Inmate attacked Mountjoy officers with shiv 'like a lunatic'

File image of a shiv made from razor blades and a tooth brush which was confiscated by staff in Mountjoy Prison
File image of a shiv made from razor blades and a tooth brush which was confiscated by staff in Mountjoy Prison

A jailed man who attacked prison officers using a “shiv” made of razor blades and a toothbrush has received a sentence of four and a half years.

Eoghan McGarry (30) launched himself at the three officers “like a lunatic”, armed with the home made weapon, as they delivered breakfast to his cell.

McGarry, of no fixed abode but originally from Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to the men at Mountjoy Prison on April 23, 2015.

Two of the men suffered from post-traumatic stress following the attack and have not returned to work. McGarry appeared in court handcuffed and flanked by five prison officers dressed in riot gear.

He is currently serving a four year sentence with the final year suspended for aggravated burglary imposed in March 2015. He was due for release in December 2017 but the sentence imposed today will run consecutive to his current term.

His 38 previous convictions include assault, burglary and criminal damage.

Judge Melanie Greally suspended the last year of the sentence on condition that McGarry engage with psychiatric care of the Probation Services and take the medication prescribed to him.

Luigi Rea BL, defending, said McGarry suffered mental health difficulties which were affected both by illicit drug taking and not taking his medication.

Judge Greally noted that McGarry had a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and responded well to medication but took it sporadically. She said the assault of prison officers in the course of duty was a severely aggravating factor.

Garda Maura Fitzgerald told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that the three officers were delivering breakfast trays to the cells when McGarry lunged at them without warning as they opened his cell door with “his arms flying like a lunatic.”

McGarry was restrained and the officers taken for treatment. One of the men sustained wounds to his face and torso, a second had a wound under his chin and the third was struck on the head.

The cell was searched and it was discovered a weapon had been fashioned from razor blades melted into a toothbrush. The entire incident was captured on CCTV.

McGarry was not interviewed as he was later transferred to the Central Mental Hospital.

Victim impact statements from the prison officers outlined that they suffered significant psychological distress and anxiety as a result of the attacks. One of the men had a visible scar on his face but it was expected to fade in time.

Maria McGarry, mother of the accused, told Mr Rea that her son was a good person when he was taking his medication. She said she had visited him in prison prior to the assaults and had been concerned that he was not well.

During a previous court hearing an agitated McGarry shouted from the dock that he did not need to take his medication and was being harassed by prison officers.

Mr Rea told the court that his client believed he was under undue and unnecessary surveillance while in custody and Judge Greally ordered the prison authorities to review his situation.