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'Amsterdam House' Paedo child killer re-jailed after open prison found to be 'awash' with drugs and porn

David McVeigh was among several life sentence inmates thrown back into Maghaberry following the outrageous find

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David McVeigh

David McVeigh

David McVeigh

A paedophile child killer was among several life sentence inmates thrown back into the high-security Maghaberry jail after a drugs and porn find at Northern Ireland’s only open prison.

David McVeigh (41) had been on a pre-release scheme at Burren House on Belfast’s Crumlin Road, where he benefited from temporary periods of freedom and attended work placements.

But the dangerous predator is now back behind bars at Maghaberry following a Prison Service investigation into rule-breaking at the cushy complex.

Other inmates who were returned include murderer Mark Wallace (38), who fatally stabbed his girlfriend a decade ago, and Lee Wright (45) who beat a vulnerable alcoholic to death.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “As part of a planned search operation at Burren House, items were recovered which resulted in a number of prisoners being returned to Maghaberry Prison.

“As is the purpose of pre-release testing, those approaching the end of their sentence are often tested prior to release. The reality is that some individuals will fail this test and be returned to prison, while others will progress back into the community.”

Jail sources revealed that Burren House was “awash” with drugs and pornography, and that prison chiefs were taken back by the scale of the find.

“The inmates have started calling it ‘Amsterdam House’ because of the amount of drugs and porn you can get there,” said an insider.

“Hardly a month goes by without a raid that uncovers drugs or porn and leads to inmates being returned to Maghaberry.”

Burren House holds up to 20 prisoners in unlocked cells, most of whom are lifers nearing the end of their sentences. Depending on how trusted the criminals held there are, some are free to leave to attend work placements and visit families in the evening.

The relaxed regime has led to a number of embarrassing incidents including paedophile child killer John Clifford being able to escape Burren House on his mobility scooter and going on the run for a week across the border.

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David McVeigh — who is serving life for a similar crime — was removed from the open prison last summer for failing a drugs test.

Despite this he was allowed to return earlier this year, only to be thrown back in Maghaberry after the most recent drugs raids.

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Burren House

Burren House

Burren House

 

Our source said: “McVeigh shouldn’t have been anywhere near Burren House after failing a drugs test there last year. There needs to be a serious review of the decision to place him back.”

McVeigh has been behind bars for more than 25 years for the murder and sexual assault of Janet Swanson in 1995. He met his victim through his dad who was dating her mum.

The killer exploited this link to lure the vulnerable 14-year-old to a forest near Leeds where he carried out a violent sexual assault before strangling her with the drawstring of an anorak and dumping her body in a ditch.

Jailing McVeigh for a minimum of 13 years, Judge Timothy Walker branded him “extremely dangerous”, saying: “The greatest possible caution should be exercised before releasing him”.

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Mark Wallace

Mark Wallace

Mark Wallace

 

Mark Wallace — who was also returned to Maghaberry from Burren House — is nearing the end of a minimum 14-year life sentence for the 2009 murder of girlfriend Katie Hughes.

The jealous drug addict stabbed the popular 21-year-old to death during a house party in Bangor after hearing her tell a friend about a previous relationship. Wallace later admitted he had considered killing mum-of one Katie for a number of weeks, and also his own mother because “she had touted on him”.

The third life sentence inmate thrown back in Maghaberry after the drugs raid at Burren House is Lee Wright, who beat drinking pal Noel McCombe to death in 2004 at a south Belfast squat.

The thug then urinated on his victim before trying to burn his body by setting fire to the flat below.

Our prison source added: “This is the second time Wright has been kicked out of Burren House for rule-breaking.

“He is an out-and-out thug, who thinks he’s a hard man and insists on the other inmates calling him ‘Bruce’ Lee Wright after the film star.”

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