Belfast Telegraph

Prison worker suspended amid probe

A staff member at a Northern Ireland prison has been suspended after a report said a note was planted in the cell of a dissident republican suspect.

A prison officer left personal details about the former governor in the Maghaberry prison unit, Ombudsman Pauline McCabe has claimed.

The information was found in the Co Antrim centre in September 2009. Police have launched an investigation.

Then-governor Steve Rodford resigned a short time later because of fears he was under threat.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: "We have launched a disciplinary investigation into this matter which has been adjourned pending the outcome of a police investigation. A member of staff has been precautionary suspended in accordance with our code of discipline."

Ms McCabe has completed an 18-month investigation into the incident.

She said: "On the balance of probabilities, the note was planted in Mr McConville's cell to try to encourage the governor of Maghaberry Prison to reconsider planned changes he was proposing to make at the prison."

Brendan McConville is charged with the murder of Pc Stephen Carroll in Craigavon two years ago. Shortly before Mr Rodford left, the piece of toilet tissue was discovered in the cell of McConville. It contained the governor's name and car registration.

A lawyer for McConville wrote to the Ombudsman alleging that his client had been set up by staff opposed to change, leading to the investigation.

The police investigation will be undertaken by a district detective, rather than one from the unit involved in the original inquiry.

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