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Northern Ireland killer on the run from prison

A manhunt was under way in Northern Ireland today after a convicted killer went on the run during a home leave visit from prison.

Daniel Martin Peter Hargan (51) was one of three people involved in the violent death of Edward Kelly in Bangor in June 2006.

The Prison Service said Hargan—who was due to be released from Maghaberry Prison in May — failed to return.

A spokesman for the Prison Service today confirmed that Hargan “remained at large” and a search operation by the PSNI was under way.

A PSNI spokesman, however, said they could not comment further on the matter.

DUP MLA and Policing Board member Jimmy Spratt said it raises “serious concerns and questions” about how prisoners are monitored.

“To have a man who was convicted of being involved in a violent murder able to disappear from prison while on a home leave visit is a concern,” he said.

“It seems to be another embarrassing saga for the Prison Service in a number of recent sagas.

“It is not the problem for individual prison officers, but more for the whole service as a whole and the NIO to investigate.”

Hargan was convicted of manslaughter after Mr Kelly's body was found at a house in Central Avenue in the town in 2006.

The 58-year-old, who had been staying at a hostel in the area, suffered serious head and chest injuries.

Mr Kelly, a grandfather, was discovered by his landlady having been brutally attacked. He later died from a brain haemorrhage.

During the court case the judge heard that his injuries indicated multiple blows to the head with a “linear weapon”, and also injuries consistent with kicking or stamping.

While sentencing Hargan the judge said the photographs taken at the scene indicated a “violent and sustained attack upon a small, lightly built person of 58 years who can have been no match for his assailants”.

Tammy McDowell (19), who was also accused of the killing at the time, was found dead in 2007 from a drugs overdose. She never stood trial.

A Polish man, Jerzy Zalewski, denied the killing and fled Northern Ireland after he was charged with murder and released on bail in July 2006.

Hargan was convicted of manslaughter and jailed in June 2008 for seven years.

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