Belfast Telegraph

Convicted murderer Stephen Henry charged with being unlawfully at large

By Angela Rainey

A convicted killer who absconded to Dublin while on day-release from a prison in Northern Ireland will appear in court today.

Murderer Stephen Henry (41), from Belfast, is charged with being unlawfully at large after failing to return to Magilligan Prison, Co Londonderry, last week.

He had been granted permission to see his family on October 30 on the proviso that he return to jail.

Henry is due to appear at Lisburn Magistrates' Court today.

The prisoner, who was initially believed to be hiding in Belfast or the Craigavon area, had instead made his way to Dublin where he was arrested for a public order offence. Garda had picked him up on Merrion Road, Dublin, with no shoes on and "completely unaware where he was". He had also been mugged.

Henry appeared in Dublin District Court on Friday, was ordered to pay €75 fine and released. The Irish authorities could not remand him into custody as the offence was not punishable by a jail term.

A European Arrest Warrant had not yet been issued to enable him to be handed over to the PSNI and could take a week, the court was told.

The father-of-two was then arrested that evening in the Waringstown area of Co Armagh.

An appeal had been issued by PSNI urging the public not to approach him due to his "history of violence".

Henry was jailed in 2004 and handed a 13-year sentence for the murder of John Cooke that year at a house in Lisburn.

Henry had almost completed serving the sentence when he absconded.

A spokesperson for the PSNI said: "Police have charged a 41-year-old man with being unlawfully at large while under sentence and possessing a Class C controlled drug. As is normal procedure, all charges will be reviewed by the PPS (Public Prosecution Service)."

Belfast Telegraph

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