herald

Thursday 21 September 2017

Prison 'killing' witness caged 23 hours a day

A WIDOWER who was under 23-hour lock-up after he allegedly witnessed a murder told how it was having a severe impact on his mental health.

Thomas Nalty said threats have been made on his life by a number of people and was been under "constant watch" in Wheatfield Prison after he saw a murder take place.

A court heard that the victim and alleged culprit were known to Nalty, who is now living in constant fear for his safety.

He told Cloverhill District Court he could not stay locked up much longer, as he is incarcerated for 23 hours a day, and this was having a serious impact on his health and sanity.

Nalty was released from custody after a judge said he could not understand why the probation service had failed to prepare a report, despite a number of reports being requested.

Judge John Lindsay released Nalty from custody, so that a proper report can be prepared.

The defendant, who stays at a city centre hostel, must obey bail conditions, including a daily sign-on condition. He must also observe a curfew between 10pm and 8am.



Burglaries

The defendant admitted to a number of burglaries, including the theft of €800 cash from a Dublin city centre hotel on January 3.

A garda witness said Nalty went behind the reception desk, opened drawers and took an envelope with €800 cash. The incident was captured on CCTV and he later admitted to stealing the money, which has not been recovered.

Nalty also broke into a city centre office on December 30 and took €20 from a drawer.

Defence solicitor Yvonne Bambury said Nalty had been under 23-hour lock-up and had been living under "extremely draconian conditions" in Wheatfield Prison.

She said he had to be moved to Wheatfield from Cloverhill Prison after he received a number of death threats from other prisoners after witnessing a murder.

Ms Bambury said Nalty's partner died suddenly 18 months ago, and his drink problem escalated as he struggled to cope with his grief.

She said Nalty saw his future as "bleak" without his partner.

Judge Lindsay ordered a probation report and adjourned sentencing to a future date.

ecotter@herald.ie

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