Friday 23 March 2018

Man charged with murder of inmate as he worked in prison kitchen

Cork Prison where the killing happened
Cork Prison where the killing happened
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A YOUNG man has been charged with the murder of a 41 year old Cork Prison inmate.

Brian Veale (31) was charged with the murder of Graham Johnson (41) who was fatally stabbed while working in the Cork Prison kitchens on May 16 last.

Veale of Dominic Street, Shandon, Cork and Dungarvan, Co Waterford appeared before Judge Con O'Leary in Cork District Court.

Det Garda Eimear Brennan gave evidence of the arrest, caution and charge of Mr Veale.

The court was told that the defendant made no reply when formally charged with the murder.

Judge O'Leary said the issue of bail does not arise as the High Court, by regulation, can only deal with bail applications in murder cases.

He remanded Mr Veale to the current sessions of the Central Criminal Court after the book of evidence was served on the defendant.

Free legal aid was granted after solicitor Eddie Burke confirmed his client was not working and had no major assets.

Mr Johnson died after suffering a stab wound to the chest shortly before 5pm on May 16 as he was working in the kitchens of the Rathmore Road facility.

Tragically, the victim - who was serving a four year sentence for theft - was scheduled to be released just four weeks later having completed his sentence at Cork Prison.

Mr Johnson, who was from Bandon in west Cork, had told prison officials he planned to rebuild his life having received help for a serious gambling problem while in custody.

Mr Johnson died in Cork Prison before he could be transferred by ambulance to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Investigations into the incident were launched by Gardai, the Irish Prison Service and the Irish Prison Inspectorate.

Mr Johnson received a prison sentence in November 2011 from Cork Circuit Criminal Court for a series of thefts related to personal gambling problems.

He was a chronic gambler whose addiction issues began when he was aged just 14 years.

He was handed a five year prison term, with the final 12 months suspended, after he pleaded guilty to stealing €19,000 to feed his gambling habit.

Mr Johnson stole €1,620 in cash, €1,500 in gold jewellery and €1,500 in cheques from a Mallow goldsmith in April 2011.

He also pleaded guilty to stealing €3,000 in cash and €12,000 from a development firm in west Cork where he was working.

The latter incidents occurred in 2007.

Mr Veale, who appeared in court wearing a track suit, did not speak during the brief hearing.

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