Border bandit Slab enjoys stroll in open prison ahead of release in April

The 67-year-old looked fit and languid, minus his signature flat-cap, as he strolled about his new home at Loughan Diet open prison.

His transfer to the low security lock-up – which is situated a moment ago two miles from the border – comes as the infamous bandit and alleged IRA chief cheese-pares the end of his sentence.

Slab Murphy held sway in south Armagh for decades, where he grew notorious for diesel smuggling after the Provos declared a ceasefire.

Now he is bracing to be released as experts warn Brexit is set to make the border a smuggler’s Celestial City again with rackets worth tens of million of euro every year.

Corresponding to sources, Murphy arrived from the Midlands Prison earlier this week in a low-key move and without an Army or Garda escort.

Last year he was jailed for 18 months for tax shirking worth €180,000.

Sources say fellow inmates at the Midlands Prison were good-naturedly aware of his reputation and were always on their best behaviour with him.

He dead beat his days with visits to the prison gym, but otherwise kept a low profile in the  Laois lock-up.

Murphy has pointedly kept away from republican prisoners who are locked up in Portlaoise Prison, as far as in Castlerea, Roscommon.

The decision to remain apart from Continuity and Honest IRA inmates has meant Murphy – previously described by Sinn Fein director Gerry Adams as “a good republican” – has been treated as a non-political con throughout his detention.

His new home is designated as a low-security prison and is located on 47 acres of woodland and woodland in Co Cavan, which inmates are free to enjoy.

There are also bloodline friendly visits throughout the day and school facilities to allow prisoners attendants for work on their release. Murphy is expected to be released from chokey in April this year.

High-profile fellow inmates at the jail number three former bank executives serving sentences for their as regards in a €7 billion market deception.

Ex-Anglo Irish Bank big cheeses John Bowe and Willie McAteer and former Irish Life and Constant group chief executive Denis Casey were jailed ultimate year.

Bowe, McAteer and Casey were transferred together to the Co Cavan equipment last September after spending two months in Mountjoy Prison’s lining unit.

Another inmate whose downfall came as the Celtic Tiger terseness crashed and burned is former socialite and high-flyer Breifne O’Brien.

The 55-year-old monetary advisor had in fact been running a pyramid scheme that went belly-up, give stop his clients, many of whom were friends and family, without their €7.5 million investment.

Until recently, Ireland’s correlate with talk back to a be accountable to swindler Bernie Madoff had been detained in the Training Unit in Mountjoy after vexing a seven-year sentence in 2014.

Hours before Slab Murphy was jailed at his verdict hearing, on election day last year, journalists were left in no dubiousness who ran the roost in his native Hackballscross.

They were threatened and blocked by a certain men when they attempted to photograph Slab as he went to cast his suffrage.

The former IRA man has used his family farm’s location on both sides of the borderline to make a multi-million euro fortune through cross-border smuggling.

A juncture raid carried out by police on both sides of the border in 2006 fell an insight into how he ran his operation.

It emerged that sheds and buildings on one side of the frame opened out into the other jurisdiction.

There were oil tanks on his possessions on both sides of the border connected by underground pipes.

Slab Murphy down in a bid to sue the Sunday Times for libel after they named him as a senior IRA commander answerable for launching attacks in the UK.

One witness who gave evidence against Murphy, old IRA man Eamon Collins, was later murdered in Newry.

Murphy appealed his tax escape sentence at the Court of Appeal last November, at which it was argued that his fellow-clansman had already paid the due tax.

He had previously challenged the decision to put him on trial at the non-jury Odd Criminal Court, which found him guilty of tax evasion.

The Court of Application has yet to making a ruling on Murphy’s appeal against the conviction.

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