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  2011 news



Man who headbutted prison officer in court is jailed for four months
Wexford People 28 October, 2011
A MAN who headbutted a prison officer in open court after he 'took exception' to being told to be quiet has been sentenced to four months in prison.

Thomas Hendy (29), of Mullinagower, Castlebridge, was back in the courthouse in Ardcavan on Monday where he pleaded guilty to a charge of assaulting Seamus Wilson on September 8, 2010.

Inspector Pat McDonald told Wexford District Court that Hendy appeared before the court on the date in question in the custody of two prison officers, as he was serving a sentence at the time.

'He took exception to being told to be quiet during court proceedings and launched himself at one of the officers, Seamus Wilson, headbutting him in the face,' said Inspector McDonald.

The prison officers required the help of a number of Gardaí to restrain Hendy and take him back to the waiting prison van outside.

Inspector McDonald said that Mr Wilson sustained a cut to his nose and was knocked to the ground. His shirt was ripped extensively during the assault by Hendy and his mobile phone was also damaged.

Judge William Earley heard that Hendy has 78 previous convictions and is currently in custody in Mountjoy Prison. He is due to be released in July 2013.

Ed King, for Hendy, said his client has a serious drug habit, which began at 12 and escalated at the age of 15 when he started taking cocaine, speed and ecstasy.

Mr King said that Hendy has spent a substantial part of his life in prison, but was previously a talented footballer and artist in his youth, with a scholarship to the National College of Art & Design available to him at one stage. His family had high hopes for him, Mr King said, but he chose a different path. 'Drugs took a hold of this man's life,' he said.

Judge Earley said that Hendy's behaviour in court that day was 'intolerable' and he sentenced


Suffolk prisoner wins legal review over searches
EDP 24 EADT lift Thursday, October 27, 2011 1:37 PM
A murderer has won the first stage of his human rights challenge to rub-down searches by female prison officers - which he says make him “embarrassed and uncomfortable”.
James Dowsett was jailed for life in 1989 after he was convicted of the murder of Christopher Nugent, whose body was found with two shotgun wounds to the head in Mildenhall, Suffolk, in 1987.

Now in his mid-60s and still behind bars, Dowsett is mounting a publicly-funded claim against the Ministry of Justice - arguing their policy of allowing only female and religious minority prisoners to choose who they are “rubbed-down” by is discriminatory and violates his human rights.

Despite saying she had “significant reservations” about his claims, Mrs Justice Thirlwall granted Dowsett permission to mount a full judicial review of the Ministry’s nationwide policy on searching prisoners.

Dowsett was found guilty of the murder of his business partner by a jury at Norwich Crown Court in 1989. The prosecution case was that he paid two men more than £7,500 to carry out the killing.

Having now served his 21-year minimum term, but failing to win parole, Dowsett is being held at HMP Highpoint, in Stradishall, Suffolk, where he suffers from ill health and recently underwent an operation on his pancreas, London’s High Court was told.

Dowsett’s lawyers argue the rub down searches prisoners are subjected to in jail amount to more than a “cursory skimming” of a convict’s clothes.

His barrister, Adam Straw, told the court: “The rub-down searches involve staff touching the prisoner’s intimate areas, including around his crotch, and often touching bare skin beneath the trouser waistline.

“They make the claimant embarrassed and uncomfortable. They have been repeated about 1,500 times over an extended period and he has particular health concerns which make such searches even more uncomfortable.”

Current prison policy means women inmates must only be searched by female warders, while male prisoners with “religious


By Daily Mail Reporter Last updated at 9:58 PM on 25th October 2011
A judge has slammed a prison for its relaxed attitudes as he jailed a female prison officer who admitted having an intimate relationship with an inmate.

Shamed Rachael Klein, 29, kissed and cuddled manslaughter convict Steven Chapman, 27, and exchanged a series of love letters with him.

She also claimed she smuggled tobacco into the prison for him, let him use the telephone in her office and allowed him to watch her access confidential prisoner records.

The blonde senior officer, the daughter of prison governors, had begun her affair with Chapman in January last year.

She continued to write letters to him, sometimes twice a day and during her shifts at the prison, even after getting engaged to another prison officer the following month.

After hearing evidence of a seemingly relaxed attitude at HMP Lindholme in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, judge Recorder Carl Gumsley urged authorities to investigate the so-called 'Lindholme syndrome.'

Tim Savage, mitigating for Klein, told the judge his client had seen other prison officers, including her supervisors, smuggle in tobacco for inmates.

He said: 'This is a prison which seemingly has a reputation for a very relaxed attitude. Those who clean are routinely rewarded by being given tobacco.'

As he sentenced Klein to 18 months in prison after she admitted misconduct in a public office, the judge said: 'I have heard (the term) 'Lindholme syndrome'.

'It's quite clear that there was an air of informality in the way people were spoken to. I urge that the authorities investigate what was going on in this prison and if these allegations are true, they are dealt with accordingly.'

He said he had 'raised an eyebrow' when he heard a prisoner say in evidence at a previous


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