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Two of Ireland's most deadly inmates in violent prison scrap over TV

Phelim McNally
Phelim McNally
Maghaberry Prison where both men are being held
Maghaberry Prison where both men are being held

Two of Northern Ireland’s most dangerous killers have been involved in a violent jailhouse bust-up.

Shotgun psycho Phelim McNally (31) and killer chef Neil Wilson (37) “tore lumps” out of each other in a row over a TV, the Sunday World can reveal.

It happened in Maghaberry’s education block when Wilson – who stabbed a man to death during a drunken row – confronted McNally over “touting” on him to prison guards.

It led to jail bosses removing Wilson’s television set, enraging the crazed knifeman who made a beeline for the 31-year-old as both made their way to a jailhouse class.

“Wilson went absolutely ballistic,” a prison source told the Sunday World. 

“He knew straight away Phelim had dobbed him in as he’s been caught out touting on other inmates to keep flavour with the screws.

“Wilson saw him in the education block and went for him. McNally tried to put up a fight but he came out the worst of it. His face was badly smashed up and he had to get seen to by a doctor.

“It’s common knowledge Wilson is very violent and McNally should have known who he was dealing with before running to tell tales.”

Guards had to break up the brawl, which happened a couple of months ago, in front of other inmates and shocked staff.

Wilson was sentenced to life behind bars after stabbing pal Shane Cunningham (39) to death in July 2008.

The attack happened after the victim, his brother Brian and Wilson returned home after a night out drinking. 

His trial heard at the time how the trio had spent some time at the Four Winds Bar and the Mount Ober Golf Club before going back to the house at Woodbreda Park for more drink.

After Wilson stabbed Mr Cunningham, he drove off leaving his traumatised brother Brian – who had been upstairs sleeping – to find his bloody body a few hours later.

The killer’s plea of self-defence failed to pull the wool over the jury’s eyes and in 2010 he was sentenced to at least 15 years for murder. 

He was banged up alongside McNally – who shot dead his ex-girlfriend’s sister in a jealous rage – on the Braid wing of the high-security prison.

However, since the row McNally has been moved from the landing, but not because of the fall-out.

A jail source revealed that he was taken from his cell after needles were discovered hidden in a secret compartment.

However, they are not believed to belong to the Co. Antrim man, but a previous inmate who was in the cell before him.

A source added: “He won’t be missed. He was  a s**t-stirrer who even had the screws remove a picture of the Northern Ireland team during the Euros last year.

“It’s a mixed wing and everyone gets on grand, puts their head down and does their time. The poster was only up on the day of the match. If he wanted a Republic team pic up, no-one would have said anything.

“But he went to the screws and said it was offensive and wanted it down. He walks around in his Antrim GAA jersey as if he’s a big republican, but everyone knows he’s just a scumbag. The dissidents wouldn’t entertain him.”

McNally is serving at least 20 years after blasting popular 18-year-old Lauren O’Neill to death as she heroically tried to save sister Brenda – his ex-girlfriend – in May 2012.

He shot the defenceless teenager twice before turning the legally held shotgun on his ex-partner after accusing her of being unfaithful.

The attack took place in front of the couple’s two young children, who were left splattered in blood, as the maniac blasted their mother and aunt.

As McNally calmly left the house, his two-year-old daughter cried in terror: “Bad daddy. You shot mammy”.

He later failed in a subsequent appeal to shorten his sentence.