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‘Missing’ David Black murder suspect back in custody tonight

A man charged in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black, who went missing in November, has been arrested.

Detectives from An Garda Siochana today arrested Damien McLaughlin under a European Arrest Warrant as part of a joint intelligence-led operation with the PSNI.

The 40-year-old is charged with offences in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black.

Mr Black was shot dead near Lurgan as he drove to work at HMP Maghaberry in November 2012.

McLaughlin, from Ardboe, had been due to stand trial last month on charges relating to the murder, including aiding and abetting, but fled while on bail.

It was in December that it was realised that the accused had disappeared.

Appeals via the media, together with the studying of CCTV footage and interviews conducted with family members and associates, had failed to locate him.

But tonight, Thursday, Detective Chief Superintendent Raymond Murray, from PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch, said: “Since his disappearance police have carried out extensive enquiries regarding Mr McLaughlin’s whereabouts.

“Throughout this time the PSNI has been liaising closely with An Garda Siochana and today’s arrests demonstrate the benefits of joint working between police forces and other national partner agencies.

“As part of the operation a 59-year-old man was also arrested in Donegal and a 47-year-old woman was arrested in Belfast. Damien McLaughlin is scheduled to appear at Dublin’s Central Criminal Court tomorrow.”

The man has been taken to Letterkenny police station for questioning and the woman to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite.

Senior detectives contacted the Black family today to update them on developments.

“Detectives involved in the case spoke with Mrs Black to inform her of Damien McLaughlin’s arrest,” added Detective Chief Superintendent Murray.

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