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Monday 18 December 2017

Killer among four prisoners in sex allegations against officer

Mountjoy Prison
Mountjoy Prison

A convicted killer and three other former inmates of Mountjoy Prison's female wing are set to make explosive allegations that they were preyed upon sexually by a predatory prison officer.

The allegations against the officer, who served as a recruit guard at the Dochas Centre between 2012 and 2014, include the claim that he engaged in a full-blown sexual relationship with one inmate while she was behind bars.

Three other inmates have also alleged they were the subjects of inappropriate sexual behaviour in the Dublin prison.

Killing

The four inmates are Galway woman Una Black, who served an eight-year sentence for killing her neighbour in a row over a puppy; Kildare accountant Alix Long, who served a 16-month sentence for stealing €80,000 from her employer; Offaly woman Bernie Spain, who was jailed for shoplifting; and a woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, who served a sentence for child cruelty offences.

A long-running Sunday World investigation revealed:

- Black alleges the officer abused his position by conducting a two-year affair with her in the prison, beginning when "she felt most vulnerable".

- Locations where the officer allegedly orchestrated sexual liaisons were in Black's room in one of the jail's self-contained "houses" for trusted prisoners, and a cleaning supplies room.

- The recruit officer's contract with the Irish Prison Service was not extended and he is no longer employed by the IPS;

- The allegations of all four women are likely to be aired in the High Court as sources say the IPS is contesting their claims.

A source confirmed that solicitors for Black, who was pregnant when she arrived in the Dochas and gave birth while incarcerated, will allege the officer began the relationship in 2012, when she was in a vulnerable state having just been refused parole.

Black initiated legal proceedings against the IPS and the Dochas Centre Governor.

Informed

"Una didn't realise that there was anything wrong or there was an imbalance of power in the relationship," said a source.

"He put his arm around her when she was at a particularly vulnerable point and the relationship developed from there.

"It wasn't until another inmate approached her and told her she wasn't the only inmate with whom this officer was involved, that she says she realised this guy was a predator and made a formal complaint."

It was reported Black complained directly to the prison's highest authorities in December 2013 and the officer was subsequently removed from duty.

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