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Busker's killer Barry Cavan in prison suicide

By Allan Preston

Published 16/11/2016

Murder victim Dee Corr
Murder victim Dee Corr

A prisoner who took his own life in Maghaberry yesterday is understood to be killer Barry Cavan, who was serving a life sentence for the savage murder of a busker in 2012.

Cavan was the second prisoner to have taken his own life in the high-security jail in two weeks - and there are fears that more inmates could die at the under-pressure prison.

Cavan, a known alcoholic and drug addict, stabbed his neighbour David 'Dee' Corr (24) 39 times in March 2012 over an argument about loud music.

He had been living in the flat above his victim in the Cuchulainn House tower block in the New Lodge area.

He had drank seven litres of cider and sent a text message to his friend of his intentions to kill popular skateboarder Corr.

After calling 999, Cavan confessed when officers arrived on the scene.

"There's nothing justifies it - I killed him," he said.

"I went down with a knife with the intention of killing him. I didn't think I would actually do it. I just lost it."

One year later, Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice Weir said it was a "brutal, merciless, senseless killing" and sentenced Cavan to at least 13 years in jail.

In August 2015, a prison officer was hospitalised with multiple fractures to his face and hands after being attacked Mr Cavan, then aged 27.

Last night the Prison Service confirmed the death of an inmate, adding that the next of kin have been informed.

The service expressed sympathy to the family and said the PSNI, Coroner and Prisoner Ombudsman would conduct an investigation into the death.

When Cavan was sentenced in 2013, Mr Justice Weir said the defendant had tried to commit suicide, suffered episodes of self-harm and abused drink and drugs from an early age. He added this had led to alcohol dependency and a diagnosis of a personality disorder.

Ulster Unionist MLA and justice spokesperson Doug Beattie expressed his deep regret at the death and called conditions in Maghaberry a "desperate situation".

"No matter what he was in prison for, he had the right to be cared for and kept safe - even from himself," he said.

Finlay Spratt chair of the Prison Officer's Association said he feared more prisoners would die.

"The Justice Minister (Claire Sugden) needs to catch herself on," he added.

"We don't have enough prison officers. You can reduce cost but you'll not stop these deaths. We're supposed to be there to supervise these prisoners, but we can't do the impossible."

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