Boat patrols attempt to seal marine borders as fugitives remain at large
Marine police are stopping and searching fishing boats amid fears that three escaped prisoners could attempt to flee the island.
A manhunt involving more than 30 officers, including the air operations unit, canine teams and armed support units had failed to locate the three prisoners by press-time on Monday.
Investigators believe the three men – convicted killer Steve Manderson, 44, his son Marcus Manderson, 25, and 22-year-old Jamaican national Chadwick Dale – are still on the island at this stage.
They are calling on boat owners to check their vessels and to report thefts immediately, in case the men try to make it to Jamaica or another neighbouring country on a stolen boat.
Search teams have visited the homes of families and friends of the three fugitives and are also focusing their attention on derelict buildings, unused homes and trailers, including empty temporary relief housing used after Hurricane Ivan.
Detective Chief Inspector Malcolm Kay issued a fresh appeal on Monday for the public to report any sightings of the three men to 911.
He said, “Obviously these three individuals are on the run. They are going to need shelter, food, water and clothing.
“Anyone that does see any suspicious activity around abandoned homes trailers, containers or any apartments or buildings that are unused, I would encourage them to come forward and contact us.”
The three men broke out of a secure recreation area at HMP Northward on Wednesday evening. According to prison officials, they cut through two fences to escape.
Canine units were able to pick up the scent of the convicts outside the prison, but the trail quickly went cold, either because of the heavy rain that fell on Wednesday or because the three men were picked up by a vehicle.
Mr. Kay said anyone found to have helped or harboured the escapees would face prosecution.
Steve Manderson, who has escaped on five previous occasions, is in the 20th year of a life sentence for the murder of a prison guard. His son Marcus was jailed for 10 years in April for possession of an unlicensed firearm. Chadwick Dale was sentenced less than a month ago to six years for violent offences, including a beach robbery during which he stabbed a woman with a screwdriver.
Mr. Kay said, “Although all three individuals have been convicted of serious and violent offences, I would like to stress that they are not necessarily a risk to the general public. I would ask that they are not approached and all sightings are reported to 911.”
He said any information, no matter how small, could be valuable to the search team.
“We would like boat owners to check vessels, make sure they are secure, make sure they are where they left them and how they left them.
“If any vessels have been stolen, report those immediately, items stolen from those vessels – fuel tanks, outboard engines, life jackets, flare guns, any sort of safety equipment – we’d be very interested in getting that information as soon as possible.”
He said officers had followed up a number of reported sightings over the weekend.
“The search has involved the air operations unit, the marine unit, which have primary responsibility for border protection, that’s not just people entering but also in situations like this where we suspect the escapees may be trying to get off island by boat, the operational support unit, the criminal investigation department, drugs and serious crime task force, canine department, and we had armed support from the uniformed support group.
“Our information and belief is that they are still on the island. The searches will continue until the three individuals have been recaptured.”
Anyone with information should call police on 911 or call the incident room on 925-7240.
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