herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Prisoner killed with knife he had just used to make an apple pie

prison

Graham Johnson
Graham Johnson

THE weapon involved in the fatal stabbing of a 41-year-old inmate in Cork Prison had been used by the deceased seconds earlier in the preparation of an apple pie in the jail's kitchen.

Three separate investigations are currently under way into the fatal attack on Graham Johnson in Cork Prison's kitchen on May 16.

Mr Johnson suffered a fatal stab wound to his chest before prison staff were able to intervene and separate him from his assailant.

Mr Johnson was subjected to the assault after a minor disagreement earlier about a TV remote control.

The dispute was over whether horse-racing or Steven Gerrard's last match at Anfield for Liverpool should be watched on the TV in the prison kitchen.

Tragically, the victim - who was serving a four-year sentence for theft - was scheduled to be released in just four weeks having completed his sentence at Cork Prison.

Mr Johnson, who was from Bandon in west Cork, had told prison officials he planned to rebuild his life.

He had received help for a serious gambling problem while in custody.

The attack was immediately stopped by brave Cork Prison staff but not before Mr Johnson had sustained critical injuries.

No prison officers were injured. The entire incident lasted only a matter of seconds.

Both prisoners were working near the kitchens as 'trustee inmates' or prisoners who have earned special privileges due to good behaviour.

Mr Johnson had just finished preparing an apple pie for the evening prison meal.

He had left the knife he had used on a counter-top.

This was grabbed and used by his assailant in the fatal attack.

The knife is currently undergoing garda forensic tests.

Gardai arrested a 30-year-old man last Friday for questioning in relation to the stabbing.

He was questioned for 24 hours at Mayfield Garda Station before being released without charge. He was then returned to a high-security prison isolation unit.

A file will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Mr Johnson died in Cork Prison before he could be transferred by ambulance to Cork University Hospital (CUH).

He suffered a significant chest injury as well as major blood loss. The incident was witnessed by a number of inmates and prison staff.

All were deeply shocked by the speed and unprovoked nature of the attack.

An investigation is now under way into the incident by gardai, the Irish Prison Service and the Irish Prison Inspectorate.

The prisoner suspected of involvement in the attack has a history of violence.

He is also a chronic drug addict. The man is described as being volatile.

Mr Johnson was said by prison sources to be "a model prisoner" and someone who "wouldn't hurt a fly".

PRISON

He received a prison sentence in November 2011 from Cork Circuit Criminal Court for a series of thefts related to personal gambling problems.

Mr Johnson was a chronic gambler whose addiction issues began at just 14 years of age.

He was handed a five-year prison term, with the final 12 months suspended, after he pleaded guilty to stealing €19,000 to feed his gambling habit.

Mr Johnson stole €1,620 in cash, €1,500 in gold jewellery and €1,500 in cheques from a Mallow goldsmith in April 2011.

He also pleaded guilty to stealing €3,000 in cash and €12,000 from a firm in west Cork where he was working.

The latter incidents occurred in 2007.

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