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Maghaberry inmates angry at convict's 'cushy' job painting a court

Trevor Lowry

A STRIPPER turned drug dealer was granted special leave from jail so he could paint the walls of Lisburn courthouse.

Prison sources have hit out at the cushy treatment afforded to Trevor Lowry who is serving a seven-and-a-half year sentence after being caught with £1.2m of cocaine.

As part of the 39-year-old's working out programme, to prepare him for life outside his cell at Maghaberry, he was tasked with repainting the courtrooms in Lisburn.

Also given the plum position was machete thug Simon Esler (30) from Carnlough, who is coming to the end of a three-and-a-half year sentence for attacking a bouncer outside a Ballyclare pub.

A Prison Service spokesman refused to talk about the case, saying it has a strict policy of never commenting on named individuals. But jail sources were more vocal, accusing the criminal pair of being treated with "kid gloves".

"Lowry especially has been boasting about how easy he is finding prison because he is being let out to do cushy work painting courthouses," said one insider.

"You would think that a drug dealer caught with £1.2m of cocaine would be severely dealt with once he was sent to jail, when in fact the truth couldn't be any different.

"Lowry is rubbing it in the other prisoners' faces, at least Esler has been a bit more self-aware and didn't make a big deal of it."

Explaining its pre-release programme, a Prison Service spokesman said: "Those people approaching the end of their sentence are often tested prior to release back into the community.

"After being fully risk-assessed, they begin a graduated release programme into the community, firstly under supervision then progressing to short time-bounded periods of unaccompanied release where they work in the community. Preparing people for release is a vital part of rehabilitation, as it reduces their risk of re-offending which helps to make the community safer."

Former stripper Lowry, who is currently banged up on the Braid House wing of Maghaberry Prison, is hated by other inmates who regard him as a "tout".

That is because after he was caught with five kilos of cocaine, which police say had a street value of up to £1.2m, he named a senior figure in his drug-dealing gang.

This individual, a North Antrim UDA gunman, was referred to in court by his nickname 'The Nazi' during one of Lowry's bail hearings.

A solicitor for the drug dealer made the claim that his client had been "entrapped", saying: "He (Lowry) has given the name of a person who asked him to do this task - we will call him 'The Nazi', that's what he's known as to police."

Lowry, who is from Belfast but was living in Carrickfergus at the time of his arrest, was caught with the £1.2m cocaine haul after cops stopped his car on the Templepatrick Road near Doagh, Co Antrim, in May 2017.

Jailed alongside him for eight years was Anthony McGuigan (31), from Thyme Park in Antrim town. They both pleaded guilty to several drug offences, including possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

Lowry's painter pal Simon Esler, who was picked to redecorate Lisburn courthouse with him, was caged for three-and-a-half years in 2017 for attacking a bouncer with a machete. He was convicted of unlawful wounding, GBH and possessing an offensive weapon after a five-day trial.

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Belfast Telegraph