Belfast Telegraph

Man on the run wanted in connection with murder of prison officer is arrested

An on-the-run suspect in the murder of Northern Irish prison officer David Black has been detained by police.

Damien Joseph McLaughlin, 40, from Co Tyrone, fled while on bail in November.

However, detectives from An Garda Siochana have arrested McLaughlin under a European Arrest Warrant as part of a joint intelligence-led operation with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

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 (the) arrest demonstrate the benefits of joint working between police forces and other national partner agencies."

Mr Murray added: "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 a 47-year-old woman has been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning."

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.

McLaughlin was due to stand trial in February on charges that include aiding and abetting murder, but fled while on bail.

Senior detectives have contacted the Black family to update them on McLaughlin's arrest.

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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