Northern Ireland news

Fugitive killer Stephen Henry due in court

Stephen Henry (41) was sentenced to 13 years for the brutal 2004 murder of dad-of-two John Cooke in Lisburn
Andrew Madden

A convicted murderer who went missing after being granted day release from prison is due in court today charged with being unlawfully at large.

Stephen Henry (41) was sentenced to 13 years for the brutal killing of dad-of-two John Cooke in Lisburn in 2004.

The judge said he "behaved like a savage" when he attacked his 33-year-old victim with a samurai sword "as he begged for his life".

Henry failed to return to Magilligan prison last Monday after being granted day release to visit family.

Police released a statement saying he may be in either the Craigavon or Belfast areas.

The fugitive turned up in a Dublin court on Friday morning after being arrested while intoxicated at a city centre hostel.

However, there was anger when he was allowed back on the streets the same day after being fined €75 for a public order offence that does not carry a jail sentence.

It is understood Henry could not be detained as a European Arrest Warrant had not yet been issued.

Late on Friday, the PSNI announced that he had been apprehended in Waringstown, Co Armagh.

Craigavon police said on social media: "The prisoner who failed to return to Magilligan after day release and was at one stage believed to be in our patch will now be getting a free lift back.

"He's been caught and arrested in the last half hour by D and E section officers in our patch. He'll be spending a night with us before being dealt with in the morning.

"Thanks for all the shares of the original appeal. We are only too happy to help our prison service colleagues and are just glad this was brought to a safe and reasonably quick conclusion."

Police said last night they had charged a 41-year old man with being unlawfully at large while under sentence and possessing a Class C controlled drug.

He is due to appear at Lisburn Magistrates' Court today.

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