PICTURE EXCLUSIVE: THIS is the moment when a suspect in the murder of a prisoner officer in the North was arrested in Co Donegal yesterday afternoon

Armed officers swooped on Damien McLaughlin in the picture-postcard village of Ramelton just after 3 pm.

Officers blocked a bridge as the 40 year old made his way to Letterkenny.

McLaughlin, the only person charged in relation to the November 2012 motorway murder of Prison officer David Black, had failed to return to Maghaberry Prison.

He had been bailed ahead of his trial where he faces four charges linked to the vicious murder of Mr Black, 52.

However, in what is believed to haver been an intelligence-led operation, McLaughlin was arrested.

He is to face Dublin’s Special Criminal Court today on foot of a European Arrest Warrant issued by the PSNI

The PSNI confirmed that detectives from An Garda Siochana arrested McLaughlin under a European Arrest Warrant as part of a joint intelligence-led operation with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

A statement said the 40 year old is charged with offences in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black.

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 59 year old man has been taken to Letterkenny police station for questioning and a 47 year old woman has been taken to Musgrave Serious Crime Suite for questioning.”

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.

McLaughlin was later arrested over the killing, claimed by but managed to abscond in November 2016 whilst out on bail.

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