jail break | 

‘Highly dangerous’ gang rammed prison van to try free ‘volatile’ criminal, Gardaí suspect

The hit-and-run happened near Clontibret, between Monaghan town and Castleblayney at 6.45pm.

File photo of a prison van.

Ken Foy

A dangerous organised crime gang from south Armagh are the chief suspects for ramming a prison van yesterday evening in an attempt to free one of their members.

The suspected killer who is considered “extremely violent and volatile” was with four inmates who were in the van being escorted back to prison after appearing in court.

The hit-and-run happened near Clontibret, between Monaghan town and Castleblayney at 6.45pm.

We cannot reveal the identity of the inmate at the centre of the attempted jail break because he is facing serious charges before the courts.

The suspect has been on remand in custody for a number of years at this stage and was previously known to gardai in Co Monaghan for assaults and other violent crimes and at one stage spent years on the run, hiding out in locations on the border.

The gang who attempted to free him yesterday wore balaclavas as they rammed a stolen BMW into the prison van which they burnt out shortly after the botched incident which happened near a roundabout.

They then escaped back into Co Armagh in an Audi car.

“The criminals who are suspected of being involved in this are considered highly dangerous. This was a very unusual incident and thankfully no-one was hurt,” a source said.

Gardai are continuing to carry out searches in relation to the incident today but there has been no arrests and officers are appealing for information.

“Gardaí are appealing for witnesses to a hit and run road traffic collision on the N2 at Kilcrow, Clontribbet, Co. Monaghan, yesterday evening, Wednesday 15th June, 2022,” a spokesman said today.

“At approximately 6.45pm, a gold coloured BMW X5, was in collision with an Irish Prison Services van. No injuries have been reported at this time.

“The BMW X5 left the scene and was found burnt out a short distance away on the N2.

“An Garda Síochána are satisfied that a number of individuals were observed leaving the scene of the burnt out vehicle in a grey /black Audi A4 with Northern Ireland registration plates.

“An Garda Síochána are satisfied that the BMW X5 may have been stolen in a burglary in Ashbourne, Co. Meath on the 15th May 2022. The correct registration of the BMW X5 is 04D77272. At the time of this hit and run collision the BMW was bearing false registration plates 06D520.

“An incident room has been established at Monaghan Garda Station. “Gardaí are appealing for any persons with any information on this incident to provide this information to the investigation team.

“In particular An Garda Síochána are appealing to anyone who was in the following locations and/or any driver or other persons with any camera footage (including dash-cam) to make it available to them,” he said.

Gardaí are appealing to anyone who was travelling on the N2 near Kilcrow, Clontibret between 5.30pm and 7pm on Wednesday, and anyone travelling through Monaghan town between 9am and 7pm on Wednesday who may have seen the gold BMW X5 or the Audi to come forward.

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