Thursday 18 January 2018

Young criminal 'prevented officers getting involved' as 'Mr Big' crony is beaten in cell attack

Mountjoy Prison in Dublin
Mountjoy Prison in Dublin

Robin Schiller

A CLOSE associate of the notorious drug trafficker ‘Mr Big’ required medical attention after being assaulted in prison by a young Dublin criminal.

Paul Norton (28) was attacked in his cell in Mountjoy by the young thug in what sources say is a turf dispute within the prison.

Sean Quinn (21), from Blanchardstown, and Leon Cullen (21), from Coolock carried out the assault on Sunday, August 28 while their target was in his cell.

It is understood that Quinn attacked Norton while his accomplice stood watch outside the cell, and prevented prison officers from separating the criminals. Officials eventually managed to pull the two men apart, but not before Norton received injuries from multiple punches and kicks.

It is not believed that any weapons were used during the assault. Norton was tended to by a medic for head injuries but he did not require hospital treatment following the attack.

A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said that they do not comment on individual cases.

Sources have said that the associate of Mr Big became involved in a dispute over control of a particular wing within the prison which led to the attack from the young criminals.

Two days after the attack, Quinn was transferred to Wheatfield Prison, and has since been moved to Castlerea Prison in the Midlands. It is not known if his transfer is directly related to his role in the attack.

He is currently serving a five-year jail sentence for assault causing harm, while Cullen is serving over four years for endangerment.

Last year, Norton was sentenced to seven years imprisonment, with two years suspended, for his role in a failed cash-in-transit robbery at Northside Shopping Centre in June 2012.

He was the getaway driver on a motorbike when an associate grabbed a box containing €30,000 from a security worker before fleeing the scene.

However, he was tackled by a security worker and he abandoned the box. Norton then attempted to flee the scene on the bike and, following a short pursuit by gardai, was thrown from his bike after swerving to avoid a JCB.

During the trial, Judge Patrick McCartan asked if Norton was a regular “wheelman” or getaway driver, noting that he has 71 previous convictions for road traffic matters and two for robbery and attempted robbery.

The judge also noted that several of Norton’s convictions were for having false number plates on his vehicle. “A very serious picture emerges from his record,” the judge said.

His first trial did not go ahead as he was shot in the leg the night before. His second trial was adjourned after a car crashed into a taxi carrying Norton. He entered a guilty plea on a third trial date.

The ruthless drug gang operated by Mr Big are suspected of involvement in a number of murders, including that of Vinnie Ryan in February.


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