herald

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Prisoner's granny hoisted up to roof to talk him down

Cloverhill Prison Inmate disruption
Cloverhill Prison Inmate disruption

The grandmother of a protesting inmate was lifted up in a hoist to try to talk him down from a prison roof, a court has heard.

Eric Harcourt (22) climbed onto the roof of Cloverhill Prison, using clothing that other prisoners had tossed up to prevent himself being injured by the razor wire.

He remained on the roof for hours with another inmate, Dean Byrne (25).

Both inmates refused attempts from the prison negotiator and both their grandmothers to persuade them to come down.

Harcourt, of Belcamp Grove, Priorswood, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to violent disorder at Cloverhill Prison, Clondalkin, Dublin, on July 29, 2015.

Judge Martin Nolan imposed a six-month sentence consecutive to Harcourt's current jail term, which is due to expire in April 2019.

Harcourt has 74 previous convictions and was on remand at the time for an offence of endangerment, for which he received a four-and-a-half-year jail term.

Detective Garda Donal Daly told Roisin Lacey, prosecuting, that the riot had broken out in the prison yard after up to 64 inmates had been "expressing disgruntlement" about disciplinary matters.

He said a prison officer saw Harcourt helping to carry one of the yard's goal posts to a nearby observational hub, where it was used to smash the windows and rip razor wire off the roof.

Prison officers then saw ­Harcourt climb onto the roof and smash windows with a long metal pole. Water hoses were deployed to prevent other prisoners climbing up.

Debris

Det Gda Daly said Harcourt was seen throwing "debris" onto prison officers below and that he smashed an aerial that had been connected to a pipe.

Prison officers used hoists to get the negotiator and ­Harcourt's grandmother up to roof level in a bid to get him to come down once the violent disorder had abated.

Harcourt eventually descended at 1.30am. The riot had begun at around 11am the ­previous day.

Ronan Munro, defending, asked the judge not to "close the door completely" on his client when passing the mandatory consecutive sentence.

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