Man who pleaded guilty to attempted murder at Hellfire Club attempts to attack prison officer
Central Criminal Court

Man who pleaded guilty to attempted murder at Hellfire Club attempts to attack prison officer

A MAN who tried to attack a prison officer with an improvised weapon while serving a sentence for the attempted murder of a teenager is a danger to the public if he is not taking his medication, reports Sonya McLean.

Michael Corbett (32) had pleaded guilty at the Central Criminal Court to the attempted murder of the 17-year-old on June 27th, 2016 at the Hellfire Club on Montpelier Hill. He attacked a number of campers with a knife and used a piece of timber to strike one teenager about the head.

He was jailed for three years in July 2018 after Mr Justice Michael White suspended six years of a nine-year term; however, those six years were re-activated in July 2020 after Corbett assaulted other inmates in prison.

Corbett had previously attacked a psychiatric nurse, by using a sock to try and strangle him, while on remand in the Central Mental Hospital in October 2016 awaiting sentence for the attempted murder.

In June 2019 Judge Melaine Greally imposed a five-year sentence and suspended the final two and a half years for 15 years on strict conditions after Corbett pleaded guilty to assaulting causing harm to the nurse.

On Tuesday, Judge Greally heard that Corbett tried to attack a prison officer with a handmade improvised weapon, known as a shiv, on October 19, 2020. The shiv had been made using a toothbrush and a blade.

Corbett, previously from Raheny, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the officer causing him harm and production of a weapon at Mountjoy prison. He has seven previous convictions in total.

Mark Lynam BL, defending, said his client suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was “quite unwell”.

He said his client had been assessed the day after assaulting the prison officer and admitted that he had not been taking his medication for a week. He was suffering with auditory hallucinations, which counsel submitted was “consistent with symptoms during previous relapses”.

Mr Lynam accepted that it is a serious situation because if Corbett is not taking his medication, he is a risk to the public. He said that his client had previously been diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder and that when he is mentally unwell, he poses a risk to people.

Counsel reminded Judge Greally that in the previous sentence hearing in relation to the assault on the psychiatric nurse, medical reports concluded that it was not safe for Corbett to live at home with his mother.

However, Mr Lynam told the judge that Corbett’s mental health begins to improve again when he takes his medication.

Judge Greally said she needed time to consider the case and remanded Corbett in continuing custody until March 14, next.

Garda Aoife Scully told Elva Duffy BL, prosecuting that a prison officer had accompanied Corbett to the library in the prison on October 19, 2020. He had noticed that Corbett was agitated in the moments beforehand but he agreed to bring him to the library after Corbett asked to be brought there.

The officer opened the door and let Corbett in, while standing back himself to allow the prisoner browse the books.

Corbett asked the officer to pick a book out for him but when the man came forward, he grabbed him by the chest while holding the shiv in his other hand.

Corbett made a striking motion with the shiv but the officer managed to restrain him to prevent himself being injured.

Garda Scully said the officer hit his head off the door frame during the course of the struggle but he shouted for assistance and colleagues arrived to assist him.

The victim said Corbett was attempting to break free from him and stab him. He said he felt lucky that he had spotted the shiv in the early moments of the attack.

He felt it had been pre-meditated as Corbett had asked for a toothbrush earlier in the day and there were no CCTV cameras in the library.

Garda Scully said the prison officer took a week off work and attended his GP for pain to his head and shoulder. He was not in court for the sentence hearing.

In June 2019 when Judge Greally sentenced Corbett for attacking the psychiatric nurse she had imposed a number of conditions that Corbett had to abide by upon his ultimate release from custody.

These conditions include remaining under supervision of the Probation Service for the entire 15-year period and living at an address agreed with the gardai and Probation Service.

He was also ordered to partake in pre-release planning, engage with appropriate services in the community, take prescribed medication, attend all appointments and refrain from the use of illicit substances.

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