Mountjoy stabbing victim a 'hostile bully', court told

The jury in the trial of a Mountjoy prisoner accused of murdering another inmate in a stabbing incident has heard that the deceased was an “extremely aggressive and hostile” bully who was “totally unpredictable”.

Prison officer Paul Hickey told the Central Criminal Court in Dublin that he spoke to Declan O’Reilly after the alleged incident, who told him that the deceased, Derek Glennon, had bullied him and threatened his family.

A fight had erupted between the men during which Mr Glennon received fatal stab wounds.

Mr Hickey spoke to Mr O’Reilly after the incident and who told him he had been keeping a knife in his cell on Mr Glennon’s instructions and had tried to give the knife back to Mr Glennon.

Mr O’Reilly told Mr Hickey that Mr Glennon had opened the knife and told Mr O’Reilly that he would keep it or he would be “cut to bits”. Mr O’Reilly told Mr Hickey that this had been how the fight had started.

Mr O’Reilly (aged 28), of Parnell Road, Crumlin, Dublin 12, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Glennon in D wing of the prison on June 25, 2007.

Mr Hickey told Paul McDermott SC, defending, that he had known Mr Glennon as a prisoner in Wheatfield Prison and said: “If there was an incident in Wheatfield, eight out of 10 times you could be sure Derek Glennon was involved”.

Mr Hickey said Mr Glennon was an “extremely aggressive and hostile prisoner who was difficult to deal with. He was aggressive with other prisoners and I would classify him as a bully and totally unpredictable”.

The jury were given a booklet containing Mr Glennon’s P19s - records of disciplinary procedures taken against the deceased during his time in custody.

The P19s detailed numerous occasions on which Mr Glennon was reported for being in possession of contraband such as drugs and mobile phones and for assaulting other prisoners or being aggressive towards prison officers.

Prison officer John Farrell told Anthony Sammon SC, prosecuting, that on the day of Mr Glennon’s death he saw what he thought was “horseplay” between the accused and the deceased at around 5.37pm.

As he approached the men, the incident escalated into “a fully fledged fist fight”. Mr Farrell said “at all times Derek Glennon appeared to be the aggressor”.

Mr Farrell said Mr Glennon “got the better of Declan O’Reilly and was in a position of superiority, on top of Declan O’Reilly, who was on his hunkers”.

Mr Farrell ordered the prisoners to stop but they did not. He heard a voice from behind him shout “he has a knife” and Mr Farrell pulled Mr Glennon away from the fight.

Mr Farrell said he did not see the knife but was aware of Mr Glennon’s reputation so assumed he had it.

Mr Glennon was pulled to the floor by officers and then said: “I’m stabbed”.

The prison officer said Mr O’Reilly was subdued and Mr Glennon was treated by medical staff until an ambulance arrived. He was later pronounced dead in The Mater Hospital.

Mr Hickey told the court that as he came upon the incident Mr O’Reilly had been restrained between a wall and the gate leading into D wing. Mr Hickey saw the accused’s arm coming out of the bars of the gate and he had a knife in his hand.

The jury was shown a seven-to-eight-inch bloodstained lock knife which Mr Hickey said he had knocked out of Mr O’Reilly’s hand.

Mr O’Reilly was isolated in the basement area of the prison that evening. His right hand was cut between the thumb and forefinger and he required hospital treatment for the wound.

Mr Hickey told the court that he spoke to the accused that night who was “very distressed”, "extremely upset" and “sorry for what had happened”.

Mr Farrell said Mr Glennon had been a “disruptive prisoner” and “certain security arrangements” had to be put in place in relation to him.

Mr Glennon had been an inmate in various prisons and was known across the prison system as someone who required certain precautions to be taken.

The jury heard that the deceased had been sentenced in January 2004 to five years for manslaughter and had escaped from custody in October 2005 during a visit to Saint James’ Hospital.

During his escape, two men entered the hospital and one put a sawn-off shot gun to a prison officer’s head. Mr Glennon was sentenced to five years for that offence in February 2007.

Mr Farrell said that Mr O’Reilly was serving shorter sentences for road traffic and public order offences and, at the time of the incident, had a July 2008 release date.

He was not regarded as a disruptive prisoner, had a reasonably good relationship with prison staff and “kept his head down and did his time”.

The jury heard a list of Mr Glennon’s breaches of prison discipline including an incident in Wheatfield Prison in April 2004 during which Glennon used a knife while assaulting another inmate and an incident in December 2006 where a prisoner was hospitalised following an attack with a metal bar.

According to P19 records Mr Glennon told a prison governor on one occasion that he was “long past using fists”.

Mr Farrell said he knew from “prison intelligence” that the accused was a heroin user and had believed him to be an associate of the deceased while in Mountjoy.

He said the incident had been “unexpected” and that he believed the accused had held contraband for Mr Glennon.

“Situations of that type occur and Derek Glennon had freer and easier access to drugs than any officer would like”, he said.

The trial continues.

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