Pensioner admits escaping from city court in April 1974


A 72-year-old pensioner pleaded guilty yesterday to escaping from Belfast’s former Magistrates’ Court nearly 40 years ago.

However, Samuel Tweed, from Mark Street in Newtownards, still faces a trial in connection with the discovery of a cache of guns and ammunition in the city in April 1974 – less than a month before his escape from the Chichester Street courthouse.

Although freed on continuing bail, Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland told the pensioner that this could not be taken as an indication as to how the court will deal with him in respect of the escaping lawful custody charge.

At his formal arraignment before Belfast Crown Court yesterday, Tweed, on £7,000 bail, pleaded “guilty” to escaping.

He also pleaded “not guilty” to four charges, two each of possessing firearms and ammunition with intent and under suspicious circumstances on April 19, 1974.

The pensioner, who was only re-arrested in September 2012, denies having – among others – six .45 calibre revolvers.

Tweed is expected to go on trial for the firearms offences in April.