Thursday 14 December 2017

Prisoner arrested after fatal Cork Prison stabbing

Cork prison
Cork prison
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Gardai have arrested a prisoner in connection with the fatal stabbing of an inmate at Cork Prison last Saturday.

The man (30) was arrested in Cork and taken to Mayfield GardaStation for questioning.

He can be questioned for an initial period of 24 hours.

The man had been held in a high-security unit at Cork Prison since the fatal attack last Saturday.

Three separate investigations are currently underway into the fatal attack on Graham Johnson (41) in the kitchen area of Cork Prison at 5pm.

Read More: Stab suspect 'a trustee prisoner'

Mr Johnson suffered a fatal stab wound to his chest, and a slash wound to his throat, before prison staff were able to intervene and separate him from his assailant.

Mr Johnson was subjected to the unprovoked assault after a minor disagreement earlier about a TV remote control.

Tragically, the victim - who was serving a four year sentence for theft - was scheduled to be released in just four weeks having completed his sentence at Cork Prison.

Mr Johnson, who was from Bandon in west Cork, had told prison officials he planned to rebuild his life having received help for a serious gambling problem while in custody.

The attack was immediately stopped by Cork Prison staff but not before Mr Johnson had sustained critical injuries.

No prison officers were injured.

Read More: Graham Johnson (42) who was killed in prison stabbing was scheduled to be released in a matter of weeks

The entire incident lasted only a matter of seconds.

Both prisoners were working near the kitchens as ‘trustee inmates’.

Emergency medical treatment was provided for the injured inmate at the scene.

However, he died before he could be transferred by ambulance to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

Mr Johnson suffered from a significant chest injury as well as major blood loss.

An investigation is now underway into the incident by Gardai, the Irish Prison Service and the Irish Prison Inspectorate.

Forensic experts conducted a detailed technical examination of the scene.

In the interim, special operational measures remained in place at Cork Prison.

A full post mortem examination was carried by the State Pathologist at CUH.

The results were not released by gardai for operational reasons but Mr Johnson is understood to have died from a single deep stab wound to the chest.

Read More: Investigation into how violent inmate got knife used in fatal prison stabbing

The prisoner suspected of involvement in the attack has a history of violence.

He is also a chronic drug addict.

The man is described as being extremely volatile.

A number of other inmates witnessed the fatal attack and were said to be deeply shocked.

Cork is considered one of the safest prisons in the State.

Statements have been taken from the prisoners at the scene and from Cork Prison staff who intervened in the matter.

Mr Johnson was described by prison sources as “a model prisoner” and someone who “wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

He received a prison sentence in November 2011 from Cork Circuit Criminal Court for a series of thefts related to personal gambling problems.

Mr Johnson was a chronic gambler whose addiction issues began when he was aged just 14 years.

He was handed a five year prison term, with the final 12 months suspended, after he pleaded guilty to stealing €19,000 to feed his gambling habit.

Mr Johnson stole €1,620 in cash, €1,500 in gold jewellery and €1,500in cheques from a Mallow goldsmiths in April 2011.He also pleaded guilty to stealing €3,000 in cash and €12,000 from a development firm in west Cork where he was working.

The latter incidents occurred in 2007.

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