Shiv off | 

Cartel killer Jonathan Keogh survives prison 'shiv' attack after MTK boxer saves him

An 'extremely volatile' fellow prisoner attacked Keogh with a 'shiv' and a sock filled with rocks

Jonathan Keogh,

Patrick O'Connell

Cartel killer Jonathan Keogh survived a shiv attack in the D-Yard of the Midlands Prison on Monday - after a former MTK boxer helped him fight off a blade-wielding assailant.

Keogh was socialising in the yard with the former MTK boxer when, sources say, he was approached by Drogheda man Michael Collins who was armed with a shiv and a sock filled with rocks.

Collins is currently serving a 14-year sentence for causing the death by dangerous driving of 20-year-old Jillian Thornton and is considered extremely volatile within the prison environment.

Sources say Collins went for Keogh, brandishing the shiv and sock, before the former boxer and another inmate intervened and wrestled him to the ground.

Michael Collins.

The former MTK boxer cannot currently be identified as he is before the courts on serious charges.

Prison officers who had entered the yard restrained Collins and removed him from the area.

He was searched before being brought to a cell and the shiv was recovered.

Collins has since been subjected to P19 disciplinary proceedings and has been moved to another landing for his own safety.

One source said the cartel inmates had been unhappy about Collins' presence on the landing and told him to 'get the f**k off' in the lead up to Monday's attack.

A second source said it was possible that Collins, who has been struggling greatly with life in prison, had simply snapped.

Collins was jailed in July 2019 for 14 years over a fatal Co Meath crash in which Jillian Thornton was killed on the N2 near Balrath on May 27, 2016.

Handing down the sentence, Judge Martina Baxter said his trial had been difficult and often trying.

She said, at every remove, the driving by Michael Collins was dangerous and that he had a delusion throughout the trial about what happened and avoided responsibility.

"He had no regard for safety, life or limb" she said.

Judge Baxter said Collins had a misguided belief that gardai were to blame for the crash, and this was nonsense in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

The judge said Collins' behaviour throughout the trial "did him no favours".

The trial heard how the fatal crash followed a 25-minute pursuit through Drogheda and east Meath, that began when a dark coloured Mitsubishi Colt driven by Michael Collins failed to stop for gardai after driving the wrong way on a roundabout.

Gardai involved in following the car told the trial that Collins had driven through a number of red lights, travelled at high speed on the wrong side of the road without lights, almost collided with other vehicles and forced a number of garda cars on to the hard shoulder.

At 10.27pm that night, the car Michael Collins was driving collided with a Volkswagen Passat and crashed.

The trial heard Collins had cannabis in his system on the night of the fatal crash. The Thornton family said Jillian did not know Michael Collins, but she trusted him that night.

"Jillian never knew Michael Collins until the night he killed her. She was the type of her person that would trust anyone and that night she was killed she got in the car with that man and in the end, she paid with her life.

"The reality is we have to live with that, we have to live to with his actions" said her sister Elaine.

The trial heard recordings of 999 calls from the passengers in the car claiming the driver was going to crash unless gardai called off the pursuit. One of the calls made shortly before the crash ended in a scream.

"She screamed and she begged, and she begged, and he said he was not stopping the car. Why? How can you sit there, when someone is begging for their life, screaming and you choose not the stop the car?" a family member said later.

Before sentencing, Michael Collins said he wanted to apologise to the family and told the court he wished he had stopped the car.

He said taking chase was "a foolish thing" to do but still maintained, after being found guilty, that the gardaí hit him, causing the crash.

The Sunday World revealed last week how cartel killer Jonathan Keogh was moved from Portlaoise Prison to the Midlands in May, over a threat he made to kill a prison officer in the maximum-security prison.

Keogh is currently serving life for the murder of Gerry 'The Monk' Hutch's nephew Gareth Hutch.

Jonathon Keogh (right) and Eamonn Cumberton were moved from Portlaoise.

The 36-year-old fired the fatal shots that killed Hutch (36) as he was getting into his car outside Avondale House flats on North Cumberland Street in Dublin on the morning of May 24, 2016. Keogh, Freddie Thompson and Eamonn Cumberton were moved to A-Block in Portlaoise in March 2018 after concerns arose in Mountjoy in relation to the degree of control the cartel gang was exerting on inmates in the Dublin prison.

After arriving in Portlaoise, Keogh engaged in a dirty protest before abandoning it in favour of a hunger strike which he maintained for six days.

He later brought a High Court challenge against his transfer from Mountjoy to Portlaoise.

He claimed that he had not been given any reason for his transfer and feared for his safety in Portlaoise.

He also claimed the transfer has caused him difficulties including that he had received no visits since his move from Mountjoy and in relation to seeing his counsel and solicitor in advance of his trial for the murder of Gareth Hutch.

A source said even while Keogh was engaging in this legal fight in the High Court, he and the newly arrived cartel inmates were flexing their muscles in their new surroundings.

It's understood that in the wake of one officer reporting the death threat from Keogh, an internal disciplinary probe was carried out and Keogh was subjected to P19 disciplinary proceedings.

A decision was later taken to move Keogh from Portlaoise to the Midlands in a bid to stem his growing influence inside the maximum-security prison.

A source said Keogh was subsequently disciplined and the matter forwarded for investigation by gardai in Portlaoise.

The source said Keogh's threat to the prison officer was witnessed by a number of other officers and added that the officer in question has been on sick leave ever since and has had to take security advice from gardai.

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