Killer slashed prisoner's face with 'shiv'

Sonya McLean

A CONVICTED killer who left a fellow remand prisoner spitting blood after he attacked him with an improvised weapon in Cloverhill prison has been jailed for three and a half years.

Mark McCowan (35) used what is known as a shiv, a toothbrush with two razor blades embedded in it, to slash Clint Tallon's face. He was left with cuts to his neck, nose, eyelids and cheeks and required 26 stitches.

Sergeant Padraic Powell told Damien Colgan, prosecuting, that when prison officers first noticed the encounter between the two men they considered it to be a minor matter akin to "fisticuffs".

They then saw Tallon running towards them with McCowan chasing after him continually shouting, "You're a rat".

McCowan was eventually restrained and the shiv taken from him. Tallon was taken to the medical area in the prison where he was spitting blood and treated for a number of cuts to his face.

McCowan, of Knockmore Crescent, Tallaght, pleaded guilty on the morning of his trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm on December 5, 2007.

Sgt Powell said Tallon has made a decent recovery and although he does have a visible scar, it has healed more over time.

Judge Patricia Ryan described it as "a premeditated attack on an unarmed individual" before she sentenced McCowan to three and half years in prison which she backdated to his remand in custody last February.