Safety in numbers, say inmates, as loyalist teams up with republican thug
Leading loyalist Dee Coleman has forged an unlikely prison friendship with a sex offender and dissident republican rioter.
The 36-year-old, who is behind bars on remand facing serious criminal charges, is now best friends with Jonathan ‘Jonaboy’ Turner.
The pair are being held in the Davis House wing of Maghaberry jail with insiders describing them as “inseparable”.
What is even more surprising to them is that Coleman is a prominent loyalist from Belfast’s Shankill Road while 26-year-old Turner is from the republican Divis area on the opposite side of the peace-line.
“They are always in each other’s company and laughing and joking in their cells,” explained a source.
“The sectarian divisions that mattered to them in the past don’t seem to any longer.”
Other inmates suspect the unlikely bromance is built through necessity — as Coleman is a target for hoods from republican areas, and Turner is hated for being a registered sex offender.
“That’s the reason they are both looking out for each other, because they are afraid of being attacked by other prisoners,” added our source.
“Coleman and Turner are always together when they’re out among the general population. It’s a strange sight, and one that has been commented on by the other inmates.”
Coleman was remanded in custody last November accused of the attempted murder of a man found in a field near Ballymena, and further charges of kidnap and arson.
He had been living in the Co Antrim town since the beginning of 2021 when he left his former home on the Shankill.
Giving evidence at a bail hearing involving another defendant, a police officer said the victim was summoned to Coleman’s flat where there was an argument over alleged drug dealing.
He then accused the loyalist, who denies any wrongdoing, of allegedly holding a knife over a gas hob before using it to stab the victim in the chest “close to his heart” and putting the blade into his mouth and slicing him.
The court also heard claims the injured male, who was under sedation in intensive care for weeks, was ordered to strip and “clean up his own blood” before being dumped in the field.
Coleman’s prison pal Jonathan Turner is serving concurrent jail sentences for taking part in a dissident republican riot and sexually assaulting a woman while she was sleeping.
Last November he was handed a 13-month prison term for throwing bricks at police who were guarding council workers removing materials from a dissident republican bonfire site in west Belfast.
Turner pleaded guilty to charges of rioting and attempting to cause GBH. It was also revealed that he has a previous conviction for stabbing another male with a homemade knife while in Hydebank Young Offenders Centre.
A month later Turner was back in court to receive a 19-month prison sentence for sexual assault.
Craigavon Crown Court was told how he molested his sleeping victim while high on a combination of drugs and alcohol. He initially denied any wrongdoing but DNA found of his fingernails matched that of the vulnerable woman.