'spur of the moment' | 

Convicted knife killer handed three month sentence for going on the run at Christmas

Glen Allen was ordered to serve at least 14 years of his life sentence for the murder of William Meeks who was stabbed about the face, head and neck

Glen Allen

Paul Higgins

A convicted knife killer who went on the run for a week before Christmas because he was concerned about returning late to prison following temporary release was handed a three month sentence today.

Ordering the sentence to begin after Glen Allen’s minimum tariff has expired this September, Judge Alistair Devlin told the 34-year-old he was sceptical about the killer’s claimed reasons for not returning after his eight hours of freedom on 14 December last year.

“It’s probably much more likely that no doubt having enjoyed his time out of custody, he decided that he didn’t really want to return and on the spur of the moment, decided to try his hand spending Christmas out of the prison environment,” said the Antrim Crown Court judge.

At an earlier hearing Allen, listed as NFA Portstewart, entered a guilty plea to being unlawfully at large between 14-20 December last year and opening the facts of the case today, prosecuting counsel Suzanne Gallagher outlined how the convicted killer was allowed eight hours of unaccompanied release on 14 December.

That was on a number of agreed conditions which included Allen being freed from 10am, he had to return by 6pm and while free, he was to go to his mother’s house in Coleraine, able to go shopping but he was prohibited from licensed premises, consuming alcohol or drugs and was not to associate with any criminal or paramilitaries.

On the way to prison however, Ms Gallagher said it was accepted the defendant’s lift was stuck in heavy traffic but when it stopped at a petrol station, he jumped out of the car and ran away, borrowing a strangers phone to call a friend to collect him.

Police found him at an address in Portstewart on 20 December and during interviews, he claimed he was concerned about the ramifications about not meeting his 6pm deadline.

He told cops he had stayed with various family and friends during that week but they kicked him out each time when they discovered through news reports that he was unlawfully at large.

In 2010 Allen was ordered to serve at least 14 years of his life sentence for the murder of 35-year-old William Meeks who was stabbed about the face, head and neck in a frenzied and brutal assault in June 2008.

The men had been drinking in Mr Meeks’ property when there was an altercation over a previous assault and after he launched his murderous attack, Allen set fire to the property in an effort to destroy evidence.

The Fire Service was called to the flat at around 6.15am and Mr Meek was dragged from it with his head and face covered in blood and he was pronounced dead at the scene an hour later.

The victim had suffered 51 stab wounds to his head, face and neck and a pathologist had stated the most likely fatal wound had penetrated “almost the entire breadth” of his skull and brain.

Handing down the sentence in 2010, Lord Justice Girvan said no matter what the history, “nothing justified the frenzied attack” on Mr Meek which led to his death in “horrible circumstances”.

In court today, defence counsel Neil Moore said that since his remand back into prison Allen has been working well, is on an enhanced prisoner status and the governor “is supporting” of his application for release under licence which is due this September.

Urging the judge not to interfere with that, the barrister also revealed that Allen “security category” has been decreased and that the various reports “are positive about the defendants level of engagement and his attitude.”

In jailing Allen, Judge Devlin told Mr Moore however that if he didn’t make the sentence consecutive “the sentence from this court will make no difference at all and clearly, that is highly undesirable.”

Commenting how Allen thought it preferable to “run off into the dead of night,” the judge said for prisoners on temporary release it is important there is “strict adherence” to the terms of their release because trust is an essential element of that release “and if that is not forthcoming, the risk is that the availability of the programme will diminish as a result.”

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