herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Former prisoner found not guilty of murder in 'Joy

A former Mountjoy inmate has walked free from court after being acquitted of murdering another inmate almost four years ago.

Declan O'Reilly (31), of Parnell Road in Crumlin, bowed his head and broke down in tears as the jury returned the not guilty verdict at the Central Criminal Court yesterday.

He had denied murdering Derek Glennon in a ground-floor corridor of Mountjoy in June 2007.

The 24-year-old died after being stabbed through the heart to a depth of up to 9.5cm. He was also stabbed through the lung, stomach and arm.



Footage

Mr Glennon's father and family members walked from the courtroom as soon as the not guilty verdict was returned.

During the three-day trial, the jury had viewed CCTV footage of the fight between Mr O'Reilly and Mr Glennon. It showed the two engaged in a sudden and brief struggle, before prison staff arrive on the scene and separate them.

Mr O'Reilly later told Gardai that Mr Glennon had been bullying him for months, forcing him to hide syringes, drugs and mobile phones, punching him and threatening to have his brother shot.

He said he was terrified to leave his cell every day.

On the evening of June 25, 2007, Mr O'Reilly said he went to Mr Glennon's cell to ask him to take back a knife he had been hiding for him.

He said Mr Glennon became angry and through gritted teeth said: "Get the f*** away from me. I'm going to cut your throat, you little rat."

The two then walked towards the yard where Mr O'Reilly said he thought Mr Glennon was going to cut him or give him a "stripe". The court heard a stripe is a cut to the face with an item that's been sharpened into a blade so it tears a strip out of the skin, leaving a permanent scar.

Mr O'Reilly told Gardai he felt he had to "get" Mr Glennon before he got him. "He wouldn't leave me alone. He was texting my brother saying he would cut me up," he said. Gardai asked when Mr O'Reilly had decided to stab him, and he replied: "At the cell when he told me to get the f**k away."

John Farrell, a prison officer, also told the jury it was his belief Mr Glennon was bullying Mr O'Reilly. He described Mr Glennon as a difficult and disruptive inmate, whose prison records showed he would frequently conceal weapons and phones in his cell.

He had been serving a five-year sentence for manslaughter, and had threatened prison staff and attacked other inmates on numerous occasions.

Before they began their deliberations, the prosecution urged the jury not to overlook Mr Glennon's right to life.



Unattractive

"You owe it to Derek Glennon, unattractive as he may be, out of respect to his right to life, to examine very carefully the claims made by the accused man," Mr Anthony Sammon, for the prosecution, cautioned them.

But Mr O'Reilly's defence lawyer, Mr Paul McDermott, asked the jury to consider the fact that Mr O'Reilly was in jail on road traffic offences, and would have finished his sentence a year after the incident.

"You might ask yourselves where's the gain in putting yourself in the way of a life sentence for murder when you know you'll be out in July 2008... what set of circumstances removed that logic?" he said, asking the jury to take on board Mr O'Reilly's state of mind and his fear of Mr Glennon.

Following their deliberations, the jury unanimously agreed he was not guilty.

hnews@herald.ie

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