Manhunt underway after violent prisoner escapes from Dublin hospital

Separate investigations are underway after a violent prisoner – serving eight-and-a-half years for a vicious knife attack – escaped from a Dublin hospital while in the custody of prison officers.

Gardaí are trying to locate the 22-year-old, while the Irish Prison Service is investigating how the man escaped.

Prison escapes have reduced in recent years, but this is the second one in recent months involving an inmate of Mountjoy Prison.

Just before Christmas, a north Dublin man serving time for threatening to kill or cause serious harm escaped and has not yet been found.

In today’s incident, the prisoner was on what is understood to have been a two-man escort to St James’s Hospital, in Dublin’s south inner city, when he escaped at around 8am and fled on foot.

It is not yet clear if he somehow slipped his cuffs or if medical staff had asked for them to be removed for treatment or if the prisoner had asked to go to the toilet and escaped through a window.

“The circumstances are not yet known and a detailed report from the prison officers is expected,” said one source.

The escaped prisoner, from Blanchardstown, west Dublin, received a 10-year-sentence with a year and a half suspended in 2017 for a vicious stabbing of a homeless man in Dublin city centre in June 2015.

The slash inflicted was from the victim’s ear to the side of his mouth, requiring 48 stitches and leaving him with a permanent scar.

Immediately after today’s escape prison staff alerted gardaí and a citywide search is underway.

Meanwhile, the Irish Prison Service will conduct an investigation into how the incident happened.

“The prison officers will give a full report, which will go to the IPS and the Gardai,” said one source.

The IPS will want to know how did it happen, was there individual failing or system failing, how it occurred, was it something beyond the control of officers or not and if there are any discipline issues or not.

In a statement, a spokesman for the IPS said: “The Irish Prison Service can confirm that a prisoner has escaped from lawful custody while on escort to St James Hospital this morning.

“An Garda Síochána were notified immediately and provided with all the relevant information in relation to the prisoner.

"The Irish Prison Service is currently investigating the circumstances of the escape.”

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