Saturday 16 December 2017

'Notorious' convicted murderer threatened to 'rip prison officer's head off'

Jeffrey Dumbrell
Jeffrey Dumbrell

Fiona Ferguson

A “notorious” convicted murderer threatened to rip the head off a prison officer leaving the man fearing for his life, a court has heard.

Jeffrey Dumbrell (35), who is serving a life sentence, was being held in a high security segregation unit at the time but has since moved to a wing with a number of other prisoners and hopes someday to rejoin the general prison population.

Dumbrell, formerly of Emmet Road, Inchicore, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to making threats to kill a prison officer at Wheatfield Prison on December 10, 2014.

He has 10 previous convictions including murder, assault and larceny.

Judge Karen O'Connor adjourned sentencing until tomorrow.

Garda Stephen Cullen told Ronan Kennedy BL, prosecuting, that the prison officer was in an office in the segregation unit when Dumbrell stormed in. Dumbrell tried to pick up a chair but was prevented from doing so and was very aggressive towards the prison officer.

He told the man: “If you ever get smart with me through the gate, I will rip your f**king head off.”

The incident lasted about one minute before Dumbrell left the office.

The following day there was another verbal exchange after the prison officer noticed Dumbrell pacing in the recreation area in an agitated state.

The prison officer said he would take any threats from Dumbrell very seriously. He said he felt stressed and was looking over his shoulder ever since. He felt his life was in danger.

The court heard the prison officer did not wish to attend court or complete a victim impact statement.

Gda Cullen agreed with John Berry BL, defending, that Dumbrell was a “notorious prisoner.” He agreed that until recently Dumbrell and one other prisoner had been held in an “extra high security unit” manned by a group of dedicated prison officers in Wheatfield Prison.

He agreed that in the time since this incident Dumbrell had been offered a path to a more “relaxed” regime and he was now in a closely controlled and monitored wing with up to eight other prisoners with a view to maybe someday rejoining the general prison population.

Mr Berry said he was instructed that the guilty plea was motivated by remorse and Dumbrell's desire to show he was capable of change. He submitted that Dumbrell had shown signs of progress.

He said his client had for a long time been in something akin to solitary confinement but now found that by co-operating with the prison authorities he was in a far better situation and hoped his high security status would be reduced in the years ahead.

Mr Berry noted Dumbrell would come before the sentence review group at seven year intervals and said he wanted to start putting in place the building blocks of a better future.

He asked the court to structure a sentence to show Dumbrell that what he had done was worthy of commendation and that his current path was far more advantageous to him.

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