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'Prison politics' Murder accused Paul Crosby gets more jail time for snapping mobile phone in half

He was caught with mobiles in two separate incidents as he was “struggling” with the increased isolation of the pandemic in Mountjoy.

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Paul Crosby

Paul Crosby

Paul Crosby

A convicted arsonist caught with a mobile phone in jail snapped it in half before handing it over to officers because of “prison politics,” a court heard.

Paul Crosby (26), who was "missing family and friends" when he got the phone broke it because he did not want to get another inmate into trouble.

He was caught with mobiles in two separate incidents as he was “struggling” with the increased isolation of the pandemic in Mountjoy.

Judge Bryan Smyth gave him four months of extra prison time when he appeared in Drogheda District Court.

Separately, Crosby is facing trial in the non jury Special Criminal Court charged with the murder of Keane Mulready Woods (17).

Crosby, of Rathmullen Park, Drogheda, Co Louth admitted unlawful possession of mobile phones in Mountjoy prison on January 4 and June 5 this year.

Garda Sergeant Maire McDevitt said in the first incident, he was found in possession of a phone in his cell at 9pm. On the second occasion, when prison officers saw him with a phone at 5.20pm, he refused to hand it over and proceeded to “smash it up.”

He then handed the broken phone over to the officer.

Crosby had 43 prior convictions, the last of which, for arson, was handed down at Drogheda Circuit Court last year, when he was given a four-and-a-half year sentence.

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Keane Mulready Woods

Keane Mulready Woods

Keane Mulready Woods

He had been “struggling” in prison during the pandemic, his lawyer said.

Crosby had not seen anyone in some time and was finding the extra level of isolation in custody very difficult.

He was missing his family and friends and accepted he was wrong to have the phones.

“It was desperate times for him,” the lawyer said.

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In one incident, he immediately handed the phone over. In the other, he snapped the phone in half but did not use any aggression, she continued.

“It was prison politics, it was not his phone and he didn’t want to get anyone in trouble," she said.

Crosby had been an enhanced prisoner at the time but as a result of the incidents, he was penalised and his status dropped.

He lost privileges and his phone calls were suspended. He had been working in the prison bakery and also lost that job but had since “earned trust” and got it back, his lawyer said.

Judge Smyth said he would take account of the mitigation put forward, the accused’s previous convictions and the sentence he was serving.

He gave him two consecutive sentences of two months.

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