Manhunt launched after child killer who strangled and raped fails to return to jail

Manhunt launched after child killer who strangled and raped fails to return to jail

A manhunt has been launched for a convicted child killer who is unlawfully at large after failing to return from prison.

John Clifford, 56, was out on day release from Burren House on the Crumlin Road in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a satellite of Maghaberry Prison.

Officials confirmed that the convicted murderer didn’t return to custody on Sunday evening after an appointment.

Clifford was originally jailed in 1989 for murdering his niece Sue Ellen, reported Belfast Telegraph.

He raped and strangled the eight-year-old before deserting her on a railway line in 1988.

Clifford was freed in 2005 but breached the terms of his probation and was jailed once more in 2007.

He is described as being 5 foot 7 inches tall with green eyes and fair hair. He was last seen using ‘a distinctive three-wheel mobility scooter’.

Inspector Paul Noble said, ‘We have initiated enquiries to locate John Clifford. He is described as being 1.75m tall with green eyes and fair hair.

‘He is of medium build with a fresh complexion.

‘When last seen he was wearing a black beanie style hat, heavy black coat, grey trousers and black dress shoes.

He was last seen using a distinctive three-wheel mobility scooter bearing the registration plate EXZ4974.’

He continued: ‘Members of the public or anyone with information about his whereabouts should contact us immediately on 101.’

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Prison Service said: ‘The Prison Service is investigating the circumstances surrounding the abscondment of John Clifford.

‘At this time we are focused on returning him to custody and we would ask anyone with information to contact the PSNI immediately.’