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"There was blood everywhere": Eyewitness describes Derek Brockwell's escape from Tallaght Hospital

An eyewitness described what happened during the dangerous prisoner’s escape.

brockwell-390x285 Derek Brockwell Source: Garda Press Office

“WE PASSED THE motorcycle in an area normally reserved for emergencies or disabled drivers – that’s how I noticed it”.

An eyewitness who saw dangerous and violent criminal Derek Brockwell escape from Tallaght Hospital has told TheJournal.ie that one prison officer had “blood dripping down his hands” after the incident.

Michael Clinton and his partner were on their way into Tallaght Hospital at approximately 3.30pm on Tuesday when they noticed something unusual – a motorcycle parked oddly outside.

As they made their way into the diabetes clinic, a man came towards them in the hallway. Just as two security guards came nearer to the man, he broke from a walk into a jog.

The man was Derek Brockwell, who escaped prison custody by motorcycle after being brought to the diabetes clinic.

“You’d know there was something going on,” said Clinton, who has given a statement to gardaí. “I was more interested in protecting my partner. [Brockwell] was quite calmly walking. It was only when the security guard got to within 20 – 30 feet [of him] he started jogging.”

Stabbings

Inside the clinic, they were greeted with a shocking sight: A prison officer who had been stabbed in the stomach.

I could very clearly see the stab wound – it looked like it might be three to four inches, on the left hand side.

He said a second prison officer had “blood dripping down his hands”.

20140602_150636 Witness Michael Clinton Source: Michael Clinton

In shock

Clinton said there were “about 100 people there – they were mostly pensioners. They were in serious shock”.

The [prison officer] was on the ground, there was blood squirting everywhere.
The second guard was trying to raise the alarm on their phone. It might have been 10 seconds after it happened. The people in shock were stunned and rooted to the spot.

“The staff were unbelievable,” said Clinton. “[They were] rallying around and organising both the people that were there to keep the people corralled in one area [so] that no one walked over and got in the way, and administering first aid to the gentleman. They were fantastic.”

The patients were then ushered into another room. Eventually, the rest of the day’s clinics were cancelled, said Clinton.

Weapon

Gardaí reported that Brockwell, who was attending an appointment at the diabetes clinic, attacked the two prison officers after a visit to the toilet.

According to Clinton, when you get into the diabetic clinic you go through triage, which involves giving a urine sample.

“They give you a jar, and you go into the toilet. When you walk into the toilet, it’s a fairly clinical cubicle. You provide a sample and leave a sample in a small room adjacent to it. The only place to conceal any sort of weapon in that area would be in the cistern,” he said.

He contacted the gardaí and subsequently gave them a statement.

“Because I’m dyslexic, I tend to be very observant about things that go on around me. I have a photographic memory,” said Clinton.

He described Brockwell as “huge” and “imposing” and said “I wouldn’t under any circumstances tackle him”.

The hunt continues for Brockwell, who had been serving a seven-year sentence at Portlaoise prison for robbery and possession of firearms.

In the Dáil today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the priority is to have Brockwell, who has multiple convictions, returned “as soon as possible”.

Read: Derek Brockwell: Search for ‘violent, hardened criminal’ continues, as Minister orders full report>

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