Sunday 22 July 2018

How Garda Henry was caught: Suspicion aroused after 980 searches on Pulse computer

  • Garda who leaked information to gang jailed for 18 months
  • First case of its kind before the courts
Former Garda Jimell Henry, arrives at Sligo district court. Photo: Damien Eagers
Former Garda Jimell Henry, arrives at Sligo district court. Photo: Damien Eagers

Andrew Phelan

The net closed in on garda Jimell Henry after suspicions were aroused by the hundreds of searches about Sligo cases she entered on the Garda Pulse computer system.

Henry was working in Dublin stations and had no reason to carry out the enquiries, prompting an investigation that culminated in her arrest after gardaí staked out a suspected drug deal.

Gardaí found the 'scrote" or 'gouger' phone that she had used to pass information to two major figures in Sligo's criminal underworld - 'The Pharmacy' and 'The Child'.

The 36-year-old accessed the Garda Pulse system from her base in Dublin and passed operational details on to crime contacts in Sligo. A court heard she had become compromised by a drug habit and got involved with people from the "other side of the tracks" when she carried out the offences over a five-month period.

In what was described as the first case of its kind to come before the courts, Henry was yesterday sentenced to three years in prison, with the final 18 months suspended.

Judge Keenan Johnson, who said it was a "deplorable action, undertaken with pre-meditation and planning" handed down the sentence at Sligo Circuit Court.

Former Garda Jimell Henry, pictured arriving at Sligo District Court. Photo: Damien Eagers
Former Garda Jimell Henry, pictured arriving at Sligo District Court. Photo: Damien Eagers

Sligo Circuit Court heard the details of how Henry was caught and prosecuted.

In late 2014, local gardaí became concerned "certain confidential information" was coming into the possession of an organised criminal gang.

Officers were concerned this information was being used by those criminals to target a rival gang. The two gangs were involved at the time in a "tit-for-tat" feud and it became clear the information was being leaked by someone "within An Garda Síochána".

The investigation found records about Sligo on the Garda Pulse computer system were being routinely accessed by Henry, who was stationed in Ballymun. In one two-week period, she made 980 enquiries on Pulse, 73pc of which related to Sligo cases, for which she had no responsibility.

On January 1, 2015, Henry contacted Detective Garda Peter Cawley in Sligo to express concerns about "the release of confidential information on social media". On January 10, a surveillance operation was put in place and on January 16, gardaí got confidential information on a potential drugs transaction involving the accused at an underground car park in Ballisodare. Gardaí staked out the scene and both Henry's car and a black Volkswagen Passat driven by The Pharmacy went in.

Gardaí witnessed "an interaction" between the pair before arresting Henry.

Two mobile phones were retrieved from her car and she provided pin numbers.

In the boot of her car, there were 11 printouts from the Garda Pulse system.

A follow-up search of Henry's home uncovered drugs in her bedroom.

The first phone was for personal use and had nothing on it of evidential value, while the second, she admitted, was her burner phone that she called her "scrote" or "gouger" phone.

Garda Superintendent Jim Delaney said the investigation was complicated, complex and unprecedented.

And it confirmed that requests were made by the criminals and answers given by text.

Irish Independent

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