Man wrecked prison cell then threw ‘unknown liquid’ into prison officer’s eyes

AN inmate at Magilligan Jail wrecked his cell and scrawled graffiti on the wall before throwing an “unknown liquid” into the eyes of a prisoner officer who had looked through a hatch.

Jonathan Coups (33), of Drummard Close, Derry/Londonderry, appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court via video link from Maghaberry Jail on Monday and admitted a charge of common assault.

A prosecutor said Coups had been a sentenced prisoner in Magilligan in January, 2018, when he damaged his cell and began self-harming.

Prison officers went to the cell and spoke to Coups through a hatch.

The defendant then picked up a plastic container containing an “unknown liquid” and threw it into the face and eyes of an officer who felt a burning sensation and required an eye wash.

The court heard the officer had to go off work and did not return until March last year.
Defence solicitor Paddy McGurk said although the prison officer wasn’t to know what the substance was at the time it was probably accepted now that the liquid was “not urine” and was most likely “warm tea or coffee”.

The lawyer said his client expressed remorse.

District Judge Peter King said following the incident the defendant had been dealt with in prison with seven days confinement and loss of privileges.

He said thankfully they were not dealing with any “noxious substance” as had it been urine he would have jailed Coups.

The defendant was given a three months prison term, suspended for a year.

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