DAMNING REPORT DUE ON AXED UNIT
Justice Minister David Ford promised that the findings of a probe into the now closed Prisoner Assessment Unit ( PAU ) would be published by the end of June. But worried prison bosses are now saying that the document will not be made public until later this week, and even then it will be heavily redacted. The PAU was closed in disgrace last year after Sunday Life caught one of its wardens, mum-of-one Ruth Oliver, holding hands in a shop with murderer and rapist Ken Callaghan while he was on day release. We secretly filmed the pair at a supermarket in Belfast. After we handed the footage over to the prison service it immediately shut down the PAU, which was based at the old Crumlin Road jail in Belfast.
The unit housed life sentence inmates, mostly killers and rapists, who were coming to the end of their terms. To prepare them for life on the outside they were freed during the day and in some cases for the entire weekend. After the closure of the PAU in April 2011 the Prison Service launched an in-depth investigation into how it was managed. That probe was completed last July and the findings have been sitting on the desk of David Ford for a year. Despite this, publication is still being delayed leading to speculation that when politicians read it they will call for heads to roll. DUP peer Lord Morrow last night criticised the Justice Ministry’s stalling. He said : ” The PAU closed in April 2011 and the report was completed the following July. ” One year later there is still no published report. This delay is entirely unacceptable.” Sunday Life has knowledge of extracts of the PAU report which make for shocking reading.
IT IS REPORTED
- Prison chiefs knowingly allowed pensioner murderer Gordon Beattie to save up cash to pay off drug dealers who came to the PAU demanding money.
- Killer rapist Ken Callaghan was allowed to leave the PAU at 6.00am in the morning to visit a gym in Belfast city centre.
- Inmates ripped a pay-phone off the wall to steal more than £200.00.
- The wife of a killer was able to go inside the PAU to be examined by doctors.
- The PAU was awash with drugs, particularly steroids.
- Some members of staff turned a blind eye to inmate misbehaviour and allowed them to regularly flaunt the rules.
After the PAU was closed Ruth Oliver resigned and two of its governors were suspended for seven months. But both men are now back at work in Maghaberry Prison. These are the same two high-ranking officers who allowed killer Gordon Beattie to save up money to pay off drug dealers. The arrangement was confirmed by the Prison Service last December when a spokesman told Sunday Life that : ” Staff who had agreed this arrangement with the prisoner had acted inappropriately.” A total of 22 current and former members of PAU staff were spoken to by investigators compiling the report, which Justice Minister David Ford confirmed has not been shown to Prisoner Ombudsman Pauline McCabe. A spokesman for the Department of Justice said he was hopeful the findings of the PAU probe would be published this week.
WITH MANY THANKS TO : CIARAN BARNES, SUNDAY LIFE.
HERE IS THE LINK TO THE REPORTS FINDINGS WHICH HAS BEEN COVERED UP BY BLOCKING OUT MOST OF THE REPORTS FINDINGS : http://www.dojni.gov.uk/de/index/ni-prison-service/nips-publications/reports-reviews-nips/pau-report.pdf
MAN ( 37 ) SIXTH SUICIDE IN PRISON IN 18 MONTHS
A 37-YEAR-OLD man found hanged in his cell at Maghaberry Prison is the sixth person to die by suicide in the North’s jails in 18 months. Niall Oliver Leonard, of Lisnaskea in Co Fermanagh, was found in a collapsed state at about 2am on July 8th.
Staff at the jail near Lisburn, Co Antrim, tried to revive the widowed father-of-two. Police, the coroner and prisoner ombudsman Pauline McCabe have been told of the death. An inquest is expected to be held later. Leonard had been serving a three-month sentence for drink driving after police stopped his car near his home in January. He had been banned from driving at the time. Northern Ireland Prison Service director-general Sue McAllister, who took up her post the other few weeks, extended her sympathies to the Leonard’s family. ” This is a tragedy and my thoughts are with them at this difficult time,” she said. Leonard is the second prisoner to die in Maghaberry in less than two weeks. Christopher Stokes (37) was found dead at Maghaberry’s Erne House on June 25. He had been serving a 20-year sentence for his part in the murder of John Mongan in West Belfast in 2008. Stokes had been assessed previously as being vulnerable and at risk of self-harm.
WITH MANY THANKS TO : CLAIRE SIMPSON, IRISH NEWS.
PRISON NURSE TOLD THROAT WOULD BE CUT
A CRAZED knifeman threatened to slit the throat of a prison nurse behind bars. He was desperate for drugs kept in a locked cabinet.
The terrified nurse – the wife of a top official in the Prison Officers’ Association (POA) – was taken hostage at knifepoint in a terrifying incident at Maghaberry Prison on July 13th, we can reveal. Knife – wielding drug addict Tony McCrea held a ” homemade ” knife to the throat of a psychiatric nurse working in the prison hospital at Maghaberry jail. The 26-year-old criminal – who was jailed earlier this year for robbing chemists armed with a knife – demanded the keys to the drugs cabinet but was overpowered after a six hour stand-off.
It’s believed prison staff had to use pepper spray on the crazed inmate – the first time the spray has ever been used on a prisoner in Northern Ireland. The 56-year-old female nurse – who has worked at the jail for over 30 years – was taken to nearby Lagan Valley Hospital where she was treated for shock. ” McCrea wanted the keys to the drug cupboard and he must have planed his attack because he had made a crude knife,” said a jail source. ” He used a bic biro pen and melted the the end and then attached a razor blade to the melted part effectively making a short barrel cut throat razor. ” Then he sneaked up behind the nurse and grabbed her and put the blade to her throat, she was petrified. ” He took her into the medical room and kicked the door shut. He wanted access to the morphine cabinet.” McCrea was overpowered by a special team of prison officers using riot equipment. It’s believed he was staying permanently in the prison hospital in an effort to be weaned off illegal drugs. ” The nurse was taken to hospital and was shaking very badly but thankfully was otherwise not injured,” said our source. ” She’s in a bad way but it could have been a lot worse. McCrea was pinned to the floor and he’s in isolation now.”
WITH MANY THANKS TO : STEVEN MOORE, SUNDAY WORLD.