terms in England for nine armed robberies and two attempted armed robberies.

After coming to Ireland he went on a crime spree and was jailed for seven years for a series of armed robberies.

It is unclear if he will resume his life terms in the UK or his seven-year sentence in the Republic when he recovers from his injuries. He is one of the UK’s most wanted criminals and was featured on BBC’s Crimewatch programme.