Dumbrell avoids extra jail time over death threat

A “notorious” murderer will not spend any extra time in prison for threatening to rip the head off a prison officer due to a legal anomaly.

Jeffrey Dumbrell, aged 35, who is serving a life sentence, was being held in a high security segregation unit at the time but has since moved to a wing with a number of other prisoners and hopes some day to re-join the general prison population.

He was sentenced to three and a half years for the threat yesterday. However because he is serving a life sentence, which is indeterminate, the new sentence will run concurrently.

The courts have ruled previously that a life sentence cannot be extended for new offending while in prison because technically a life sentence never ends. When life sentence prisoners are released it is on “permanent temporary release” meaning the sentence is still active.

However the new offending can be taken into account by the Parole Board when it assesses Dumbrell’s suitability for release.

Dumbrell, formerly of Emmet Rd, Inchicore, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to making threats to kill a prison officer at Wheatfield Prison on December 10, 2014. He has 10 previous convictions including murder, assault and larceny.

Judge Karen O’Connor said it was a serious threat and she had no doubt the officer took it seriously.

She said Dumbrell “storming into the room” in such an aggressive manner would have been frightening and noted that the victim constantly has “one eye looking over his shoulder” during his work now.

“Prison officers would not be unaccustomed to some form of abuse as part of their working day,” she said, adding that she would imagine they are “more robust” than reporting every incident of “verbals” from inmates.

She said prison officers cannot be allowed to be threatened in such a serious manner during their lawful working day.

“They have to be protected from this type of behaviour. It has very serious implications for society were they not protected,” Judge O’Connor said.

She said she was taking into account the fact that Dumbrell’s early plea meant that the officer knew he would not have to give evidence at trial, which she said would have been particularly difficult and “added to his trauma”.


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