Belfast Telegraph

Prisoner found dead in cell at Maghaberry prison

By Claire Williamson

A 34-year-old prisoner has been found dead in a cell in Maghaberry prison.

The PSNI, Coroner and Prisoner Ombudsman have launched investigations into the death.

A postmortem is due to be carried out later.

Acting Prison Service Director General Phil Wragg said: "I would like to extend my sympathy and that of the Northern Ireland Prison Service to the family of the prisoner. My thoughts are with them at this difficult time."

This is the third death in the high security prison this month.

On November 15 Barry Cavan who was serving a life sentence for the savage murder of a busker in 2012, died by suicide.

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.

On November 5, Gerard Mulligan died by suicide.

Gerard Mulligan (44) was charged with the murder of his father, also called Gerard, in Limehurst Way, Lisburn on September 29 after his body was discovered in a car boot outside his house.

Read more:

Belfast man Gerard Mulligan who took his own life after killing his dad was 'deeply troubled soul, not a monster', says partner 

Busker's killer Barry Cavan in prison suicide

The justice spokesman for the Ulster Unionist Party said the death "confirms there is a crisis" within the Northern Ireland prison system.

Doug Beattie MC MLA said: "First of all our sympathies must go to the family of the prisoner who has been found dead in his cell at Maghaberry.  Whatever the exact circumstance was, it is simply not acceptable that people who are incarcerated within a state institution are dying on such a regular basis.  This is the third fatality in the month of November.  That fact alone must surely shake away any complacency amongst those in charge of our prison system. 

“I repeat what I have said before; there is a crisis in our prison service which deserves the full attention of the Executive, the Minister for Justice, and prison management. There is an immediate need to increase staffing levels to a safe standard and instigate safety measures requested by HMP Maghaberry Prison Officer Association when they met with the FM on 10 October 2016.

"How many more prisoners have to lose their lives before our Executive realises there is a real crisis within our prisons and our Prison Service that will not go away until decisive and strategic action is taken?"

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