herald

Wednesday 21 August 2019

'Furious' prisoner headbutted guard after visit refused

Prisoner Gary Freeman left the prison guard with a black eye
Prisoner Gary Freeman left the prison guard with a black eye

A prison inmate headbutted a guard in the face when he became violent and "uncontrollable" during a search.

Gary Freeman (30) struck the Mountjoy Prison guard when he became "furious" after his partner was refused a visit.

The defence maintained the woman and her 12-year-old daughter had been accused of having drugs or a phone hidden "up inside them".

Freeman, of St James Court, Echlin Street, admitted he got annoyed but denied striking the officer.

Judge John Hughes found him guilty and jailed him for eight months, with another month suspended.

Dublin District Court heard an assistant chief officer decided Freeman should be searched on April 16, 2016, after his partner Louise Walsh came to visit and it was suspected she had a package.

The victim said Freeman became violent, jumped up on a bench and started "swinging kicks and punches".

As the officers struggled to take him down, he headbutted the victim, leaving him with a black eye.

Swung

Officers said Freeman was "spoiling for a fight", subjected them to a "torrent of abuse", lunged and swung his arms and legs.

Ms Walsh said an officer asked her and her daughter if they had drugs or a phone "up inside them".

She said her daughter was crying, she "lost it", and was told: "Get the f**k out of my prison."

Freeman said he phoned his partner and she told him what happened. He alleged the victim told him: "Your bird's a cheeky b***h."

He admitted getting annoyed and calling the officer a "dirt bird", but denied hitting him.

"What man isn't going to snap?" he said. "I wish I hit him that day."

The victim denied any of the "obscene" remarks he was alleged to have made and the officers all denied "concocting" their evidence.

The court heard Freeman had looked the victim up on Facebook and the officer was now paranoid travelling to and from work. Freeman had 124 previous convictions.

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