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Police alert: 'Dangerous' man accused of murder on the loose in Northern Ireland

Police are appealing for the public's help after a "dangerous" man accused of murder and with an extensive history of violence was released from prison by mistake.

The PSNI said it strenuously objected to bail for Michael Lawrence Smith's and it was subsequently refused at a hearing on Monday.

The 38-year-old who is currently on remand for murder was released "erroneously" by the Prison Service from Maghaberry on Tuesday, police said.

He is described as being of medium build, 1.87metres tall and 106kg in weight with brown eyes and brown hair. Distinguishing Marks include scars on his arms, shoulders, head, neck and right cheek.

Smith is charged with the murder of Belfast man Stephen Carson, who was shot dead in his home in front of his nine-year-old son and partner in February 2016.

As well as being on remand for murder he is awaiting trial on a number of other offences.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Geddes said: “Michael Smith, who is deemed as dangerous, was last seen in the Belfast area at 2pm on Tuesday 7 March.

“He has an extensive history of violence and I would urge the public not to approach him but contact police immediately.

“I would ask Mr Smith to hand himself in to the authorities without any further delay and ask anyone who knows of his current whereabouts or who has any information to contact police on 999.”

A Prison Service Spokeswoman said: “The matters surrounding the erroneous release of Michael Lawrence Smith are currently under investigation. The Prison Service would urge anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact the Police immediately.”

Stephen Carson was shot dead while he was eating dinner with his partner and nine-year-old son (PSNI/PA)
Stephen Carson was shot dead while he was eating dinner with his partner and nine-year-old son (PSNI/PA)

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