Three prison officers face a nervous wait for HIV tests after they were bitten by a convicted rapist during a shocking attack behind bars.
Independent.ie can reveal that the dangerous sex offender Lovemore Dube (28) bit one officer "through to the bone" and also broke another worker's fingers during the violent assault at the Midlands Prison in Portlaoise yesterday evening.
Rapist Dube previously told a woman he was HIV Positive and had hepatitis C after a horrific sex attack in Cork in July 2012.
Rapist Dube, who is originally from Zimbabwe, became aggressive after demanding medication at a time that it was not due to be dispensed.
Dube refused to leave the area and became "extremely aggressive" when officers attempted to move him.
A senior source explained that Dube bit three officers - breaking the skin on two.
"He bit one lad through to the bone on his forearm. He bit the second officer on the hand - breaking one of his fingers.
"A third officer was also bitten but it is not clear at this stage if the skin was broken."
Dube 's medical status is unknown and officers will now have to undergo tests to determine if there has been any infection.
However, the convicted criminal told a woman he was HIV Positive and had hepatitis C.
The officers were all brought to hospital where they received medical treatment last night.
Gardai have been called in and an investigation is now underway into the attack.
Dube was jailed for seven years after he pleaded guilty to raping a middle-aged woman at her home in Cork four years ago.
He had tricked his way into the woman's home by pretending he was her partner when he knocked on her door.
During the brutal assault the Dube slapped the woman and bit her breasts. She also had to undergo tests for HIV and hepatitis because of what the court heard was an incident in the man's past.
A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said: "We can confirm that an incident occurred last night at the Midlands prison in which a number of staff were injured.
"Experienced prison staff attempted to bring a non-compliant prisoner under control using appropriate control and restraint (C&R) techniques. And unfortunately in the struggle to restrain the prisoner a number of staff were injured.
"The matter is currently being investigated by management at the prison and has been reported to gardai.
"The Prison service commended the staff for the professional manner in which they brought the situation under control.
"Appropriate support has been made available to all staff."
The incident occurred on the sex offenders landing (E-Wing) of the jail shortly after 5pm yesterday.
Three staff were brought to hospital with serious bite injuries and a number of others suffered minor injuries.
The Midlands prison was in the news last week when it emerged that authorities had built a garden worth between €30,000 and €40,000.
Convicted killer Warren Dumbrell is to be the main beneficiary of the horticulture area.
Jim Mitchell, Deputy General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association, has condemned this latest attack: "This highlights again the issues we raised at our conference last week regarding the dangerous and difficult job that we do every day "Our thoughts are with the officers and their families that have a worrying and painful wait ahead of them."