Irish News

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Violent thug given punchbag in cell to curb aggression

Officers wear riot gear before approaching

Conor Feehan

Published 15/01/2014 | 10:26

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Leon Wright

THIS is vicious thug Leon Wright who has been given his own punchbag in prison in an effort to reduce his violent aggression.

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But despite the special treatment, prison officers have to don riot gear before opening his cell door because he flies into a rage so quickly.

Wright (25), from St Theresa's Gardens in Dublin 8, is currently waiting sentence for attacking a group of people on Grafton Street with a knife and trying to rob them last April.

He has a history of violence towards people, and was once dubbed Ireland's most dangerous prisoner because of the frequency with which he would cause trouble behind bars.

He first entered the prison system in October 2005 and spent time in the punishment section of Portlaoise Prison after he broke a prison officer's nose and injured another officer in an unprovoked attack in Wheatfield prison.

He was jailed for 10 years in 2007 for a litany of violent crimes including robbery, hijacking, assault and threatening to kill gardai.

He was out on bail when he attacked a group of people on Grafton Street last April

A 31-year-old man was stabbed in the chest, another male (35) was stabbed in the back, and a 22-year-old woman also suffered minor injuries.

Wright pleaded guilty to attempted robbery last month, and will be sentenced in May.

"A leopard never changes its spots, and Leon Wright is still extremely violent," said one prison source.

EDUCATIONAL

"He has been given a DVD player for educational reasons, and a punchbag to help him deal with his aggression, but every time the prison officers open the door to his cell there's three or four of them standing outside in riot gear just in case," the source added.

"He keeps attacking the officers. He gets shipped around the different jails he's so dangerous."

Wright has amassed more than 79 criminal convictions, and jail sources said he is the most violent prisoner that they have ever come across -- even worse than notorious criminal Leroy Dumbrell (25) whose return to Mountjoy Prison in August 2010 sparked a wildcat strike by prison officers.

While Dumbrell received over 75 "P19" reports from the prison authorities while serving an eight-year sentence, Wright had almost 100 more.

These reports are issued when disciplinary action is taken against an inmate for serious misbehaviour.

These included 22 incidents where he assaulted prison officers, as well as 23 occasions where he verbally threatened staff in prison. He has also been in fights with other prisoners and has damaged prison property and has been caught with prohibited articles

cfeehan@herald.ie

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