Prison cell could not be used after being smashed up on April Fool’s Day by ‘cold turkey’ heroin addict

Magilligan Prison (1)

A heroin addict prisoner smashed up his cell at Magilligan Jail on April Fool’s Day as he couldn’t cope going ‘cold turkey’, a court heard.

Stephen Heraty (31), originally from County Donegal but with an address at Ormeau Road in Belfast, caused damage which cost £2,000 to fix and was so bad the cell was unable to be used for “a number of months” according to a prosecutor.

Heraty appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court this week via video link from Maghaberry Prison where he now is.

The prosecutor said that after lockdown the sound of smashing could be heard from the defendant’s cell and water could be seen flowing from under the door.

Heraty had damaged a toilet and he then used a piece of ceramic to smash up furniture and in the process he cut himself.

Defence solicitor Don Mahoney said the defendant was in prison for possessing drugs with intent to supply and had a long-standing heroin addiction.

The lawyer said Heraty tried to go “cold turkey” in prison but on April 1 last year it “blew up in his face”.

The solicitor said his client was subsequently released from custody but was recalled to prison after losing a hostel place because he was found with heroin.

Mr Mahoney said Heraty is now an “enhanced prisoner in a drug-free wing at Maghaberry”.

Imposing a three months jail term, District Judge Liam McNally said it was a serious charge of criminal damage which had “caused great disturbance in prison”.

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