NewsCrime Desk

Inmate ate his own poo in front of horrified prison officer

Hughie Irwin
Hughie Irwin

A GANGSTER’s bid to frustrate a Garda investigation by eating his own faeces left an officer with long-term psychological damage, it has been claimed.

Sligo mobster Hughie Irwin had been brought in for questioning following the gangland-style killing of Hugh McGinley.

He was among 14 people lifted by armed gardaí at the time in 2005, including Irwin’s mother and sister.

While being questioned at Cavan Garda Station, he ate his own excrement in a bid to make the officers sick.

This week, it emerged in the High Court that a detective suffered psychological injuries as a result of his actions.

Detective Garda Linda Harkin told how she had made a cup of tea for Irwin who, up to that point, had not caused any trouble, despite being uncooperative.

She said she had left the tea, which he had requested, on his cell door hatch and had looked in to check on him.

She saw that the prisoner had put his head close to the hatch and she could see he had excrement all over his face and in his mouth. She said she was shocked when the prisoner had opened his mouth and she saw it was filled with excrement. 

It had been covering his teeth and she could see he was trying to swallow it. 

They were almost nose to nose and she feared he was going to spit it in her face.

She told Mr Justice Bernard Barton that following the incident she had immediately felt sick and had gone to a sink and vomited.

She felt weak and later had been unable to drive home.  She was collected that evening by her husband.

The detective is claiming that as a result she developed post-traumatic stress disorder and short-term anorexia.

She said the aroma had been overpowering in the cell area and she had later developed a hypersensitivity to smell.

A lawyer acting for the detective said it was clear that what had happened in the prisoner’s cell was “no potty training accident” as there had been toilet facilities in the cell and that it had obviously been a malicious attack.

Judge Barton heard the prisoner had later been charged and convicted under the Criminal Damage Act for damage to three cell blankets and had been ordered by a District Court judge to undergo psychiatric treatment. 

The judge said he was satisfied the prisoner had known that Detective Garda Harkin would be the one to check on him and he had approached the hatch in his cell and had made sure his face would be visible.

The preliminary hearing was held to establish that the officer had been subjected to an attack motivated by malice.

The Sunday World revealed last year how Irwin has been living a reclusive life, rarely leaving his Sligo city home.

It came after the once feared mobster appeared in the local district court, where he was fined €300 for threatening and abusive behaviour on a public street.

His defence solicitor said in court: “This man is a recluse. This man was drinking whiskey and taking medication. It doesn’t mix.”

Irwin and his brother Patrick, who is serving seven years for running a cocaine racket, have been hit hard by the CAB which seized property, vehicles and cash.

Find out about six scumbag drug lords who went from riches to rags, here