On-the-run child killer John Clifford spotted at Belfast train station
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On-the-run child killer John Clifford spotted at Belfast train station

POLICE hunting a child killer who failed to return to prison believe he boarded a train in Belfast.

The PSNI have also revealed they have recovered the mobility scooter John Clifford had been using at the time of his disappearance.

Clifford, 56, was allowed out of Maghaberry Prison on Sunday to attend an appointment but failed to return that evening.

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 deserted railway line.

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Detective Inspector Michael McDonnell of the PSNI said Clifford is believed to have boarded a train in Belfast on the day he disappeared.

“I would like to thank those members of the public who have contacted us with information,” he said.

“We have located the distinctive mobility scooter John was using and, through the course of our enquiries, believe that he boarded a train at 13.05 at Lanyon Place train station (formerly known as Central Station) on Sunday, September 2.

"He was wearing a dark-coloured beanie-style hat, with glasses and a dark heavy coat and was carrying a dark-coloured backpack.

“He is 1.75m tall with green eyes and fair hair. He is of medium build with a fresh complexion.

"I would again appeal to anyone who may have seen him, or who may have information about his whereabouts to contact us immediately on 101.

“I would also appeal directly to John to hand himself in.”

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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.