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Sunday Life

Ex-Northern Ireland prison officer accused of attempting to stab her lover to death

Woman facing charges previously won £100k for unfair dismissal

Laganside Magistrates’ Court
Laganside Magistrates’ Court
Ciaran Barnes

By Ciaran Barnes

An ex-prison officer who won a £100,000 payout for unfair dismissal has appeared in court charged with attempting to murder her lover.

Zoe Crowe is accused of trying to kill Maurice Ferguson - a senior officer at Maghaberry Prison - during a domestic incident on November 22.

She is alleged to have stabbed him in the torso and assaulted him while having in her possession a knife with the intention to commit murder.

Crowe, with an address in Co Antrim, was in the dock of Laganside Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday asking for her bail to be varied.

However, the application was refused and her case was put back until January 13.

Crowe made headlines in 2011 when she was unfairly sacked from her job at Maghaberry Prison on Christmas Eve.

Her dismissal, which was revealed in a courier-delivered letter to her home, came after a Department of Justice investigation into alleged misconduct at the high-security jail.

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Speaking to Sunday Life just days after getting the axe, the 42-year-old said: “I can’t talk about it. I’m legally bound, as there will be an appeal to it.”

Ms Crowe’s work troubles began in November 2011 when she was led out of Maghaberry Prison by security staff and suspended from duty.

Sources told Sunday Life that details of her dismissal seven weeks later on Christmas Eve were displayed on the staff notice board.

This led to Ms Crowe taking a case with the Northern Ireland Civil Service appeal board which found she had been the victim of unfair dismissal.

In 2012, she was awarded £100,000 in compensation that also took into consideration six months of lost pay.

She was supported throughout the process by DUP peer Lord Morrow, who said: “This lady has been through a dreadful ordeal and the manner in which she was treated was appalling and degrading.”

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