Friday 15 November 2019

Out for a stroll - Most dangerous prisoner in Ireland back on streets

Violent criminal Leon Wright walks along the street in north Dublin after his release from prison last Friday
Violent criminal Leon Wright walks along the street in north Dublin after his release from prison last Friday

This is the country's most dangerous prisoner out for a stroll in the capital after being released from prison where he had been serving time for a series of terrifying crimes.

Leon Wright (31) this week had his first taste of freedom since he ran amok with a knife off Dublin's Grafton Street in 2013.

He walked along a residential street in north Dublin taking mouthfuls from a soft-drink can and pulling on a cigarette as he began to re-adjust to life outside after his release from prison on Friday.

Passers-by were oblivious to the fact they were within a few feet of a man who, until just a few hours before, was regarded as the most dangerous man in the Irish prison system.

Terrifying

Until his release this week, he had been one of the handful of inmates detained in the €2.7m Violence Reduction Unit at the Midlands Prison.

Wright was taken from the prison this week and taken to an apartment in Dublin, according to Herald sources.

The Irish Prison Service had attempted various approaches to help control his terrifying rages, including the use of a Playstation games console, a fish tank and access to a garden.

At his most recent court appearance, in which he had faced charges of attacking prison staff, Wright was accompanied in court by five prison officers in riot gear.

In that case in March 2017, he was given an extra six months for assaulting three prison officers as he attempted to headbutt 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.

Leon Wright
Leon Wright

Wright claimed that in the incident, at Wheatfield Prison in 2013, he had been stripped and beaten by staff. After he was acquitted, he gave a thumbs-up to the two TDs.

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.

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

The remark came as the judge imposed a sentence of 13 years for a series of violent crimes including robbery, hijacking, assault and threatening to kill gardai.

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