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Thursday 5 December 2019

'Most dangerous' back in court on Garda car charge

Leon Wright outside court
Leon Wright outside court

A Dublin man known as Ireland's most dangerous prisoner has been charged with damaging a garda car after being arrested for threatening and abusive behaviour and being drunk in Dublin city centre.

Leon Wright (31), of Clonshaugh Avenue, appeared before Dublin District Court yesterday.

Judge Bryan Smyth heard that Wright was arrested on Parnell Street on September 16 and taken to Store Street Garda Station.

Terrifying

The court presenting sergeant told Judge Smyth that Wright was charged with being intoxicated in a public place, threatening and abusive behaviour, obstructing a garda, damaging the internal panel of the back passenger door of a garda car, and acting violently in Store Street Garda Station.

The court heard that CCTV from Parnell Street would form part of the case, and that the value of the damage to the garda vehicle had yet to be established.

Wright was remanded on continuing bail to appear at the court again on November 20. Wright has spent long spells behind bars for extreme violence and terrifying crimes.

While in jail he also attacked prison staff and a governor.

He was freed at the beginning of September after being jailed in 2013 for attacking two people with a knife on Dublin's Grafton Street.

Wright had been one of a handful of inmates detained in the €2.7m Violence Reduction Unit at the Midlands Prison.

He had been subjected to strict control behind bars because of his propensity for violence.

The Irish Prison Service had attempted various approaches to help control his temper, including giving him the use of a PlayStation games console, and a fish tank and access to a garden to try to calm him.

At a previous court appearance, in which he had faced charges of attacking prison staff, Wright was accompanied in court by five prison officers dressed in riot gear.

In that case, in March 2017, he was given an extra six months for assaulting three prison officers as he tried to butt the governor of the Midlands Prison.

Independent TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly had supported Wright when he appeared in the Dublin District Court in October 2016 in another case where he was accused of assaulting prison staff.

Robbery

Wright claimed that in the incident, at Wheatfield Prison in 2013, he had been stripped and beaten by staff.

After he was acquitted of the charges he gave a thumbs up to the two TDs as he was led away to be brought back to prison.

Between his stints behind bars Wright has clocked up 106 convictions, including 30 assault, firearms and robbery offences.

He has also had more than 250 breaches of prison discipline recorded against him.

It has previously been heard in court how Wright embarked on his criminal career at 14, when he stole a phone while living on the streets, before getting his first lengthy jail sentence at the age of 18.

In April 2013, while on bail for assaulting two gardai, he stabbed a Mauritian national with a 25-inch knife as he walked along Chatham Row, Dublin.

He also assaulted and robbed another couple, and later told gardai that he had been aiming for the second victim's organs in the attack.

Wright claimed he had tried to kill the man, "but his bird got in the way".

At a 2007 trial when Wright was aged 18 he was described by Judge Michael White as a "very dangerous teenager".

In 2017 Judge Catherine Staines, who heard an assault case against him at Portlaoise, asked: "I really wonder is prison the best place for him, would the Central Mental Hospital not be a more suitable place for him?"

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