Clondalkin man's jail term extended following prison van escape after guards stop to get him a takeaway

garda van
A 24-year-old Clondalkin man has had his jail term extended after he forced his way out of a prison van whilst the gardai who were transporting him stopped to get him a takeaway. On the day in question, prisoner Lee Mc Donnell was being transported from Portlaoise prison on 17 December of last year to the Mater hospital in Dublin when he made his escape. He was being treated for an arm injury, and because of the injury he was allowed to return to Portlaoise prison without being handcuffed, but remained in the back of the prison van attached to another officer. Having not eaten all day, the officers stopped at a Macari's chipper to get some food for the prisoner, and he was left alone in the back of the prison van. Mc Donnell had complained of feeling sick, so a window in the back of the van was left open. The prisoner then managed to get his hand out of the window and open the van door from the outside and he fled up Emmett road in Inchicore. Despite a large garda search, Mc Donnell could not be located and it wasn't until two on duty officers spotted him five weeks later in Clondalkin, that he was eventually detained again. He had been serving a nine year sentence for the burglary and assault of an elderly man in his home, while he also burgled a petrol station and assaulted the clerk later that day. He was due to be released in September 2021, but Judge Martin Nolan pushed his release date back by a further 10 months. He also removed some of the privileges that Mc Donnell enjoys in prison for 56 days, such as wearing his own clothes, visits and leisure activities. Judge Nolan defended the actions of the gardai, stating they were only looking out for the prisoner's well-being. "I don't think there's any criticism of the prison staff who were simply buying food for the prisoner," he said.

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