Valliday: Prison escapee mugshot seven years old

Frank McGreevy's sister Mary criticised prison staff for releasing an old photo of his killer. Picture by Ann McManus
Brendan Hughes

A STORMONT department has apologised after appealing for information on a killer on the run from jail using a seven-year-old mugshot.

Thomas Valliday (27), who murdered west Belfast father-of-two Frank 'Bap' McGreevy in 2008, was arrested last night after escaping from prison staff on Friday during a hospital visit.

Before his arrest, a picture of the Maghaberry life-sentence prisoner was issued in an appeal for information on his whereabouts.

But Mr McGreevy's sister Mary has criticised prison authorities for failing to release a recent photo of Valliday.

"The picture of him is seven years old. How would anyone recognise him now? It's a joke," she said.

"The system is all wrong. This prisoner just walks off and we are left in fear and shock and wondering what other victim will come to the same end as Frank."

It is the third time in recent months that prison staff have issued dated mugshots of killers on the run from jail.

The Department for Justice yesterday released a recent photo of Valliday after being contacted by The Irish News.

However, the department could not provide a high-resolution copy of the picture.

A spokeswoman was also unable to confirm when exactly the original photo issued was taken.

"Unfortunately the most recent photograph held was not provided to the PSNI to issue on Friday and we apologise for this," she said.

"The Department of Justice website and the PSNI now have the most up to date photograph of Valliday, taken on 30 April 2015. Anyone with information about this prisoner should pass it to the PSNI."

Valliday escaped from prison staff on Friday during an outpatient visit to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald.

In March 2008 he was unlawfully at large when he bludgeoned Mr McGreevy, a former IRA prisoner, to death at his home in west Belfast.

Valliday was high on a cocktail of drink and drugs when he battered the 51-year-old with weapons including a pick axe handle.

Mr McGreevy was found by his son lying in a pool of blood and died three days later from his injuries.

Valliday was jailed in 2010 for a minimum of 17 years for the murder.

During sentencing the judge said Valliday had shown "no remorse whatsoever for his crime".

He is the fourth convicted killer to go on the run from jail in recent months.

Patrick Byers was declared unlawfully at large in January after he broke his curfew while on temporary release.

The 29-year-old, who received a 12-year sentence in 2005 for the murder of his neighbour in north Belfast, was later returned to custody after handing himself in.

Just weeks earlier killer Samuel McKinley failed to return to Maghaberry prison from a pre-release work scheme.

The 53-year-old, who has fled from prison twice before during temporary release, was finally returned to prison last month.

Photos issued of the unlawfully-at-large killers were both more than seven years old.

The Prison Service at the time admitted the picture of Byers was the most recent available despite saying its policy is to photograph prisoners "at regular intervals".

In November, William Sloan (51), originally from Dundonald, who was jailed for a hammer attack on a man in 1989, went on the run for almost a month.

A review into temporary release arrangements is due to take place later this year following the high-profile escapes.


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