Belfast Telegraph

Prisoner Paul Mahoney who sprayed sex offender with lighter fuel gets more jail time

By Nevin Farrell

An online video pirate who sprayed lighter fuel over a sex offender in Magilligan Prison has been handed a two-month jail term.

Paul Mahoney (30), originally from Carnhill in Londonderry, was in prison for running an internet piracy scam from his bedroom which potentially deprived the film industry of £120m.

Last May, Mahoney sprayed lighter fuel over another sentenced prisoner, although he did not attempt to ignite the fuel and no injuries were caused.

Mahoney appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court via video link from Magilligan yesterday for sentencing, after previously pleading guilty to assaulting the other prisoner on May 11, 2016.

A prosecutor said warders were present and they activated emergency procedures.

Defence barrister Alan Stewart said Mahoney was due for release this September. The barrister said the spraying of lighter fuel seemed to be very serious but said Mahoney did not have the means on him at the time to ignite the fluid.

Mr Stewart said his client was at something of a loss as to why he did it, other than his "head was all over the place" and at the time he indicated he was sorry.

Jailing the defendant for two months, District Judge Rosalie Prytherch said Mahoney had objected to having to share a prison landing with certain types of prisoners and she told him that was "clearly not a matter for you".

In 2015, Mahoney was jailed for four years for running an internet piracy scam from his bedroom and was ordered to serve half of the sentence in prison.

He made almost £300,000 through advertising revenue generated from illegal sites.

These offered access to the latest films and television shows, many before general release.

Mahoney, who is partially-blind, operated the online racket for six years.

In one instance, more than one million films were illegally streamed over a period of six months.

Prosecutor David Groome QC said the money involved in Mahoney's "sophisticated fraud" was "quite staggering".

He highlighted forensic examination of the defendant's computers and internet history that showed in one six-month period, illegal movie copies accessed through his website were viewed 1.1m times. Mr Groome said: "During the six-year life of defendant's business, that equates to something like movies being viewed on 12m occasions. If you consider it is about £10 to go to the cinema or about £10 to buy a brand new DVD upon its release, it means the defendant's websites enabled users of it to view about £120m worth of property."

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