Man accused of severing prison officer's wrist tendon with meal tray

Central Criminal Court
Central Criminal Court

A man has gone on trial at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court accused of severing a prison officer's wrist tendon by slashing a meal tray over him.

Ceraldo Eyken (45), of Chaplin Court, Clondalkin, Dublin has denied assault causing harm to prison officer Gareth Sheeran (36) at Dublin's Cloverhill Prison on April 11, 2009.

The alleged attack took place just before tea-time in the prison, as inmates made their way downstairs to the serving area carrying their empty trays.

Mr Sheeran had to get 19 stitches in his wrist after he was struck with the tray and underwent plastic surgery the following day.

He told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting, that he suffered permanent nerve damage and has been left with a constant tingling sensation in his wrist.

Mr Sheeran and a number of other prison officers told the court that the incident unfolded after they spotted Mr Eyken lying on the ground at the bottom of the stairs.

Mr Sheeran said he didn't know exactly what had happened but went over to diffuse the situation and saw Mr Eyken get up and turn to assault another prisoner, using the tray “as a weapon”.

The prison officer said he was caught in the middle and put up his hands to block the tray which Mr Eyken had raised with both hands.

Mr Sheeran said he felt a “wallop” on his arm, got a funny, tingly sensation and saw a lot of blood pumping from an open wound on his wrist.

“I could see this white stringy thing that the nurse told me later was my tendon that was after being severed,” he said.

Detective Garda Donal Daly told Seamus Clarke BL, defending, that the accused man was arrested and questioned.

Mr Eyken told gardaí he had been pushed down the stairs by a fellow prisoner.

He said the same man had stopped him from using the weights machine in the gym earlier that day.

Mr Eyken said he had reported the incident in the gym and the other prisoner had called him racist names afterwards and threatened to beat him up.

He said he was walking downstairs and felt someone lifting him from behind, causing him to fall down five or six stairs and hurt his kneecap.

Mr Eyken said he was in shock and angry as he thought he was going to die. He said he got up and went to defend himself with his tray and hit the other prisoner.

He said the other man broke his tray and that when the officer came to separate them, he hurt his hand on the broken tray.

He said he would never hit an officer and that he felt bad that Mr Sheeran had been hurt. “I would never hit an officer. I feel so bad, I'm really, really sorry,” he said.

The trial continues tomorrow before Judge Sarah Berkeley and a jury of eight women and four men and is due to conclude in the next day or two.

Jessica Magee