Man­hunt fury: Why were we kept in the dark over mur­derer?

Found in Lon­don... but com­mu­nity tells of day of fear af­ter killer absconds from se­cure unit, then hands him­self in to po­lice


THE killer who ab­sconded from a se­cure unit in Llan­fair­fechan and sparked a 24-hour na­tion­wide man­hunt handed him­self in.

Po­lice forces around the UK were on alert to find Richard Den­nick - who had been liv­ing in the Bryn y Neuadd unit un­til he failed to re­turn there on Tues­day.

He is un­der­stood to have gone out from the unit on his own at around 11.30am on Mon­day, and when he did not re­turn at 12.30pm the alarm was raised.

In the ini­tial hours af­ter his dis­ap­pear­ance a he­li­copter was scram­bled and po­lice of­fi­cers equipped with dogs scoured the sur­round­ing area.

Po­lice pub­licly re­vealed on Tues­day af­ter­noon that the man they were hunt­ing was a mur­derer who bru­tally slaugh­tered a Llan­beris priest in 1982, but the ad­mis­sion came more than 24 hours af­ter he went miss­ing.

Prior to that, of­fi­cers lead­ing the mas­sive man­hunt had only stated that the man who was liv­ing at Bryn y Neuadd un­der the name of Richard Bracken was some­one for whose safety they were con­cerned.

It emerged at 6.30pm on Tues­day night that Den­nick - who was branded ‘evil’ by the judge who jailed him in 1983 - had been ap­pre­hended by po­lice in Lon­don, more than 260 miles from the Llan­fair­fechan unit in which he’d been stay­ing.

Den­nick, 48, handed him­self in to of­fi­cers. No in­for­ma­tion has been re­leased as to where he he was found, or where he is cur­rently be­ing de­tained.

Yesterday (Wed­nes­day), both the Betsi Cad­wal­adr health board and North Wales Po­lice were fac­ing ques­tions as to why Den­nick was al­lowed out of the unit un­su­per­vised, and why it took po­lice so long to is­sue a warn­ing that he may pose a risk to the public.

A Betsi Cad­wal­adr spokesman said on Tues­day night: ““Any de­ci­sion to al­low com­mu­nity leave is only taken af­ter a full risk as­sess­ment by med­i­cal staff and with the con­sent of Min­istry of Jus­tice of­fi­cials un­der del­e­gated au­thor­ity.”

A Min­istry of Jus­tice spokesman said: “We recog­nise that com­mu­nity leave can and does play an im­por­tant part in a pa­tient’s treat­ment. How­ever, of­fi­cials will give per­mis­sion for com­mu­nity leave only af­ter a ro­bust risk as­sess­ment, in­clud­ing re­view­ing the pa­tient’s of­fend­ing history and progress and en­sur­ing that the clin­i­cian rec­om­mend­ing leave has com­pre­hen­sively ad­dressed all known risks.

“If leave would ex­pose com­mu­ni­ties or known vic­tims to risk, per­mis­sion will be de­nied.

“Of­fi­cials will grant per­mis­sion for unescorted leave only once the pa­tient has com­pleted a pe­riod of es­corted leave with­out ma­jor con­cern or in­ci­dent.”

Speak­ing be­fore Den­nick was found, North Wales Po­lice De­tec­tive Su­per­in­ten­dent Mark Pierce, who lead the search, said: “It is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly ur­gent for us to find Richard Bracken, a con­victed mur­derer, who with­out his nor­mal med­i­ca­tion is at risk of be­com­ing more un­pre­dictable.

“With­out ac­cess to med­i­ca­tion and health care sup­port, Richard Bracken is be­lieved to pose a po­ten­tial risk to him­self and oth­ers. Our in­ten­tion is to alert peo­ple to the sit­u­a­tion and not to cause un­due alarm.”

Den­nick was jailed for life in 1983 for the mur­der of Canon Jones.

The 64-year-old cler­gy­man al­lowed young­sters into his home to meet and play snooker. Den­nick, who was 15 at the time and was stay­ing with an aunt in Llan­beris, went to the house to play snooker and rob the cleric for money to run away to Lon­don.

He had only met the vicar the day be­fore he killed him, and he and a friend at­tacked him with a bro­ken bil­liard cue, a heavy me­tal or­na­ment and a knife. Den­nick struck him with such vi­o­lence that the or­na­ment was twisted out of shape. He then stabbed the vicar in the head, col­lar­bone, arm and heart.

Ar­rested later, he claimed the cleric had made sug­ges­tive com­ments and he wanted re­venge. The judge, Mr Jus­tice Mars-Jones, de­scribed Den­nick as “evil”.

Den­nick es­caped from Lewes prison in Sus­sex in Septem­ber 1989, and was on the run for six months. He was later “found” in Worm­wood Scrubs un­der the false name of Jason Ward.

It is un­der­stood he was then sent back to a Cat­e­gory A prison to serve out the rest of his life sen­tence, but was said to have be­come more and more with­drawn and was later taken to a se­cure hos­pi­tal for treat­ment.

How long Den­nick has been at Bryn y Neuadd is un­clear, but it is known that he made reg­u­lar trips into the vil­lage and lo­cal shops.

But noth­ing of his as­sumed iden­tity was known, let alone the de­tails of his mur­der­ous past.

Carol Grif­fiths, who works at the Spar in Llan­fair­fechan, said be­fore news of Den­nick’s true iden­tity broke: “I know him from com­ing into the shop, I’ve served him a few times and he’s al­ways very friendly.”

She added: “I’m not wor­ried he is miss­ing from the se­cure unit, I’m more con­cerned about his wel­fare.

“You get to know cus­tomers when they come in, and he seems OK. It hasn’t made me feel less safe walk­ing to work at seven in the morn­ing like I usu­ally do.”

‘Un­pre­dictable’: Richard Den­nick, 48, who mur­dered a canon in 1982, sparked a huge search af­ter ab­scond­ing from a se­cure unit in Llan­fair­fechan

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.