Murderer got an 'urge to attack a blue uniform'

By Aoife Nic Ardghail

A convicted Dublin murderer who got an “overwhelming urge to attack a blue uniform” has received a two and a half year sentence for assaulting a prison officer while in jail.

Garda John Costigan accepted that Brian Willoughby (40), who was convicted in 2003 of beating a man to death, has been on psychiatric medication since his incarceration 18 years ago for this and other offences.

Criminal Courts of Justice 2

The garda accepted when Patrick Reynolds BL, defending, suggested that his client had given in to “an overwhelming urge to attack a blue uniform” on the date in question.

Willoughby, who is serving a life sentence but has a previous address at Orwell Park Drive, Templeogue, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assaulting the injured party causing him harm at Mountjoy Prison on December 31, 2017.

Willoughby's four previous convictions include murder from 2003, two assaults from 2000 and another assault in a court room in 2017.

Gda Costigan told Maddie Grant BL, prosecuting, that the prison officer was supervising inmates during lunchtime when he felt punches to the back of his head.

Turning around, he saw it was Willoughby and radioed for assistance. Another prison officer then arrived and Willoughby was restrained.

The garda said the injured party was off work for two months and sustained soft tissue damage to his neck, shoulder and head in the unprovoked attack.

Gda Costigan agreed with Mr Reynolds that the prison officer had reported seeing Willoughby hours before the assault and had described him as “relaxed” and not aggressive.

Mr Reynolds submitted to Judge Melanie Greally that his client had twice weekly visits from a psychiatric team and was on heavy medication.

He added that Willoughby had spent significant time as a resident in the Central Mental Hospital.

Judge Greally said an aggravating factor in this case was that Willoughby had a history of extreme violence and attacked an active member of the Irish Prison Service.

She imposed the two and a half years concurrent to Willoughby's life sentence, giving him credit for his early guilty plea and his co-operation.

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