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Maghaberry prisoner rejects Prison Service apology over blinding

NewsBy Jamie McDowell
Sean Lynch with father Damien
Sean Lynch with father Damien

Sean Lynch, 23, from Derry, who blinded himself in an act of self harm while in Maghaberry prison has said that he does not accept an apology from the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

Even though by the time he gouged out his eyes, five different professionals had warned that the promising footballer, who had trials with Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd, West Ham and Celtic was mentally unwell, he was left in a cell alone. 

Sue McAllister, the director general of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, said: "I am sorry for the life-changing injuries that Mr Lynch sustained whilst in our care."

However, Mr Lynch has hit back, saying: "I would not like to meet Sue McAllister and if she was to meet me with a handshake, I would turn my back on her."

Last month Sean and his father Damien spoke to the Sunday World, speaking of his torment.

In a three-day ordeal, Sean first tried to cut off his testicles with a piece of broken glass he found in his cell.

Two days later he burst his own eyeballs with his thumbs as prison officers watched on for an hour.

They claimed they couldn't enter the cell as it would compromise the security of the prison.

Damien Lynch told the BBC: "Sean went into prison a healthy man and came out blind, so they failed in their duty of care to look after him.

"The new Justice Minister, Claire Sugden, should demand proper accountability from the prison service to ensure no other family has to suffer the ordeal we've had to cope with.

"It's immaterial to me if I meet Sue McAllister, Sean is the main issue and no matter what happens he's been sentenced to a life of darkness."

Before the apology came yesterday, Damien said: “They stood and watched Sean blind himself. Officers said they weren’t properly trained to deal with it.

“In the long term the most important thing is how Sean gets through the rest of his life. He has a life to lead and it’s up to me to protect him."