A PRISON guard suffered a frightening ordeal when a convicted murderer trapped him in his cell in Ireland's highest security prison.
The officer spotted the prisoner, Jonathan Caffrey (38), with a contraband phone on a landing of Portlaoise Prison.
But when Caffrey was challenged about it, the killer managed to trap the officer in his cell before passing the illegal mobile phone to another prisoner who made off with it.
The phone has not been recovered following the bizarre incident, but Caffrey, who is originally from Co Louth, was transferred to Cork Prison where he is now subject to a 40-day "harsh disciplinary regime".
A prison source said: "Essentially, Caffrey would not let the prison officer out of his cell after the officer approached him.
"He held the cell door from the outside but the entire incident was over very quickly when the officer radioed his colleagues for back-up and he was freed."
Details of the incident, which happened almost three weeks ago, have only emerged now and it is not linked to this week's seizure of 37 mobile phones in the dissident unit of the Co Laois jail.
Caffrey is now in a special isolation unit in Cork Prison, where he will remain for another three weeks.
He is banned from receiving visitors and denied other privileges.
He was jailed for life for the murder of a man in England 19 years ago, and was detained in Portlaoise Prison following his transfer to Ireland in 2005.
It is 15 years since Caffrey was convicted by an English Court of the 1994 murder of Andrew Cook in Middlesex.
He had been extradited to England in March 1998 after being arrested by gardai in Drogheda, Co Louth
The trial heard that Caffrey, and two other men visited Mr Cook at his home in November, 1994, and a row broke out after Cook accused Caffrey of having an affair. Caffrey beat Mr Cook unconscious while another man stabbed him to death.
The Co Louth man received the mandatory life sentence for murder.
The English trial judge recommended that he serve a minimum sentence of 12 years .
Despite that recommendation, Caffrey remains in jail.
In February 2012 he lost a Supreme Court challenge to the legality of his continuing detention. His case was dismissed by three judges to two.
Giving the majority Supreme Court decision, Chief Justice Mrs Justice Susan Denham said the nature of the sentence was that it was a life sentence, not a 12-year sentence, and the fact there was a 12-year tariff in England did not change that nature.