A SOUTHAMPTON murderer is unlawfully at large from a prison in Northern Ireland.

Samuel McKinley, 56, stabbed a friend to death in Southampton in 1996 and was jailed for life at Winchester Crown Court.

McKinley also has convictions for resisting police, theft and being unlawfully at large since January 19.

He is the father of Jonathan and Samuel McKinley who were both jailed for life for the murder of Choudhry Zishan, 35, in March 2014.

The newsagent was going to work in Eastleigh when he was killed in "a savage drunken beating" in the street. The McKinleys stole money from him and spent it on more alcohol.

Both men, now aged 26 and 28, were jailed at Winchester Crown Court in December 2014 and told they would serve a minimum of 28 years in prison.

In January 1996 their father, then aged 35 and unemployed, of Howard Road, Shirley, stabbed a man, Robin Stoddart, better known as Johnny Rivers, 40, at a flat in Onslow Road, St Mary's.

It's understood this is the fourth time McKinley senior has gone missing from prison having been unlawfully at large for a long period in 2014 before being recaptured in 2015.

He went missing at the time his sons for convicted of the murder although at the time the police in Northern Ireland said they did not think it was linked.

According to the Department of Justice website, McKinley's release type is listed as "licence revoked".

He is described as being of heavy build, 1.78m in height, with blue eyes and black hair. McKinley has several tattoos including an Ulster flag on his right upper arm and flowers, a scroll saying mum, dad and Jen on his left hand.

McKinley is one of two inmates who have convictions for murder who are listed as being 'unlawfully at large' from Maghaberry Prison. Thomas Lawrence McCabe, 53, is also missing since January 19.