Man accused of baby Hunter McGleenon murder beat up in prison
The suspect is in protective custody
A man charged with murdering a baby in Co Armagh has been beaten up in Maghaberry Prison.
Sharyar Ali (31) was attacked by a fellow lag in the high-security Co Antrim jail after being remanded in custody last weekend accused of killing little Hunter McGleenon in Co Armagh.
The 11-month-old tot died after suffering what a pathologist described as a "non-accidental head injury".
Ali, who was in a relationship with the little boy's mother, denies any part in the killing.
Earlier in the week he was attacked by an inmate in Maghaberry jail who screamed obscenities at him. The Department of Justice has refused to speak about the assault, saying it never comments on individual cases.
However, jail sources were a lot more talkative, telling Sunday Life how Ali was punched to the floor.
"He got the s**t kicked out of him, as soon has the first punch landed he went down," said the insider.
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The baby murder suspect's attacker, who was pulled off him by prison officers, was sent to solitary confinement - otherwise knows as the Special Supervision Unit (SSU).
"Ali curled up in a ball on the floor after he got hit. If it wasn't for the quick actions of the prison officers he would have been beaten to a pulp," added our source.
"The other inmates are queuing up to assault him, it's like a badge of honour among them, they all want to be known as the prisoner who beat up the suspected baby killer."
Since the assault, Ali has been held in protective custody for his own safety. Prison sources say he will have to serve his time on remand in a unit for vulnerable inmates which includes suspected paedophiles and criminals under threat from paramilitary groups.
When Ali first appeared in court last week a prosecutor said the defendant was in sole care of little Hunter McGleenon at a property in Keady, Co Armagh.
The Pakastani businessman initially told police the baby had slept all night, but fell off a sofa onto a concrete floor and he had given him CPR and a cold shower to try to revive him.
A prosecutor said that Ali claimed he went back to sleep, waking at 9.30am when he received a parcel and said he noticed that the child had blue lips.
He claims to have driven Hunter to his mother and told the family that the baby was not able to breathe, at which point they rushed out but he was dead.
The court heard how detectives have earlier CCTV footage of the accused travelling with the child to Dundalk in a "distressed state".
She said from CCTV footage it appeared that Ali had entered a casino on the night and Hunter was left for two hours unattended in the back of a motor vehicle.