Inmate gets new jail term for punching prison doctor

Joseph McManus appeared via video-link from Maghaberry Prison
Joseph McManus appeared via video-link from Maghaberry Prison

The brother of a murdered pizza delivery driver has been jailed for eight months after he admitted punching a prison doctor in the face.

As well as pleading guilty to causing the doctor actual bodily harm, 33-year-old Joseph McManus also admitted assaulting a nurse who tried to intervene.

A prosecuting lawyer told Lisburn Magistrates’ Court, where McManus appeared via video-link from jail, the defendant “became aggressive” during a medical consultation on October 31 2016 when the doctor said he was withdrawing some of his medication.

“He attacked the doctor, punched him in the face cutting his lip and causing the inside of his mouth to bleed,” said the lawyer, adding that McManus “inadvertently struck” the female nurse when she tried to intervene.

McManus, whose address was given as c/o Maghaberry Prison but who is from Orchard Hill in Crumlin, is currently serving a seven-year sentence after he admitted robbing students on their way home from the pub in 2011 and a car hijacking which left a police officer with “crush injuries”.

The defendant, who has close to 200 criminal convictions, was out on compassionate bail to attend the funeral of his brother Kieran when he committed the motoring offences.

Father-of-one Kieran McManus was gunned down outside Domino’s pizza outlet at the DC Enterprise Centre in west Belfast in March 2013.

The 26-year-old was shot by a man who got out of a maroon-coloured Vauxhall Astra car at 11.20pm on March 30 and he was pronounced dead at hospital a short time later.

Previous courts have heard that Joseph McManus believes the killers, none of whom have ever been brought to justice, were trying to get at him.

In court on Monday defence counsel Neil Fox said McManus wanted to apologise to the doctor and the nurse for his behaviour, adding that since the incident, “he is an enhanced prisoner whose behaviour has been excellent”.

He told the court McManus had been struggling as since he had been put in jail, both his brother and a “close friend” had been shot dead.

Sentencing McManus, District Judge Rosie Watters said she had “no alternative” but to jail him, telling McManus: “I’m sure you understand how serious it is attacking the medical staff, people who are there to assist you.”