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Governor of Maghaberry prison, Stephen Davis, dies aged 55 after short illness

Stephen Davis, the governor of Maghaberry prison, died on Friday morning

THE governor of Maghaberry prison, Stephen Davis has died after a short illness.

Mr Davis, who had worked in the prison service for more than three decades, died on Friday morning at the age of 55.

He first joined the prison service as an assistant governor at Crumlin Road in Belfast in 1985 and was one of a small group of people to have served as governor of Magilligan, the Maze and Hydebank Wood.

Mr Davis also worked as acting director of operations at prison service headquarters.

Ronnie Armour, the head of the prison service, said that Mr Davis had "battled his illness with great courage and determination".

He said: "His untimely death has been felt across the Prison Service.

"The Northern Ireland Prison Service was in Stephen Davis's DNA.

"He cared passionately about the organisation, his colleagues and those for who he was responsible."

Former justice minister David Ford said: "I got to know Steve Davis well during my time as minister.

"Even during his illness he led the team at Maghaberry Prison with distinction and professionalism. He was a valued colleague to those working in prisons and the partner groups and cared deeply for those in custody for who he was responsible."

Ulster Unionist Upper Bann MLA Dough Beattie tweeted: "Saddened to hear of the death of Steve Davis. A committed prison officer and friend."

Claire Sugden, who was the justice minister at the time of the Executive's collapse in January, said: "Sincere condolences to family, friends and colleagues of governor Steve Davis. He was a widely regarded leader, officer and friend."

Mr Davis' funeral service will take place on Tuesday at 1pm in St Mark's Parish Church in Newtownards, followed by burial in Movilla Cemetery.

Mr Davis is survived by his wife Jill and son Patrick.

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