Belfast Telegraph

David Black murder: Damien McLaughlin arrested during joint Garda and PSNI operation

Man (59) and woman (47) also arrested during the operation

On-the-run suspect Damien McLaughlin has been detained during a joint Garda and PSNI investigation into the murder of Northern Ireland prison officer David Black.

The 40-year-old, from Kilmascally Road near Ardboe in Co Tyrone, fled while on bail in November.

He was arrested under a European Arrest Warrant as part of a joint intelligence-led operation.

Mr Black, 52, was shot dead by dissident republicans as he drove along the M1 on his way to work at Maghaberry Prison in November 2012.

Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, from PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch, said: "Since his disappearance police have carried out extensive enquiries regarding Mr McLaughlin’s whereabouts.

"Throughout this time the PSNI has been liaising closely with An Garda Siochana and today’s arrests demonstrate the benefits of joint working between police forces and other national partner agencies.

"As part of the operation a 59-year-old man was also arrested in Donegal and a 47-year-old woman was arrested in Belfast. Damien McLaughlin is scheduled to appear at Dublin’s Central Criminal Court tomorrow.

"The 59-year-old man has been taken to Letterkenny police station for questioning and the 47-year-old woman has been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning.”

Senior detectives contacted the Black family on Thursday to update them on developments:.

"Detectives involved in the case spoke with Mrs Black to inform her of Damien McLaughlin’s arrest," added Detective Chief Superintendent Murray.

In January police apologised to the Black family after it emerged they had not realised he was missing for several weeks.

At the time Mr Black's family said they felt betrayed by the justice system.

McLaughlin, who had served a period in custody on remand before being bailed had initially been fitted with an electronic tag while on bail but he was later permitted to remove it.

The Police Ombudsman has begun an investigation to establish whether there were any failings in police conduct or in policing systems in the management of McLaughlin's bail conditions.

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