Prisoner who escaped from Irish custody to stand trial for theft

The case was heard at Belfast Magistrates Court
The case was heard at Belfast Magistrates Court

A prisoner who escaped from custody in the Republic of Ireland is to stand trial for robbery in Belfast, a judge has ruled.

Derek Brockwell is accused of carrying out raids armed with a knife before police Tasered and recaptured him at a bar in the city in February 2015.

The 55-year-old Glaswegian appeared before Belfast Magistrates’ Court amid heavy security.

Four armed police officers accompanied him as he entered the dock clamped in handcuffs.

Brockwell, whose address was given as Frankland Prison in Durham, had escaped from custody at Dublin’s Tallaght Hospital.

He was detained at a bar in Belfast’s Bedford Street a day later.

He was taken to hospital for treatment to stab wounds reported to have been self-inflicted as police moved in to arrest him.

Brockwell is charged with carrying out one cash robbery and a second attempted robbery earlier that day.

He also faces two counts of possessing an offensive weapon, namely a knife, with intent to commit robbery.

Dressed in a yellow sweatshirt and grey track bottoms, he spoke to confirm he understood the alleged offences.

Defence counsel Sean Devine raised no objection to prosecution submissions that his client has a case to answer.

Brockwell was then asked if he wanted to give evidence, call witnesses or say anything in response to the charges.

He replied: “Is there any chance of bail?”

No formal application for release was advanced by his legal team.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall granted a prosecution request to have Brockwell returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court.

He was taken back into custody to appear again for arraignment on a date to be fixed.