Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Killer on jail pre-release scheme goes on the run

Face of a killer: Colin King escaped while he was on pre-release from Maghaberry Prison, where he was being held for the brutal murder of Bessie Robson

Police have launched a massive manhunt to recapture a convicted killer who has gone on the run.

Evil Colin King, who was jailed after stabbing an 83-year-old widow and burning her body in 1994, escaped while out on pre-release from Maghaberry Prison.

A spokesman for the PSNI said that King had failed to turn up for a pre-release appointment in north Belfast on Thursday.

The 31-year-old is described as slim, 5ft 4ins tall, with brown hair, fresh-faced complexion and blue eyes. When last seen he had a goatee-style beard and had earrings in both ears.

He has a scar on his forehead and a tattoo of the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character on his upper arm. He also has an upper left arm vaccination mark.

King was just 16 when he and Adrian Wilson brutally killed retired schoolteacher Bessie Robson during a robbery at her home in Newtownabbey.

Mrs Robson’s charred remains were found at her gutted home at Bellevue Park on December 30, 1994. She had been mercilessly beaten about the head and face and her nose was smashed in. She was stabbed three times in the neck and twice in the chest — one wound pierced her heart. Mrs Robson and her bed were doused in methylated spirits and set alight. Her body was so badly burned she had to be identified by dental records.

Last night, a PSNI spokesman warned members of the public not to approach King — who has spent more than half his life behind bars.

“Anyone who has seen this man or has information relating to his whereabouts should contact police on 0845 600 8000,” he said.

David Browne, Lord Mayor of Belfast, remembers the gruesome murder and said questions need to be raised about the security of pre-release schemes.

“It is obviously worrying this prisoner was able to escape. But he’s now at large and people who have information should pass that on to the authorities.

“It is ironic that someone in jail for 14 years makes themselves a criminal again for the sake of a few months.

“When they catch him let’s hope they make an example of him.

“I understand people need to be rehabilitated into the community, but when things like this happen people need to be made an example of.”