Christopher Francis Kerr, 32, was given a life sentence for the 2006 murder of 15-year-old Ballymena teenager Michael McIlveen, but escaped from prison for a day before being caught by the authorities.
Kerr escaped from Maghaberry Prison while in police custody on a temporary accompanied release but was not due to be released from jail until at least 2021.
The 2006 sectarian murder of McIlveen happened when he was chased by a gang and hit with a baseball bat in an alleyway near the Ballymena town center. McIlveen, who was known as ‘Micky Bo’ to family and friends, died soon after the attack from sustained brain injuries.
An MLA for the Ulster Unionist party, Doug Beattie, when speaking with the Belfast Telegraph, said: “I have called time and time again for the rules to be tightened for prisoners like this so that they do not have the opportunity to be able to abscond… Again I ask that the Prison Service look at its systems that they have in place to make sure this does not happen again.”
“This isn’t the first time people who are serving sentences for serious crimes have been given the ability to abscond and go into our community and here we have a convicted murderer, a seriously dangerous man, who is now free to roam in our society because the Prison Service have got it wrong again,” Beattie also stated.
As of now, the Northern Ireland Department of Justice and PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) are expected to soon release a joint statement regarding the incident.