Thursday 23 May 2019

Female nurse hospitalised after violent attack by prison inmate

  • Victim hospitalised after being hit in head and face
  • Union anger at surge in assaults on staff in prisons
A prison inmate viciously assaulted and hospitalised a female nurse in a suspected premeditated attack. Stock photo: PA
A prison inmate viciously assaulted and hospitalised a female nurse in a suspected premeditated attack. Stock photo: PA
Robin Schiller

Robin Schiller

A prison inmate viciously assaulted and hospitalised a female nurse in a suspected premeditated attack.

Prison officials believe a seizure was staged and are now probing if the assault was pre-planned and may have been racially motivated.

The female nurse, who is understood to be from Africa, was punched in the face and head after coming to the prisoner's aid.

She was brought to Tallaght Hospital with head injuries and was treated overnight.

The attack, by an inmate who was being treated after claiming they were suffering from a fit, took place in Cloverhill Prison, Dublin, on Sunday.

Sources told Independent.ie medical staff were alerted after the prisoner went into an apparent epileptic fit.

The female nurse was treating the inmate and attempting to carry out standard medical checks when he jumped up and attacked her.

"When the nurse officer went to assist him and take his vitals, he jumped up and began punching her. He was very aggressive and it was a violent assault.

"It seems to be the case that it was a planned assault and that the inmate was faking illness," the source said.

"The Irish Prison Service can confirm an assault was made in Cloverhill Prison and this incident has been referred to An Garda Síochána," a spokesman told the Irish Independent.

"The Irish Prison Service is also carrying out an internal investigation into the allegation."

The inmate involved in the incident cannot be identified for legal reasons as he is being held in Cloverhill on remand.

The union representing prison staff has also expressed concerns. Jim Mitchell, deputy general secretary of the Prison Officers' Association, raised concerns of the assault possibly being racially motivated.

"That a prisoner would pick on a healthcare professional who was trying to assist him is very worrying, and it seems to have been completely premeditated and there appears to have been a racist element to it, which again is worrying given the diversity of our own members," he said.

Last year, a report into the prison service highlighted how attacks on staff by inmates had increased in recent years. It found assaults by prisoners had risen for a third consecutive year, with 104 incidents compared to 98 and 91 from the previous two years.

Irish Independent

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