George Pell’s hellish prison cell neighbours revealed
Cardinal George Pell is caged between cells occupied by accused Islamic State-inspired terrorists and one of Melbourne's most hated killers.
The convicted child molester, whose appeal is due to be heard on June 5, is in protective custody, spending 23 hours a day locked in a cell at the Melbourne Assessment Prison in Spencer Street, West Melbourne.
Cells flanking his are occupied by notorious Bourke St killer James Gargasoulas and brothers Ertunc and Samed Eriklioglu, who are accused by police of plotting a mass terrorist attack in Melbourne.
"We have the two brothers in unit eight, either side of George Pell and Gargasoulas," a prison insider said.
The prison insider said Gargasoulas, who killed six people and injured 27 others, menaces the other inmates.
"Gargasoulas is very verbose, particularly at night. He talks under the door and eggs people on. He's an agitator … he tries to rile people up," the source said.
Ertunc Eriklioglu, 30, Samed Eriklioglu, 26, and associate Hanifi Halis, 21, were arrested in Melbourne's north last November.
Police said they swooped after the trio tried to buy a black-market semiautomatic rifle.
They believe the trio was planning to buy more guns before picking a city target.
Each man is charged with preparing or planning for a terrorist attack.
Authorities are now planning a permanent custodial placement for Pell, who is serving a six-year term for sex acts against two choirboys in 1996, while Melbourne archbishop.
The nature of his crimes and his age and infirmity place the 77-year-old among inmates who are at the greatest risk.
The Herald Sun understands the Hopkins Correctional Centre at Ararat, the state's most notorious jail for sex offenders, is the most likely destination.
It is also home to corrupt former police officers and other inmates who cannot be kept safe elsewhere.
Pell could be kept isolated from inmates there with violent records.
Ararat also provides sex offender treatment programs.
Sources say if his appeal fails Pell would be expected to do a sex offender treatment program. They are not compulsory but failure to take part could affect his chances of parole after his minimum term of 44 months.
More than a dozen inmates were put in quarantine last week after an outbreak of the influenza A virus swept the jail and the Metropolitan Remand Centre, Ravenhall Prison, and Port Phillip Prison.
Pell was cleared of the virus at a check-up last week but prison insiders say his health is poor and infection could put him at serious risk.
"He's an old man with a lot of health issues. He has serious heart and mobility issues. His health would be at risk if he catches the flu. He should be in a better environment so if his health deteriorates, he can be transferred to hospital."