Thursday 23 January 2020

Brothers slashed with scalpels in violent gang attack inside Mountjoy prison

Jason Halpin (top) and Gerard Halpin were attacked in Mountjoy Prison
Jason Halpin (top) and Gerard Halpin were attacked in Mountjoy Prison

Ken Foy

Two criminal brothers who previously had close links to the notorious “Westies” gang were brutally attacked by a gang of up to seven inmates in the latest savage assault in Mountjoy Prison.

Jail sources say that a south inner city thug who was involved in the bitter Crumlin/Drimnagh feud may have ordered the sickening attack, in which scalpels and Stanley blades were used on the duo.

The Herald can reveal that the victims of the attack are brothers Jason (45) and Gerard Halpin (42), who are from the Corduff area of Blanchardstown.

It has emerged that Gerard Halpin was pulled into his cell on the D-wing of Mountjoy Prison on Monday afternoon and attacked by the gang.

Gerard’s brother Jason happened to be walking back past the cell from the C3 wing and jumped in to intervene.

He was pulled into the melee and sustained stab wounds to the legs, thigh and back, as well being kicked repeatedly.

There are claims the stabbings were inflicted with scalpels and Stanley blades rather than shivs.

This led to a major search of the wing being undertaken yesterday morning.

The brothers were taken by separate ambulances to the Mater Hospital.

Gerard was back in Mountjoy yesterday and could be seen to have received a large number of stitches to the rear of his head.

Jason remained in the Mater, where he was undergoing surgery yesterday and is expected to remain there for a number of days.

“At one stage there were fears that this could have ended in a fatality – it was one of the worst assaults to happen in the prison in a long time,” a source said last night.

“Gardai have been notified and they, as well as the prison authorities, are carrying out a full investigation.

“This was a complete bloodbath and staff were left genuinely shocked at the amount of blood that these two men lost,” the source added.

It has emerged that jail bosses are probing whether a savage 25-year-old Tallaght criminal, who is serving a lengthy sentence for manslaughter, was involved in the prison carnage.

It is also believed to have been ordered by a career criminal from Cork Street, who was part of a faction during the Crumlin/Drimnagh feud.

The 39-year-old Cork Street thug who is suspected of ordering the attack has spent most of his life in-and-out of jail and – while now serving a sentence for driving without insurance – he has served lengthy sentences for serious crimes such as armed robberies.

“Of course when something like this happens, it leads to an increase in tensions in the jail,” the source said.

“There is nothing at this stage to say it is linked to the Hutch/Kinahan feud and an exact motive for what happened has yet to be established.”

Jason Halpin was jailed for 20 months last November for a botched attempt to rob a pharmacy, which was foiled by an off-duty garda armed with pepper spray.

He pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to rob Lloyds Pharmacy in Castleknock, Dublin, on March 9, 2016.

Everyone in the shop inhaled pepper spray after the off-duty garda pushed Halpin to the ground and used his spray to subdue him, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

The court heard that Jason Halpin was a long-term drug addict who left school at the age of 14 and became addicted to drugs at an early age.

He was on a methadone programme, the court was told.

Jason and his younger brother Gerard have a large number of previous convictions. Gerard is serving a six-and-a-half-year jail sentence for robbery and for breaking into a house and telling the occupant not to scream or he would kill her.

Halpin, of Corduff Grove, Blanchardstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty to the burglary, which occurred on December 19, 2013.

He was also convicted by a jury of robbing a salon and possession of a knife on December 23, 2014.

The court heard that Halpin entered the beauty salon Urban Dolls in Corduff Shopping Centre while wearing latex gloves and armed with a kitchen knife.

He grabbed the owner Sarah White by the neck and put a knife to her back before walking her toward the till.

Halpin was wearing a scarf over his face but a customer, Emma Kelly, recognised him. She lived in the area and had known Halpin all her life.

Halpin ordered Ms White to open the till but Ms Kelly closed it and said, “What the f**k are you at, Gerard?” She told Ms White not to give him any money but Halpin raised the knife above his head and said, “back off, Emma”.

Ms Kelly then picked up a Yankee candle from a display case and smashed it over Halpin’s head.

Halpin, who had 38 previous convictions and a long history of drug abuse, denied the robbery and claimed he had left the house just once that day .

The court also heard evidence of a burglary by Halpin at Castlecurragh Heath, Mulhuddart. He later admitted to gardai that he went out “looking for gear” and rang the bell of a house three times before breaking in.

The court heard he came from a severely dysfunctional family and his childhood home “was not a happy place”.

It is not known if the Halpin brothers will now be transferred out of Mountjoy Prison for their own safety.

The infamous Westies gang imploded in an unprecedented round of blood-letting which resulted in the murders of all its leaders well over a decade ago.

These included Shane Coates and Stephen Sugg, who were murdered in 2004, Sugg’s brother Bernard and crazed criminal brothers Andrew ‘Madser’ Glennon and his older brother Mark.

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