Saturday 21 April 2018

Female warden 'bound with sticking tape to chair' by laughing inmates at 'crisis-hit' jail

Stock image
Stock image

Ciaran Barnes

A female prison officer was tied to a chair with sticking tape by laughing prisoners during a frightening assault at the crisis-hit Maghaberry jail, in Northern Ireland.

A number of prisoners were moved to different parts of the high-security complex following the violent prank at Shimna House earlier this month.

A Department of Justice spokesman said: “Following an incident in Maghaberry a review was carried out which resulted in a number of prisoners being relocated to other areas of the general population.”

Details about the assault emerged just days after a second inmate at Maghaberry took his own life in as many weeks.

The body of convicted murderer Barry Cavan, who was serving a minimum 13-year-sentence for stabbing to death Belfast man Dee Corr, was found on Tuesday.

His suicide occurred two weeks after that of Lisburn based killer Gerard Mulligan (44) who was on remand for beating his father Gerard Snr to death with a breeze block.

Maghaberry insiders have told Sunday Life that relations between wardens, bosses and inmates at the jail are at “breaking point”.

“The staff feel as if they are being made scapegoats for these recent suicides,” said a source.

“The fact of the matter is that the jail is seriously under-resourced and prison officers are having to do twice the work for half the pay.

“That’s why we’ve had these suicides. They are sadly an inevitable result of years of operating on shoestring budget.”

Our source pointed to the sellotaping of a female prison officer to a chair as proof of just how vulnerable officers are feeling.

The insider added: “The gang involved in the sellotape assault should be brought before a court, not simply transferred to other wings at Maghaberry.

“The female officer was terrified, she feared for her life.”

Adding to Justice Minister Claire Sugden’s problems is claims from within Maghaberry that a number of new prison officer recruits have been let go after it emerged they had links to dissident republicans.

“The vetting process is ridiculous, these associations should have been picked up long before the recruits were offered jobs,” added our source.

There are approximately 20 dissidents caged on the Roe House republican wing of Maghaberry.

Some of the prisoners belong to terror gang the New IRA which murdered prison officer Adrian Ismay last March in a booby-trap car bomb attack.

In 2012 the same group shot dead veteran warden David Black as he drove along the M1 motorway to work at Maghaberry.

Belfast Telegraph

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