Murderer given access to knives in prison after machete attacks

Stab victim’s family demand to know why Brian Veale got kitchen job


A man who stabbed a fellow inmate to death in Cork Prison was given access to knives in the prison’s kitchen a month after his arrest for a series of machete attacks.

The family of the victim, Graham Johnson, have demanded to know why violent criminal Brian Veale was allowed work in the kitchen, a privileged assignment usually reserved for long-serving, trusted prisoners.

The Irish Times has also learned that Veale had previously been fired from his job in the kitchen because of his aggression there during a previous prison sentence.

Veale (32) was on pot-washing duty in the kitchen of Cork Prison on May 16th, 2015, when an argument broke out with Johnson over what was on the television. Veale used a large carving knife to fatally stab Johnson through the heart.

The knives were stored in a safe and could be obtained from the officer on duty for use for a specific task in the kitchen.

Johnson died later that day. Veale was convicted of murder last October and given the automatic sentence of life in prison.

At the time of the murder Veale had 102 previous convictions, including six assaults and three stabbings.

The Inspector of Prisons has now published a report detailing serious concerns about the operation of the prison kitchen including the lack of CCTV cameras and an out-of-date risk assessment.

The victim’s sister, Vivienne Johnson, told The Irish Times: “Somebody who has so many convictions for violence should never get a job in a kitchen. That’s our biggest gripe that somebody who had 102 previous convictions, on remand for machete attacks, got a job in a kitchen,”

She added: “No matter what, nothing is going to bring him back. You just hope his death isn’t in vain and that they will take action.”

Theresa Johnson, the victim’s 88-year-old mother, shared her daughter’s views and said a day doesn’t pass when she doesn’t think of her son.

Of Veale she said, “He was a dirty rotten git, my son never did anything wrong.”