ESCAPED SHELTON ABBEY PRISONER DISAPPEARS
A Wexford man serving a three-year sentence for the manslaughter of his brother has disappeared after 'absconding' from Shelton Abbey Open Prison near Arlow.
'We don't know if Martin is alive or dead,' Patrice Connors said of her missing husband Martin.
'We haven't heard a whisper of him.. we are seriously worried about where he is,' said Martin Connors' eldest brother Thomas. He said the family was mystified about why Martin quit the open prison as he 'would probably have been released in a few months'.
Martin Connors, who was jailed for killing his brother Michael in Belvedere Grove in 2011, spent the past few months at Portlaoise, where his family said 'he was a model prisoner,' but shortly after his recent transfer to Shelton Abbey, near Arklow, they said he walked out of the open prison.
Patrice said her husband somehow made his way to the Barntown area, where she met him 'at a friend's house' early in the morning of Wednesday, April 29.
'The guards arrived at about 4 a.m. and Martin jumped out of the window and into the fields,' she told this newspaper.
Patrice said the guards failed to find him and after they left, she went out looking for him. She found him after about 20 minutes of 'calling and calling' and brought him back to the garden of the house the couple had been in.
'He said he had a sore hip and asked me to promise I would stand by him.. he said he was going to hand himself in, but if he didn't, would I stand by him?' she said.
'He walked out of the garden smoking a fag and after saying he loved me more than anything else in the world, he vanished,' said Patrice, who was married to Martin on October 18 last year, five days 'before he got locked up'.
The Connors family said they last heard from Martin on the night of Thursday (April 30) when he made a '16 second phone call' to a sister Brigid.
'He told her to tell his mother and father and the lads he was fine and to tell Patrice he loved her,' said Thomas.
'We're at the stage that we don't know if Martin is dead or alive,' said Patrice, appealing to him to get in touch with them.
'He has no money, no fags and hasn't even got a coat on him.. we don't know who is sustaining him,' said Thomas.
He said the gardai believed that the family knew where Martin was, but insisted that this was not the case.
'We want to set up a search party, but we don't know where to search,' said Patrice, 'it's totally out of character for even a day to go past without him speaking to his family.'
A prison service spokesman confirmed that a prisoner 'had absconded and was still at large.' He said the gardai had been notified.