Violent prisoner escapes custody while on temporary release

Kevin O’Keeffe serving five year sentence for violent robbery of a Spar shop in 2012


A garda chase is under way for a violent criminal who failed to return to prison after being let out on temporary release.

Kevin O’Keeffe (32) with a former address of North Circular Road, Dublin 8, was serving a five and a half year jail sentence for various offences including the violent robbery of a Spar shop during which staff were tied up and threatened with knives.

This is the second time O’Keeffe has escaped from custody.

He has been in prison since 2014 and was on temporary release last week from Mountjoy Prison to attend a drug treatment course.

He failed to return to the prison on Friday and gardaí were alerted. His earliest release date, including remission, is late 2018.

The Irish Prison Service has confirmed gardaí are leading the search operation.

In 2014 O’Keeffe (28), a drug addict, was jailed for four years for robbery, false imprisonment, theft and dealing heroin.

He and an accomplice entered a Spar shop in Clarehall in 2012 and told a staff member to close the shutters or he would “slice his throat”.

The staff were then tied up with cable ties.

O’Keeffe punched one of the victims in the face and warned him not to tell anyone.

The staff were then forced to take the robbers to a safe room, open the safe and give them money.

The raiders also tied up the arms and legs of one of the staff and threw him down the stairs.

The raiders fled on foot with the cash but were arrested by gardaí after a short struggle during which they were highly aggressive.

In 2015 O’Keeffe was jailed for another 18 months for stealing a priest’s car while he was out on bail for the Spar robbery.

O’Keeffe has 80 previous convictions at District Court level. These include thefts, burglaries, public order, road traffic and escape from custody.