Prison officer and murderer sentenced for smuggling contraband

A prison officer and a convicted murderer serving a life sentence, who were both involved in smuggling contraband into Mountjoy prison, have been jailed for a total of seven years by Judge Katherine Delahunt.

Prison officer, Dillon O’Brien (aged 37) who was in charge of landing B3 in the prison, trafficked heroin and mobile phones to inmate Thomas Hinchon, having received the items from Hinchon’s brother Sean.

O’Brien received a four-year sentence and Thomas Hinchon was sentenced to three years concurrent to the sentence he is serving.

Judge Delahunt adjourned Sean Hinchon’s case to next March to allow a probation report on sentencing options to be prepared. She also ordered urine analysis.

O’Brien also brought vodka, mobile phones and cocaine to prisoner David Mulvey after being advised to do so by two men and smuggled in mobile phones to another inmate, Donnagh O’Brien.

He later told gardaí that he was addicted to cocaine, ecstasy and steroids and that he was getting two grammes of cocaine for every successful “drop”. He brought the contraband into the prison in either his jacket or trouser pockets and transferred the vodka to a bottle of water.

O’Brien would then hand the items to the prisoners in his office. He said he was getting free cocaine about once a month for his involvement.

He told gardaí on arrest that he was relieved that the offences had come to light as he had been “leading a double life”.

O'Brien, of Charnwood Meadows, Clonsilla, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that “being a member of the prison service he did knowingly and without the authorisation of the governor convey a bottle of vodka and mobile phone to prisoner David Mulvey and a mobile phone to prisoner Thomas Hinchon” in Mountjoy Prison on March 13, 2007.

He also admitted to conspiracy with others to convey cocaine to Mulvey, heroin to Hinchon and two mobile phones to O’Brien on dates between January 1, 2005 and March 15, 2007 and to having cocaine in his own home on March 15, 2007. He had no previous convictions.

Thomas Hinchon (aged 30), of St. Ronans Close, Clondalkin pleaded guilty to conveying a mobile phone and to conspiring with others to convey cannabis into Mountjoy Prison between January 2005 and March 2007. He has 67 previous convictions, including the murder of Jonathan O’Reilly, threats to kill and possession of stolen property but the majority are for road traffic matters.

His brother, Sean Hinchon (aged 32) also of St Ronan Close, pleaded guilty to conveying a mobile phone to Thomas Hinchon and to conspiracy with others to convey heroin to him. He has seven previous road traffic convictions.

Judge Delahunt noted that O'Brien had been placed in a very trusted position which he had grossly abused in “a fundamental way” and that he had been trafficking the items for reward in the form of drugs.

She also noted that Thomas Hinchon had not been distributing the drug in prison and achieved literacy skills since his life sentence had begun.

Detective Garda David Carolan told Mr Seamus Clarke BL, prosecuting, that O’Brien’s home was searched on March 15, 2007, after Superintendent Dominc Hayes received confidential information in relation to the trafficking of mobile phones, drugs and alcohol into the prison.

Gardai later analysed O’Brien’s phone traffic and found text messages from one man asking him to “let me know when you are around” and stating that “Dave got 10 years with two suspended”.

Det Gda Carolan said the message was in relation to half a litre of vodka and a mobile phone for David Mulvey. There were also four calls from another man on March 12, 2007, regarding drinks, drugs and phones for Mulvey.

O’Brien later admitted that he had arranged to pick up these items for Mulvey and smuggled them into the prison.

There were also a number of calls from Sean Hinchon on March 11, 2007, in relation to the contraband for his brother. O’Brien admitted that he met up with his co-accused a number of times to deliver the items to Hinchon. He said he also received some money as well as cocaine for his role.

A subsequent search of Mulvey’s prison cell revealed a water bottle filled with vodka, in addition to phones and cocaine, while heroin and methadone tablets were found after a search in Hinchon’s cell.

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