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Gang killer sexually assaulted young woman prison officer in jail corridor

A WOMAN prison officer was sexually assaulted by a gangland killer at Mountjoy jail.

The young woman was groped by killer Shane Kelly (23), who's serving a sentence for manslaughter along with Joseph Keane, the son of Limerick crime boss Kieran Keane.

The officer described in court how she had been left humiliated by the demeaning assault.

This week Kelly, who was jailed for the manslaughter of Darren Coughlan (18) in 2005, was found guilty of the assault, which occurred in a common area of the jail last year.

He was given another one- month sentence and was registered as a sex offender.

The court heard Kelly had 70 previous convictions and was jailed in 2007 for the manslaughter of a man killed in 2005. The young officer told how she felt "humiliated" by the assault but did not take time off work because she did not want the other prisoners to think she was afraid.

The officer, who cannot be named, told Dublin District Court she was on duty in the afternoon on a date last year when the accused asked her to let him through to another section to retrieve a snooker cue.





Buttocks

She did so, and when he returned, they passed as he went to the gate and he groped her on the buttocks before walking away.

There was another officer on duty but he did not see what happened.

"I felt humiliated, I was in shock," the woman told the court. "I felt he disrespected me as a prison officer."

She sat down and did not tell the other officer who was on duty at the time because she felt embarrassed. She told the next officer she saw and subsequently reported it to Assistant Chief Officer Paul Dunne and Chief Officer Paul Burke.

Asked by defence barrister John Berry why she had not taken any time off work afterwards, she replied: "Probably because I felt if I went off duty for a while, I didn't want the prisoners at the time to think I was afraid of coming back to work after that".

The court heard the defendant was subsequently identified on CCTV and a complaint was made to gardai, who investigated the incident and charged Kelly, who had refused to make a statement.

Mr Berry argued that the CCTV footage showed to the court did not show anything that corroborated the State's case.

He also pointed to errors made, such as the date of the offence, which was incorrect on the charge sheet and the victim's own statement.

He said nobody had given evidence of seeing the officer in a distressed state.

The accused's case was that he did not grope the officer and he did not go into evidence.

The court heard Kelly had 70 previous convictions and was jailed in 2007 for manslaughter.

Kelly, of Oliver Plunkett Street, St Mary's Park, Limerick was given another one-month sentence for the assault, which happened in 2009.

aphelan@herald.ie


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