Northern Ireland news

Michael McIlveen's killer Christopher Kerr broke prison officer's nose

Christopher Kerr

SECTARIAN killer Christopher Kerr has admitted breaking a prison officer's nose in a headbutt attack.

Kerr (35) appeared at Coleraine Magistrates Court, sitting in Ballymena, by videolink from Magilligan Prison, entering a guilty plea to inflicting actual bodily harm on the prison officer on April 8 this year.

A prosecuting lawyer outlined how Kerr had shouted at a nurse about missing medication when the officer “interjected and reasoned with him that it would be ready later in the day".

Kerr “uttered obscenities” at the officer, and when they called to other colleagues that Kerr was to be “locked up” because of the verbal abuse, he “headbutted him on the nose and it started bleeding".

The lawyer said that when the officer went to hospital, an x-ray indicated that his nose was broken along with damage to his septum.

District Judge Peter King commented that Kerr was fortunate to have his case dealt with in the petty sessions rather than the Crown Court given his record and the circumstances of the offence.

Defence counsel Aaron Thompson revealed that Kerr, along with five other prisoners, is awaiting sentence for damaging a recreation room in Maghaberry Prison.

He further revealed that although Kerr is now eligible to have his case referred to the life sentence parole commissioners for potential release, that process can take to up to a year and has been delayed because of his ongoing criminal cases.

Ballymena man Kerr has now been in custody for 15 years following his involvement in the murder of Michael ‘Mickey Bo’ McIlveen.

The 15-year-old Catholic schoolboy was kicked and beaten with a baseball bat in an alleyway after being chased by a gang in his hometown in May 2006.

Kerr was not convicted until 2009 following a lengthy trial. He was jailed for a minimum of 13 years.

The Court of Appeal quashed Kerr’s conviction however and ordered a retrial which sat for three days in April 2013 before he admitted his guilt.

The trial judge Mr Justice Weatherup imposed another life sentence and jailed Kerr for a minimum of nine years.

In court on Monday, DJ King imposed a five month jail sentence and told Kerr that an assault of a prison officer is "one of the most serious cases that the magistrates can deal with".

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