Cop killer John Paul Wootton gets prison transfer to be with mum murdering boyfriend

And we can reveal an unnamed inmate took the NI Prison Service to court to be allowed access to condoms and lube last summer
Declan O’Neill was a working doctor before he killed his mother

Declan O’Neill was a working doctor before he killed his mother

Steven Moore

Cop killer John Paul Wootton has been moved to Magilligan Prison to be with his killer boyfriend Declan 'Dr Death' O'Neill, the Sunday World can reveal.

We can also reveal Dr O'Neill, who brutally killed his mum Anne with a chisel in 2017, was moved from Maghaberry Prison last year because of his relationship with Wootton, which the Prison Service said breached their rules.

The pair had reportedly fallen in love and the 32-year-old doctor had been helping his jailhouse partner Wootton with a bid to have his conviction for murdering Constable Stephen Carroll overturned.

But now we can reveal the Prison Service has been told to allow 31-year-old Wooton to be moved to Magilligan Prison in Co Derry so he can be closer to O'Neill.

And we can reveal an unnamed inmate took the NI Prison Service to court to be allowed access to condoms and lube last summer.

John Paul Wooton is led into court in Lisburn in 2009

John Paul Wooton is led into court in Lisburn in 2009

O'Neill is serving one of the shortest life sentences ever handed out for murder after a judge handed him a minimum term of just eight years, despite the brutal nature of his attack on his mum in October 2017.

That was largely down to the submissions made in court by family members who detailed the physical and mental torture Declan suffered at the hands of his mum.

He initially told cops he'd been asleep with his boyfriend but eventually confessed to the grisly murder.

Last year the Prison Service moved him to Magilligan after discovering he was in a relationship with Wootton but now the pair have been reunited.

The move which came following a legal challenge by Wootton, which is sure to shock the families of their victims.

Sources in Maghaberry say they "can't believe" the authorities have caved into the pleas and fear it could set a precedent and open the floodgates to similar requests.

Last night a source at Magilligan Prison told the Sunday World: "John Paul Wootton fought to be moved from Maghaberry Prison to Magilligan so he could be with Declan O'Neill.

"And he won. It's incredible that someone who killed a serving police officer going about his duty has been allowed to move prison to be closer to his boyfriend.

"They moved Declan O'Neill up here to get him away from Wootton and now they are facilitating their relationship. Other prisoners who did a lot less than killing someone won't get the opportunity to have a relationship while behind bars.

"They aren't sharing cells but Magilligan is a medium-security prison so they have plenty of time to be together - it's a luxury their victims will never get to enjoy. It's the talk of the prison and people just can't believe it.

"How will the families of their victims feel hearing they have been given special treatment?"

Prisoners at Magilligan enjoy a very relaxed regime compared to Maghaberry and more than half the inmates there have their own keys to their rooms, giving them freedom to come and go as they please.

Last summer, around the same time Wootton launched his legal bid to be moved to Magilligan, an unnamed prisoner launched a legal challenge against a Prison Service ban on sexual contact between prisoners.

The prisoner went to court to also demand access to condoms, lubricants, dental dams and disinfectant tablets, as well as information about sexually transmitted infections.

In England and Wales such items are freely available to prisoners to promote safe sex and prevent sexually transmitted diseases and failure do so in Northern Ireland constituted to a breach in the European Convention of Human Rights, his lawyers argued.

The prisoner also challenged what he said was the "unwritten and/or unpublished position of the NIPS that prisoners are not permitted to engage in consensual sexual activity".

According to legal documents, the health provider at the jail - South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust - supported the provision of the items but has been told by Prison Serivce that they are not allowed.

PSNI officer Stephen Carroll who was shot dead in 2009

PSNI officer Stephen Carroll who was shot dead in 2009

John Paul Wooton was just two weeks shy of his 18th birthday when he was involved in a dissident republican attack in Craigavon which left Constable Stephen Carroll dead.

Constable Carroll was ambushed in Lismore Manor and gunned down leaving his car at around 9.45pm on March 9, 2009. He was responding to a distress call from a woman who said her house was being attacked.

Later, the Continuity IRA claimed responsibility for the shooting.

In 2012, Brendan McConville, a former Sinn Féin councillor from Craigavon, and Wootton from Lurgan were convicted for their roles in the murder.

They were ordered to serve a minimum of 25 and 14 years in prison respectively, though Wootton had his sentence increased by four years at an appeal and will have to serve 18 years before he can be considered eligible for parole.

Wootton was also found guilty of attempting to collect information likely to be of use to terrorists against another police officer.

The judge said of Wootton: "He was a willing participant in the terrorist murder of a police officer. The precise nature of his role in the offence has not been established."

Speaking the day after her husband was murdered, Kate Carroll said: "A good husband has been taken away from me, and my life has been destroyed. And what for? A piece of land that my husband is only going to get six feet of. These people have just taken my life as well."

Both men failed to have their convictions overturned at the High Court in 2014 though Wootton has continued to deny his involvement in the murder.

In 2017 he left Roe House, the republican wing in Maghaberry Prison, and joined the ordinary non-political inmates in Quoile House having become disillusioned by the movement.

Last year he wrote: "So after about seven years of life as a republican prisoner, I began to become uncomfortable with the republican label. I delved into more libertarian ideas and eventually embraced anarchism.

"Now in the general prison population for a number of years, I have been proud to bring the ideas of anarchism to others who find themselves oppressed in our society and to promote community, solidarity and mutual aid.

"I continue to do what I can to promote positive change. I continue to challenge my ongoing imprisonment and fight back against the state and different forms of domination."

Declan O’Neill with his mother Anne who he killed in 2017

Declan O’Neill with his mother Anne who he killed in 2017

Declan O'Neill battered his mum to death after arriving with what the judge called a "murder kit" - including a rope, a mask and the chisel which he used to kill her.

Pathologist, Prof Jack Crane, said she had been "struck repeatedly on the head with a heavy blunt object and the back of her head..."

Her son had then pushed her face "against a hard, uneven surface such as the concrete path or patio".

O'Neill first claimed he had been in bed with his partner and had last seen his mother the night before.

But cops found his mum's blood in his car and turned up a bloodstained chisel and rubber face mask.

Under questioning he confessed, saying: "I didn't mean to, I just couldn't take any more."

The Northern Ireland Prison Service was not available for comment last night.

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