Freddie to rumble | 

Caged Kinahan cartel killer claims prison officers' 'lives put at risk' by other staff

Gangland heavy hitters stir up tension in Ireland's only maximum-security prison

Killer Freddie Thompson.

Patrick O'Connell

These are the gangland heavyweights at the centre a major row among staff in Ireland's only maximum-security prison.

Kinahan cartel killer 'Fat' Freddie Thompson complained that three officers in A-Block in Portlaoise Prison were ­undermining more ­senior ­officers and putting their lives "at risk'".

And now that claim is being backed up by ­fellow cartel killer Thomas 'Tossie' Fox' and a second ­inmate, who we are not naming, but who is not linked to the cartel.

However, notorious killer ­Warren Dumbrell and hitman Barry Doyle denied they had heard any such comments from the junior officers, when quizzed by serious complaints ­investigator, John Naughton.

The Sunday World can today reveal the full inside story of the shocking dispute that has led to two prison officers, who remain on leave as a result of the row, ­initiating preliminary legal actions in the High Court against the Irish Prison Service.

The top-security Portaloise Prison.

One of the officers is also understood to have filed a protected disclosure with the Department of Justice in relation to the same matters.

We can also reveal how Mr Naughton was told that the ­alleged comments being made by the three more junior officers led to ­circumstances where killer Barry Doyle was said to have considered 'doing' one of these senior officers.

Prisoner 8132, Thompson - who is serving a life sentence in prison for his role in the murder of cartel target David 'Daithi' Douglas in ­Dublin - filed a category A complaint in May of 2019, alleging the three junior officers were making comments about the senior officers and that these comments "could have put these officers at risk."

Thompson alleged that the nature of the comments was that the senior officers were "yes-men," and one, an Assistant Chief Officer (ACO), was a "f***ing idiot' who was 'not a person to be believed."

He claimed the insults ­related to the senior officers' promises that they would organise a school and family visits for the inmates.

And he said the junior officers' comments were very ­damaging to the ACO, allegedly labelled a "f***ing idiot," and could put his life in danger if prisoners were to believe he was lying to them.

Thompson's complaint led to the ­appointment of John Naughton in the role of independent investigator in ­accordance with rule 57 b of the Prison Rules.

As part of his investigation Mr Naughton interviewed four other inmates including Thomas 'Tossie' Fox, Barry Doyle, the inmate we are not naming for legal reasons, and Warren Dumbrell.

Fox - who is serving life for his role in the murder of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch's nephew Gareth Hutch - is understood to have told Mr ­Naughton that he had previously made a ­complaint about the same three ­officers, but no one had come back to him.

He claimed to have been with Thompson on one occasion when the three officers made the 'yes men' comment.

Waren Dumbrell has denied the complaints to the investigator.

The unnamed inmate, who also backed Thompson, claimed he had been on A-block throughout 2018.

He said he had heard comments, ­similar to those described by ­Thompson, being made by the more junior officers on one side of the roster about the more senior officers on the other side.

Hitman Barry Doyle (35) is serving a life sentence for the shooting dead of rugby player Shane Geoghegan, in a case of mistaken identity in Limerick in 2008.

Doyle, from Dublin, is understood to have told Mr Naughton he had been looking for a transfer out of Portlaoise back to Dublin around February 2019 and had been told by the ACO, allegedly labelled 'a f***ckin' idiot,' he would get that transfer if he stayed out of trouble.

Doyle said the transfer had not happened but, he said, he didn't blame the officer.

Barry Doyle.

Doyle said he had no issue with the three more junior officers, adding he believed Thompson had exaggerated the comments attributed to them. Warren Dumbrell - who is nearing the end of a life sentence for the ­horrific murder of Christopher ­Cawley in Inchicore in 2006 - told Mr Naughton that he knew the officers named in Thompson's complaint, but he said that he had never heard them speaking badly of their colleagues.

The three prison officers, who were allegedly undermined, also spoke to Mr Naughton.

The ACO told him that problems had begun when the use of A-block was changed to accommodate serious gangland ­criminals and a new management regime was ­introduced in 2018.

He said that at the time that there was a group of officers running the A-Block and that one of them had told him they had already run seven ACO's off A-block and that he would be the eighth.

He said he then became aware that ­officers on the other side of the roster were discussing him with inmates ­negatively and that he had been ­described as 'full of s***' alongside two of his colleagues.

The ACO said the most serious incident happened when Barry Doyle confronted him and called him 'a piece of s***' who was only using him to get a promotion to be chief.

He said a Chief Officer, who also had allegedly been undermined by the trio, had later spoken to Doyle, who told him he had come very close to 'doing' the ACO. The ACO said that after that ­incident he had gone on sick leave.

Thomas ‘Tossie’ Fox

He said that shortly after the incident, an email was sent out by the Governor raising the issue of staff talking to ­prisoners inappropriately and warning that if it continued, the staff concerned would be disciplined.

The Chief Officer, who was allegedly undermined, told how a number of ­Kinahan cartel inmates arrived on A-block in March of 2018 leading to increased tensions, threats, abuse and violent behaviour.

He said that when it became clear the cartel inmates were to stay on A-block he and a second Chief officer discussed the need to meet their needs and rights as set out under the prison rules.

He said he, the ACO and the second Chief Officer began to campaign for open visits for the inmates.

And that at this time he became aware from inmates that staff on the other side of the roster were describing him and the two other officers as 'full of crap'.

Shortly after this, he said, he was approached by an inmate who warned him that if the ACO continued to ­promise improvements in the regime, his life could be in danger.

The third officer alleged to have been undermined, who is now a ­Governor, also informed Mr Naughton that inmates had come to him complaining of what the officers on the other side of the roster were saying. Mr Naughton also spoke to the three officers who were alleged to have undermined their more senior colleagues.

All three categorically denied making the comments attributed to them by Freddie Thompson. In his conclusion, Mr Naughton said he was of the opinion that there were grounds for the complaint.

Although his report was signed off in November of 2019, no disciplinary action has arisen.

A statement for the Irish Prison ­Service said: "It does not comment on individual complaints and these matters are also subject to ongoing legal proceedings in the High Court.

"The Irish Prison Service takes all complaints and allegations made by both staff and prisoners seriously and that the safety and welfare of staff and prisoners is paramount."

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