Two prison officers hurt by inmates wielding a brush handle

Two prison officers received injuries yesterday after an inmate launched an unprovoked attack in Mountjoy Prison.

One officer suffered blows to his shoulder, while a second was struck in the head. Both were brought to hospital, but the injuries are not thought to be serious.

In what is the latest episode of violence in Irish prisons, two prisoners attacked the staff members as they were carrying out their morning duties.

It follows the vicious assault on a female nurse last Tuesday, in which a convicted murderer punched her in the face as she entered the prisoner’s cell in Wheatfield Prison.

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Mountjoy Prison has the highest number of assaults — both by prisoners on each other and inmates on staff —in the prison system.

Yesterday’s attack occurred on the A1 landing in what was described by sources as a “totally unprovoked” assault.

“Two officers were attacked by two inmates using brush handles,” said one prison source. “The officers were clearing the landing to get prisoners from their cells to the places of work and gym.” He said one officer received head injuries, while the second suffered injuries to his shoulder.

A second source confirmed the incident took place, at 10.30am. It was captured in part on Mountjoy CCTV.

This showed a prisoner sweeping the landing when a second inmate approached and took the brush off him. He placed his foot on the head of the brush and stamped on it, and ripped the handle off.

The prisoner then swung the brush handle and struck an officer on the upper arm.

Other staff members jumped in and subdued the inmate and took him away.

The prisoner was shouting and laughing as he was taken away. It was at this stage that another inmate picked up the handle and threw it at an officer, hitting him in the head.

The two staff members were taken to hospital, but the injuries are not believed to be serious.

There were 144 assaults by inmates on prison officers in 2014, compared to 147 in 2013. The biggest number last year was in Mountjoy, with 30.

Mountjoy also had the greatest number of assaults by prisoners on fellow prisoners in 2014, accounting for 96 of the 564 such attacks.

Last Tuesday, convicted murderer Jeffrey Dumbrell punched a female nurse in the face as she entered his cell at Wheatfield Prison.

Last weekend, Graham Johnson, aged 41, described as a “model inmate”, was stabbed to death in Cork Prison by a fellow prisoner.

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