Michael Smith back behind bars after going on the run

“DANGEROUS” murder suspect Michael Lawrence Smith who was on the run for a month after being mistakenly released has been arrested by police.

The 38-year-old, from west Belfast, was last seen on March 7 in the Finaghy area of Belfast.

Despite appeals by a senior detective, Smith refused to return to Maghaberry Prison.

The police said he had been “released erroneously” by the prison service to attend a family event.

The PSNI said Mr Smith was arrested in the Carryduff area on Wednesday.

They thanked the public for their help in apprehending him.

Ronnie Armour, the head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, said: “I welcome news of the arrest and wish to thank colleagues from the PSNI for their efforts in bringing this prisoner back into custody.”

He previously said that the release of Mr Smith was a “very serious mistake”.

Mr Smith is charged with the murder of Stephen Carson, who was shot dead in his Belfast home in front of his partner and nine-year-old son in February 2016.

He had previously applied for bail, but been refused.

The police had said that Mr Smith had “an extensive history of violence” and urged the public not to approach him.

Last week, his cousin Francis Smith had his bail conditions changed as he awaits sentence for possession of a rifle detectives seized as part of the Carson murder investigation.

A court said he was not to have any contact with Michale Smith.

Judge Patricia Smyth told him that if he did have contact with the on-the-run suspect it would be deemed a breach of his bail conditions.

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