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Friday, 31 March, 2000, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
'Re-arrest escaped IRA killer'

Liam Averill escaped from the Maze Prison
An assembly member has demanded the re-arrest of a convicted IRA killer who escaped from prison more than two years ago.

Mid-Ulster Democratic Unionist Party representative Rev William McCrea made the comments in response to reports that double murderer Liam Averill is living in Donegal in the Irish Republic.

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Averill had been serving two life sentences for the murder of two Protestants in April 1994.

However, he escaped from the high-security Maze Prison in County Antrim in December 1997.

He was smuggled out of the prison dressed as a women after attending a Christmas party for inmates' children.

However, recent reports have suggested that Averill is now based in the republic and crosses the border into Northern Ireland. It has also been claimed that Averill has been seen in counties Antrim and Londonderry.

Mr McCrea has called on Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Mandelson to order the immediate re-arrest of Averill and "stop the mockery of these grieving families" by "turning a blind eye" to lawlessness.

He added: "Once again the Irish Republic is proving itself to be a safe haven for IRA murderers.



William McCrea: Calling for re-arrest
"Averill, it seems, is openly living 20 miles across the border and being chauffeured about like a hero, whilst at the same time making himself a nuisance to the local community without the garda batting an eye."

He claimed Averill was "leading the authorities a merry dance" by his behaviour.

"Of course, he knows that Mr Trimble's negotiated Belfast Agreement has ensured that the IRA boat cannot be rocked, therefore he will not be arrested or put back in prison," said Mr McCrea.

"The emphasis is now on getting murderers out of prison rather than getting others back in."

Averill's escape came weeks after the murder in the Maze Prison of Billy Wright, the leader of paramilitary splinter group, the Loyalist Volunteer Force.

There were calls for a full public inquiry into both incidents.

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