A MANHUNT has been launched in Northern Ireland after a convicted child killer vanished while on day release from prison.
John Clifford, 56, was allowed out of Maghaberry Prison on Sunday to attend an appointment but failed to return that evening.
He was last seen using a three-wheel mobility scooter with registration EXZ 4974.
The fugitive was originally jailed in 1989 for the murder of his young niece Sue Ellen a year earlier.
He raped and strangled the eight-year-old before leaving her for dead on a a deserted railway line.
According to the Northern Ireland Prison Service website, Clifford has been convicted of a number of offences including murder, cruelty to children and indecent assault.
The Belfast native was reportedly released from prison in 2005 before being jailed again in 2007 for breaching the terms of his probation.
The PSNI have urged anyone who may have spotted Clifford to contact them immediately.
In a statement, Inspector Paul Noble said: "We have initiated enquiries to locate John Clifford.
"He is described as being 1.75m tall with green eyes and fair hair. He is of medium build with a fresh complexion.
"When last seen he was wearing a black beanie style hat, heavy black coat, grey trousers and black dress shoes.
"He was last seen using a distinctive three-wheel mobility scooter bearing the registration plate EXZ 4974.
"Members of the public or anyone with information about Clifford's whereabouts should contact us immediately on 101."
The Northern Ireland Prison Service said it was investigating the abscondment.
It added: "At this time we are focused on returning him to custody and we would ask anyone with information to contact the PSNI immediately."