A murder investigation is being launched after a 34-year-old man who suffered serious head injuries following an ongoing assault in his Mountjoy prison cell died in hospital last night.
Senior sources say the horrific injuries sustained by Robert O’Connor, 34, from Darndale, north of the capital, in Friday night’s attack mean he would never survive.
The ventilator that kept him alive at Dublin’s Mater Hospital was switched off last night and detectives at Mountjoy Garda Station are now preparing to launch a murder investigation.
All four inmates who entered the victim’s cell Friday night before O’Connor was brutally beaten have been identified on CCTV and separated from all other prisoners.
Gardaí have not yet interrogated them and they are all expected to be transferred to other prisons that are distant from each other.
“The investigative team is in no rush into this matter because none of those involved will be going anywhere other than the prison system any time soon and gardaí have plenty of time to gather evidence of what actually happened,” a senior source said.
“A large number of theories are being explored as to what happened, including whether the victim was targeted over an alleged sexual assault that occurred prior to his incarceration, a dispute in the prison system, a drug guilt he had possibly owed, or whether it was collaborators of a Finglas criminal he allegedly had on his way to his target when he was caught with a gun last year.
“This is a long list but every possible motive is being investigated and in this case Gardaí are in no rush before suspects are questioned,” the source explained.
In a statement, the Irish Prison Service said it could confirm the prisoner seriously injured in an incident at Mountjoy Prison has died.
“The Irish Prison Service would like to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends at this time. The incident remains under investigation by the Irish Prison Service and the Gardaí.
“In addition, all deaths in custody will be investigated by the Inspector of Prisons.”
O’Connor had been sentenced to six and a half years in prison just two days before the attack after admitting possession of a semi-automatic pistol in Finglas, Dublin last October.
The Snowdrop Walk victim, Darndale, Dublin 17, was not a major player in any of the prominent criminal gangs but he did suffer from serious drug problems.
Of the suspects identified, one is linked to the Kinahan cartel while another is serving a lengthy prison sentence for aggravated burglary.
All come from the north of the capital and are considered extremely violent criminals.
North Downtown Kinahan associate is serving a sentence in connection with the attempted murder of a Hutch associate.
He was also arrested in connection with a gang killing last year.
O’Connor was attacked by several inmates in his cell in the C Wing of Mountjoy Prison at 5.40pm on Friday.
After the attack, O’Connor was taken to Mater Hospital, where he was kept alive on a ventilator after being diagnosed with a serious brain injury that was originally scheduled to be knocked out on Monday.
O’Connor had been held in custody at Cloverhill Prison since last October but was transferred to Mountjoy in February after being sentenced to six months in prison for another offence.
On Wednesday he pleaded guilty in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of a semi-automatic pistol on October 13, 2021 in Finglas.
O’Connor’s previous convictions include drug offenses, auto theft, property damage, theft and traffic violations.
The gun had three rounds of ammunition in the magazine and one round in the breach, Garda Sean Kelly told John Moher BL, prosecutors.
O’Connor had been pursued by Gardaí after he and another man abandoned a vehicle on the N2 towards Finglas.
They were chased down North Road in Finglas and seen removing their tops before Gardaí managed to stop them.
He was arrested and interrogated, claiming he had the gun because he “feared for my life.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/murder-investigation-launched-after-inmate-victim-of-mountjoy-prison-attack-dies-41886768.html Murder investigation launched after inmate, victim of attack at Mountjoy Prison, dies