A Belfast man serving a life sentence for murder has absconded while on day release, having previously absconded on a number of occasions.

Samuel McKinley, 57 and originally from the Shankill, was convicted over the murder of a man in Southampton in 1996.

He absconded from unescorted day release from Maghaberry Prison, near Lisburn, on Thursday and police are working to find him.

PSNI Inspector McLean said McKinley, who has connections to east Belfast and the Ards/Ards peninsula area is around 5ft 10ins tall and of heavy build with a fresh complexion.

Since 2002, Samuel McKinley has absconded from day release or breached his pre-release/licence conditions on a number of occasions.


A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Prison Service said: “Mr McKinley had been returned to custody in February of this year following the revocation of his licence.

“Since his return to custody, Mr McKinley has been granted four previous periods of temporary release, in response to recommendations from the Parole Commissioners.

“The Northern Ireland Prison Service are working with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to return this prisoner to lawful custody.”

The spokesperson added: “The Prison Service cannot hold people indefinitely and pre-release testing is a vital component in preparing prisoners for release back into society.”