Sunday 21 April 2019

Rapist Eoin Berkeley put in isolation unit after issuing death threats to a prison officer

Eoin Berkeley. Photo: Damien Eagers
Eoin Berkeley. Photo: Damien Eagers

Ken Foy

ONE of Ireland’s most reviled sex offenders has been moved to a special isolation unit after he issued death threats to a prison officer.

Eoin Berkeley (25) is serving a 14-year sentence after he admitted abducting a teenage Spanish student from Dublin city centre and raping her repeatedly over a 21-hour period.

He was put in an isolation unit of the Midlands Prison after he subjected a prison officer to “brutal abuse and serious threats” earlier this week.

Berkeley has been in the Co Laois facility since July 2017 when he was sent there after being charged in relation to the rape, which led to calls for reforms to bail laws.

Prison sources said Berkeley has been disciplined on six separate occasions while inside, but his verbal assault on the prison officer – who had been investigating if he had been involved in a vicious assault on another inmate – has been his most serious breach to date.

“He’s in the isolation unit and will remain there for a number of weeks and he’ll miss out on other privileges as well,” a source said.

There was outrage when it emerged that in the two months before Berkeley raped the student on July 15 and 16, 2017, he had been charged with four separate offences, ranging from criminal damage to public order, and was freed on bail each time.

He was granted bail despite evidence that he had breached his conditions many times.

In one case, he was charged with damaging bins outside a pub in an area of Dublin that a judge had banned him from visiting.

He was also recorded on the garda system as being in the same city centre area at least four times, presenting gardai with further potential opportunities to revoke his bail.

At Dublin Circuit Court last November, Berkeley, of Hampton Wood Way, Finglas, admitted raping the student at the Irish Glass Bottle Company site, Pigeon House Road, on three occasions between July 15 and 16, 2017.

Mr Justice Michael White said the crimes were premeditated and the nature of the rapes was particularly degrading.

The judge said Berkeley’s threats to kill the young woman were “blood-curdling”.

He noted there were 19 separate incidents of violence or threats of violence during her ordeal.

He imposed concurrent sentences of 14 years for each rape offence.

Berkeley was also the chief suspect in a double hammer attack nine years ago that left two women with fractured skulls and holes in their heads.

A young woman who survived the attack in a tower block in Ballymun in 2010 has said gardai identified Berkeley as the chief suspect, but he was never charged in that case.

Berkeley had previously faced criminal damage charges in relation to an incident in which homophobic graffiti and a swastika were daubed on the facade of The George, a well known gay bar in Dublin city centre, on May 20, 2017, but he was later cleared of this.

Herald

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