Convicted killer found

The worldwide hunt for one of Britain’s most wanted criminals, who reportedly based himself in County Roscommon for a considerable period of time some years ago, has ended with his arrest in Holland.     In a statement issued on Monday, Dutch police said they have found and arrested James Hurley, who escaped from British custody thirteen years ago after being convicted of the murder of an off-duty Police Officer.    At the time of his escape, English detectives believed that Hurley fled to Ireland and hid in Roscommon. His details were passed to local Gardaí and an appeal was issued in 2004, along with a digitally aged picture of Mr. Hurley and the offer of a reward of €10,000.    There was some speculation that the convicted murderer may have spent some time living in the Mote Park area near Roscommon town in the 1990’s.    James Hurley was convicted along with two other men of robbery and murder for killing off-duty police constable Francis Mason, who was shot dead while trying to stop them from robbing a security van in Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire in 1988. Hurley had managed to elude an international manhunt since escaping while being transferred between prisons in 1994.   On Monday of this week Dutch police said they arrested Hurley in the Hague on November 9th when investigating a house which had raised suspicions due to its high energy use, sometimes a sign of illegal drugs factories.   Officers expected to find a cannabis farm, but instead found a large quantity of hard drugs. The Dutch public prosecutor will discuss with British authorities whether and when Hurley is to be handed over.   In a statement released by British police this week, Mason’s widow Jill said: "I am really pleased to hear the news that Hurley has been caught. It doesn’t bring Francis back, but Hurley needs to serve time for the crime he committed."