Mountjoy victim threatened to cut accused's throat, court hears

The jury in the trial of a 28-year-old prisoner accused of stabbing another inmate to death in Mountjoy has heard that the deceased had threatened to cut the accused man’s throat.

Declan O’Reilly told gardaí that Derek Glennon had bullied him for three months before Mr Glennon’s death. He had asked a prison officer to move him to another wing of Mountjoy as he was “under pressure” but had refused to go on “protection”.

Mr O’Reilly, of Parnell Road, Crumlin, Dublin 12, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Glennon on the first floor of D wing of the prison on June 25, 2007.

A video recording of detectives interviewing Mr O’Reilly two days after the alleged incident was played to the court at the request of defence counsel Paul McDermott SC (with Michael Bowman BL).

In the video Mr O’Reilly appeared upset and wore a sling on his right arm. His right hand was bandaged and he broke down in tears on a number of occasions.

Mr O’Reilly said that at the start of February 2007 he brought a quarter of heroin into the prison for Mr Glennon.

Mr Glennon knew Mr O’Reilly’s brother from Cloverhill Prison and the brother had asked Mr O’Reilly why Mr Glennon was “getting so much gear”.

Mr O’Reilly told his brother that Mr Glennon was using heroin himself. Mr Glennon did not want anyone outside of prison to know he was using heroin and threatened Mr O’Reilly that he would be shot if his brother said anything.

Mr O’Reilly told gardaí “that’s how it started”. He said he was threatened every other day after that. When asked if he took the threats seriously he said he knew Mr Glennon was “dangerous” and he was terrified of coming out of his cell every day.

Mr O’Reilly said Mr Glennon asked him to hold a knife for him. “I had it in my cell the last two weeks in a rip in the sleeve of my jacket”.

The day before Mr Glennon died Mr O’Reilly asked a prison officer if he could be moved to B wing as he was under pressure from Mr Glennon. The officer offered to put him on protection but he refused.

The next day the accused asked Mr Glennon to take the knife back and get rid of it, as he was afraid he would be caught with it. Mr Glennon refused and told Mr O’Reilly to stop annoying him.

Mr O’Reilly tried again later that day to return the knife but Mr Glennon said, “get the f**k away from me. I’m going to cut your throat you little rat”.

Mr O’Reilly told gardaí he believed that Mr Glennon would attack him later in the yard.

He said he walked behind Mr Glennon, opened the knife, came alongside him and stabbed him once in the side. Mr Glennon grabbed for the knife and they struggled. Two other prisoners got involved and Mr O’Reilly swung the knife.

Asked if it connected with anyone he replied: “I don’t know”.

Asked where Mr Glennon got the knife, Mr O’Reilly said: “it was thrown in over the wall”. Asked for what purpose, he said there was a feud between B wing and D wing, the Crumlin feud.

The video showed a detective garda ask Mr O’Reilly when he decided to stab Mr Glennon to which he replied “when he said he was going to cut my throat, the look on his face when he said it to me”.

He was asked “did you think you had to get him before he got you?” to which he replied, “yeah”.

Prison Officer Shane Cuddigan told the court that he was one of two prison officers who escorted the accused to Beaumont Hospital after the alleged incident.

Mr Cuddigan said he overheard Mr O’Reilly tell gardaí that the deceased had bullied him and he was “sick of it” and that Mr Glennon had attacked him so he “lashed out with the knife”.

Pathologist, Dr Michael Curtis, gave evidence that an autopsy on Mr Glennon revealed he had suffered “slash” wounds to his head and face and four stab wounds to the chest area.

Dr Curtis said Mr Glennon received two fatal stab wounds – on to the heart and another to a lung - which caused bleeding into the lung and into the sack surrounding the heart.

Dr Curtis said he had viewed video footage of the incident and could identify four “thrusts” towards Mr Glennon over a period of three seconds.

Prison Officer Sean Gayson told prosecuting counsel that he spoke to the accused as he escorted him to Beaumont Hospital and that the accused told him he had been trying to return the knife to Mr Glennon.

Mr Gayson said he formed the impression that Mr O’Reilly had been trying to defend himself and added that Mr O’Reilly had told him that Mr Glennon had sent a text message to Mr O’Reilly’s brother threatening to “slice” Mr O’Reilly.

A statement from a prisoner in Mountjoy was read into evidence by Patrick McGrath BL, prosecuting, Samuel Kerrigan told gardaí that he had witnessed the incident from the first floor of D wing.

Mr Kerrigan said he saw the accused and the deceased throwing punches at each other. He said Mr O’Reilly threw a punch at Mr Glennon who then went “ape shit”.

Mr Kerrigan said it was “common knowledge” in the prison that the accused and deceased were “tight’ and that Mr Glennon had a “temper” and could “snap”. He said he had earlier witnessed Mr Glennon break another inmate’s jaw.

Mr Kerrigan said Mr Glennon used his size to “intimidate” and it was known that he used other prisoners to “hold stuff for him” because he was “too cute” to hold it himself.

Mr Kerrigan said he knew Mr Glennon had “a blade” and it was rumoured in the prison that his own knife was used to kill him.

The trial continues tomorrow morning before Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins and a jury of six men and six women.

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