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Former Mountjoy prisoner found not guilty of murdering inmate

A former Mountjoy inmate has walked free from court after being acquitted by unanimous verdict of murdering another inmate in the jail almost four years ago.

Declan O'Reilly, of Parnell Road in Crumlin, Dublin, broke down in tears as the jury returned the not guilty verdict, at the Central Criminal Court yesterday.

He had denied murdering Derek Glennon in Mountjoy in June 2007.

The 24-year-old died after being stabbed through the heart. He was also stabbed in the lung, stomach and arm.

During the three-day trial, the jury had viewed CCTV footage of the fight between O'Reilly and Glennon. It showed the two engaged in a sudden and brief struggle, before prison staff arrive on the scene.

O'Reilly later told gardai that Glennon had been bullying him for months, forcing him to hide syringes, drugs and mobile phones, punching him and threatening to have his brother shot.

On the evening of June 25, 2007, O'Reilly said he went to Glennon's cell to ask him to take back a knife he had been hiding on his behalf. He said Glennon became angry and said "get the f**k away from me. I'm going to cut your throat".

The two then walked towards the yard where O'Reilly said he thought Glennon was going to cut him. O'Reilly told gardai he felt he had to "get" Glennon before he got him.

The prosecution urged the jury not to overlook Glennon's right to life.

"You owe it to Derek Glennon, unattractive as he may be, out of respect to his right to life, to examine very carefully the claims made by the accused man" Anthony Sammon, for the prosecution, told them.

But O'Reilly's defence lawyer, Paul McDermott, asked the jury to consider that O'Reilly was in jail on road traffic offences, and would have finished his sentence in a year.

"Where's the gain in putting yourself in the way of a life sentence for murder when you know you'll be out in July 2008 ... what set of circumstances removed that logic?" he asked.

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The jury had been given the option of a manslaughter verdict. The five men and seven women unanimously agreed he was not guilty.

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