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security Female prison officer threatened over reporting 'relationship' between colleague and inmate

The warder has since been advised to take security precautions after she saw material on a colleague's phone suggesting they were in a relationship with prisoner

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The prisoner is an associate of 'Mr Big'

The prisoner is an associate of 'Mr Big'

The prisoner is an associate of 'Mr Big'

A FEMALE prison officer is being provided with security advice by Gardaí after being threatened by a jailed gangland associate of the Dublin drug trafficker nicknamed 'Mr Big'.

The warder was threatened by the jailed criminal days after she uncovered evidence that the thug and a fellow prison officer were involved in an "inappropriate relationship."

Investigators from the Irish Prison Service's elite 'Operation Support Group' carried out a search of the criminal's cell in a Dublin Prison on Thursday and recovered a contraband phone.

The phone has been handed over to Gardaí and will now be examined to determine if the threats were made from this device.

The Sunday World understands both the Irish Prison Service and Gardaí have now begun investigations.

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A source told the Sunday World: "The officer who has been threatened was a friend of this other officer.

"They were together when the issue first arose.

"She saw material on the other officer's phone that indicated the possible existence of an inappropriate relationship between the officer and this inmate.

"Soon after, she observed this material she began receiving threats on her mobile phone from the inmate.

"The threats were serious and to the effect she would be placing herself in harm's way if she reported the material she had seen to the authorities."

The source said the officer made the authorities aware of the threats, and the materials she had seen on the other officer's phone, at the first available opportunity.

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'Mr Big'

'Mr Big'

'Mr Big'

"This is a highly respected officer who did the right thing at the first available opportunity," the source said.

"The officer reported the threats to the Governor of the prison where both officers work and informed him of the threats and the background to the case.

"The Governor contacted the Irish Prison Service and the Gardaí.

"The officer who received the threats is in fear for her personal safety because of the nature of the threats.

"She is receiving advice concerning her personal security from the Gardaí."

Sources have also told the Sunday World that the cell belonging to the inmate who made the threats has been searched by the authorities.

A phone was recovered and will be sent for analysis.

The inmate is currently serving a lengthy sentence for activities relating to his association with the so-called 'Mr Big' drugs gang.

'Mr Big' is one of the State's biggest drug importers.

The inmate at the centre of the current investigation cannot be identified as he is currently before the courts on serious charges.

He is regarded by Gardaí as a close associate of 'Mr Big'.

He could now face having up to 10 years added to his sentence if Gardaí can prove he sent the threats to the prison officer.

Under section 5 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997, a person who without lawful excuse makes a threat, intending that the other person would fear it would be carried out, to kill that other or a third person shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.

Prison bosses are expected to speak with the officer, suspected of engaging in an inappropriate relationship with the criminal, early next week.

Sources stressed that the investigation is at an early stage and that no member of staff has been suspended.

The Irish Prison Service has confirmed "an investigation into this incident has been launched."

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