Man attempted to slice prison officer's wrist with blade moulded into toothbrush

Man attempted to slice prison officer's wrist with blade moulded into toothbrush
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A man attempted to slice a prison officer's wrist with a blade moulded into a toothbrush while the officer was delivering toilet paper, a court has heard.

Alan Ellis (26) of Rathmines Road Lower, Rathmines, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to threatening to kill a prison officer and producing a blade in the course of a dispute at Mountjoy Prison on June 28, 2016.

Detective Garda Barry Brennan told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that on the day in question, the prison officer was delivering toilet paper to Ellis at the prisoner's request.

The officer handed the toilet paper through the hatch of Ellis' cell and he took it with his left hand. He swung a blade moulded into the handle of a tooth brush in his right hand at the prison officer which connected with his fleece.

When the officer asked him why he had attacked him, Ellis said “Fuck you, I'll chop you up.”

Ellis made a statement about the incident in which he said he had decided to “get” the prison officer due to him being disrespectful to him and his intention had been to slice his wrist. He said he made the statement because he felt guilty afterwards and knew he had done wrong.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, the officer said “this assault really unnerved me and left me shaken,” and that he does not understand to this day what led Ellis to attempt to hurt him.

Ellis has 35 previous convictions. These include convictions for assault on a peace officer, assault causing harm, false imprisonment, burglary, theft, trespass and possession of knives.

Cathal Ó Braonáin BL, defending, said his client had been in solitary confinement for the majority of the last four years. Ellis was serving a sentence for false imprisonment at the time of the attack, but that sentence has expired and he has been in custody solely on this matter since July 21, 2017.

Mr Ó Braonáin said Ellis had been diagnosed with Tourette syndrome when he was seven years old and got into fights in school due to being teased over this condition. He was expelled from three different schools.

Ellis was diagnosed with paranoid schizophenia in 2015. Mr Ó Braonáin handed in a psychiatric report to the court which details the root of his offending as being perceived targeting and taunting.

The report gives the view that his current regime of imprisonment is not conducive to therapeutic benefit. Ellis' mother and sister, who were present in court, have written to An Taoiseach and several Cabinet Ministers to get a change in his regime.

Judge Patricia Ryan adjourned the matter to December 20, 2018 for finalisation.

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