Derry republican’s wife allegedly assaulted by prison officer

Lorraine and Tony Taylor.
Lorraine and Tony Taylor.

Police have launched an investigation following an alleged assault on the wife of Derry Republican Tony Taylor by a prison officer at Maghaberry Prison.

It is alleged that Lorraine Taylor was physically assaulted and verbally abused by a prison officer after visiting her husband at the weekend.

High profile Republican Mr Taylor was returned to Maghaberry on March 10 2016 after his licence was revoked.

He had received a domestic visit from his wife and the couple’s disabled son, who requires 24 hour supervision, on Sunday past, October 30.

Solicitor Aiden Carlin claimed: “At the conclusion of the visit around 11.45am, a Prison Officer approached our client regarding leaving a tray back from the table. “Mrs Taylor instructs us that she explained to the visits member of staff that she was preoccupied with providing care to the couple’s son. Following this conversation, the Prison Officer physically assaulted our client by pushing her forcefully and verbally abusing her by shouting ‘get out.’

Mr Carlin said: “We have reported this alleged common assault to police on behalf of our client.”

“Such misconduct,” he alleged, “also amounts to a clear breach of our client’s rights under Articles 3, 8 and 14 of the European Convention, and Section 3 of the Prison Service Professional Code of Conduct.

“We have requested that police retain all CCTV footage and other material relating to this incident.

“In the meantime, the prison has written to our client informing her that she is temporarily suspended from visiting her husband. Further, Maghaberry has confirmed Mrs Taylor’s temporary suspension may affect all visits to her husband including by their children.”

Mr Carlin added: “Throughout history and in all parts of the world prison visits have been recognised as an essential part of helping prisoners to stay in contact with their families. We publicly call on Maghaberry to immediately restore Tony Taylor’s visiting rights with his wife and children.”

A PSNI spokesman said today: “On Tuesday November 1 Police received a report of an alleged assault on a woman at HMP Maghaberry that took place on Sunday 30 October.

“An investigation into the incident has commenced and there are no further details at this time.”

A Northern Ireland Prison Service spokesperson meanwhile said: “If a visitor has a complaint against a prison officer they should refer this to the PSNI and Prisoner Ombudsman, who will carry out an independent investigation.”