Claustrophobic Kinahan Cartel member has 'debilitating anxiety' coping with jail

Jailing a claustrophobic senior Kinahan Cartel member, who directed a sub-cell in a plot to murder Patrick "Patsy" Hutch, is like putting "a man with arachnophobia in a cell with spiders", a doctor has told the Special Criminal Court.

A senior investigating officer also told the non-jury court on Thursday that the cartel's main leadership operates in the Middle East and coordinates the organisation of its various "sub-cells".

During the sentence hearing for Patrick Curtis and Mohammed Smew, Curtis's barrister told the three-judge court that his client had compromised the integrity of his encrypted phone by using his personal phone to take screen grabs of it in order to keep a record. "This might be a clue as to his overall mental ability," he submitted.

Patrick Curtis (38) of Bellman's Walk, Seville Place, Dublin 1 has pleaded guilty to directing the activities of a criminal organisation within the State between February 1st and March 10th, 2018.

The court heard evidence from Dr Conor McGarry, a GP attached to Portlaoise Prison, who said that Patrick Curtis, who has been diagnosed with excessive compulsive disorder, has historic issues which have impacted on his ability to cope with prison in Ireland. The witness testified that Curtis suffers from irrational behaviour and blesses himself around 60 times a day to compensate for negative thoughts. He shares a cell in the A block of Portlaoise Prison with his brother Stephen as his anxiety levels are so bad.

Mohammed Smew (27) of Milner's Square, Shanowen Road, Santry, Dublin 9 has pleaded guilty to participating in the activities of a criminal organisation, to wit the murder of Mr Hutch, by providing, moving and repairing vehicles, and of the planning or assisting to plan an attempted shooting between February 1st, 2018, and March 3rd, 2018.

Patrick Curtis and Smew are the last two men to be sentenced for their involvement in the plan to kill Mr Hutch - the older brother of the leader of the rival Hutch organised crime group.

On Thursday, they were remanded in custody until August 31st, when they will be sentenced.

Last month, presiding judge Mr Justice Tony Hunt imposed sentences totalling 19 years on three men who took part in the Kinahan Cartel plot to kill Mr Hutch in Dublin's north inner city. Michael Burns (43) was jailed for nine years whilst Stephen Curtis (32), the younger brother of Patrick Curtis, and Ciaran O'Driscoll (25) were both sentenced to five years each in prison for their role in the plot to murder Mr Hutch.

Last May, Kinahan Cartel foot soldier Mark Capper (31), who "poured cold water on" and withdrew from a plan to murder Mr Hutch three days before the proposed killing was also jailed by the Special Criminal Court for seven-and-a-half years. Capper had admitted helping the organised crime group in a plan to kill Mr Hutch by providing and repairing vehicles for the criminal organisation and carrying out reconnaissance.

In July 2019, a three-man "hit for hire team" received sentences totalling 36.5 years at the Special Criminal Court for planning to kill Mr Hutch before they were intercepted by gardai just 250 metres from their target's home in Dublin's north inner city. Gary Thompson (35) and his brother Glen Thompson (25) were each jailed for 12 years and six months. A third man, Afghan war veteran Robert Browne (36) was sentenced to 11 years and six months in prison.

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