Samuel Tweed, Belfast magistrates' court escapee pleads guilty

A pensioner has pleaded guilty to escaping from Belfast's former magistrates' court almost 40 years ago.

Samuel Tweed, from Mark Street, Newtownards, County Down, still faces a trial in connection with the discovery of a cache of guns and ammunition in the city in April 1974.

The haul was found less than a month before his escape from the Chichester Street courthouse. He denies four charges relating to the find.

He was freed on continuing bail.

But Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland told the 72-year-old that could not be taken as an indication as to how the court would deal with him in respect of the escaping lawful custody charge.

The pensioner pleaded guilty to escaping, at his formal arraignment before Belfast Crown Court on Wednesday, where he also pleaded not guilty to four charges, two each of possessing firearms and ammunition with intent and under suspicious circumstances on 19 April, 1974.

The pensioner was re arrested in September 2012.

His trial for the firearms offences is expected to begin in April.

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