Prisoner jailed for fatal jail attack

A prisoner who attacked a fellow inmate causing his death a week later has been jailed for four years.

Alastaire Scott, 23, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 28-year-old Frazer Stent at HMP Rochester and was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court.

The fatal attack took place in the Chilham Wing at the category Cprison on Sunday October 12, when inmates were allowed free movement on the wing.

Mr Stent had been part of a group of men involved in an altercation with a prisoner who was a close friend of Scott’s, Kent Police said.

He had been walking down a corridor, with Scott slightly behind him, and entered a cell where he spoke with two inmates inside.

While Scott remained outside the cell door, a few seconds later Mr Stent was pushed outside. With his attention focused on another inmate, Scott punched him to the right hand side of his head and he hit the ground with nothing breaking his fall.

Mr Stent was taken to Medway Maritime Hospital where a CT scan revealed bleeding on the brain. He was kept sedated throughout his time in hospital but his condition deteriorated and he died a week after being assaulted.

During interview Scott said he had carried out the attack because the victim had been involved in a confrontation with his friend but had not intended to kill him.

Detective Inspector Gavin Moss, senior investigating officer for the case, said: “Alastaire Scott’s decision to punch Frazer Stent was both reckless and stupid and the consequences could not be more tragic. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the victim’s family.

“During interview Scott told officers he did not intend to kill his fellow inmate but that does not excuse his actions. He gave little thought to the consequences and the impact it would have on his victim, which in this tragic example could not have been worse.”

Inmate murdered at Cork Prison this evening

Cork Prison, Irish Republic
Cork Prison, Irish Republic

A post-mortem examination will take place tomorrow following the fatal stabbing of an inmate at Cork Prison this evening.

The body of the victim is expected to be removed to the morgue at Cork University Hospital overnight.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out by State Pathologist, Professor Marie Cassidy.

The incident happened at around 5pm this evening in the kitchen of the prison.

Prison sources said that a row may have broken out over a television remote control.

The victim, a man in his early 40s from Bandon, Co Cork, was stabbed in the chest and died a short time later.

He was not known to be a violent inmate.

The scene has been sealed off for forensic examination.

An inmate in his 30s has been isolated.

The Prison Service has said it is to carry out a review at Cork Prison and the Inspector of Prisons will conduct an inquiry but the garda’s criminal investigation will take precedence.

Prisoner murdered in London jail

HM Prison Wandsworth
HM Prison Wandsworth

A man has been murdered in jail, police said.

Officers were called to Wandsworth Prison in south London at 7.35am today to reports of a male prisoner dead in a cell, Scotland Yard said.

The victim is believed to be aged in his 60s and though next of kin have been informed, formal identification has not yet taken place.

A post-mortem examination will take place in due course, a Yard spokesman said.

A man in his 40s, also a prisoner, has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He is currently in police custody.

The murder investigation is being led by Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Reeves of the Homicide and Major Crime Command and enquiries continue, the spokesman said.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “An HMP Wandsworth prisoner was pronounced dead in hospital at 8.52am on Monday 4 May.

“A police investigation is ongoing, so it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

Wandsworth, a category B prison, is the largest in the UK, and can hold more than 1,800 prisoners. Alongside Liverpool, which is of similar size, it is one of the biggest prisons in Western Europe.

It was built in 1851, and the residential areas remain in the original buildings.

Since 1989, there has been extensive refurbishment and modernisation of the wings, including in-cell sanitation, privacy screens for cells occupied by more than one prisoner and the more recent installation of in-cell electricity.

Inmate dies after prison assault

HMP Rochester
HMP Rochester

A prisoner who was allegedly punched by another inmate at HMP Rochester has died.

Fraser Stent, 28, died in hospital a week after the alleged incident at HMP Rochester, a Prison Service spokeswoman said.

Kent Police were called to the jail on October 12 and a 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault and bailed until February.

He has since been returned to prison, police said.

A force spokeswoman said inquiries were continuing to establish the circumstances surrounding the man’s death.

The Prison Service spokeswoman said: “Following an incident at HMP Rochester, Fraser Stent was pronounced dead at an outside hospital on Sunday October 19.

“Officers from Kent Police have been informed and are investigating.

“As with all deaths in custody, there will be an investigation by the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.”

HMP HAVERIGG – Some progress but safety needs to improve

haverigg

There was a real prospect of improvement at HMP Haverigg but it still had some way to go, said Nick Hardwick, Chief Inspector of Prisons.

Today he published the report of an unannounced inspection of the training prison in west Cumbria.

HMP Haverigg is perhaps the prison service’s most isolated prison. It had weathered the uncertainties of budget cuts, prison closures and new policies better than most prisons. It had maintained its performance, there was a real sense of momentum and realistic plans were in place to tackle some long-term weaknesses. Nevertheless, outcomes for prisoners were still not good enough in some crucial areas.

Inspectors were pleased to find that:

  • most prisoners said they felt safe, significantly more than at the last inspection and more than at comparable prisons;
  • support for men at risk of suicide or self-harm was consistently good;
  • staff-prisoner relationships were generally very good and mitigated some of the weaknesses in the prison;
  • health care had improved;
  • most prisoners were out of their cells for a decent amount of time during the day;
  • there was a wide range of work, training and education opportunities on offer which were linked to employment prospects in the areas to which most prisoners would return;
  • the ‘smokery’ produced and sold smoked food and provided a very realistic working environment; and
  • practical resettlement services, such as helping prisoners to find accommodation or a job on release, were generally good.

However, inspectors were concerned to find that:

  • a minority of prisoners were subject to gang and debt-related bullying;
  • staff supervision was made difficult by the layout of the prison, with many prisoners accommodated in ‘billets’ or huts, poor external lighting and limited CCTV coverage;
  • not all incidents of violence were identified or investigated and support for victims was poor;
  • the use of segregation had increased, the use of force was high and some incidents were poorly dealt with;
  • the prison needed to improve its equality and diversity work and had little idea of the identity and needs of prisoners with protected characteristics;
  • there were too few work, training and education places available and allocation processes were inefficient; and
  • almost one-third of the population had an out of date or no OASys assessment.

Nick Hardwick said:

“Prisoners who kept their heads down, made the most of the opportunities on offer and whose needs were typical of the prison’s population as a whole would probably do reasonably well at Haverigg. However, those who needed more support or whose needs differed from the majority might have a less positive experience – sometimes to an unacceptable degree. Progress is being made and a positive, experienced staff group have created the foundations for further progress, but some processes need to be significantly improved and managers need to give close attention to ensuring that poor practice is challenged and improved.”

Michael Spurr, Chief Executive Officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS), said:

“I am pleased that the Chief Inspector has highlighted the progress being made at Haverigg during a period of real change.

“The wide range of work, training and education is helping to rehabilitate and resettle offenders and the Governor and his staff deserve real credit for the continued improvement.

“They will now use the recommendations in the report as part of their ongoing plans for the future.”

A copy of the report can be found on the HM Inspectorate of Prisons website from 29 May 2014: www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmiprisons

Bellfield payout: “completely justified”

Levi Belfield

The £4,500 payout to the serial killer who murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler after being assaulted in prison has been described as completely justified by a prisons expert.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said it is “hugely disappointed” by the judge’s decision to award compensation to Levi Bellfield.

Bellfield was attacked by a fellow prisoner with a makeshift weapon in 2009 at Wakefield Prison before he went on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Milly.

He is believed to have suffered minor injuries but launched legal action claiming that prison staff should have protected him, the Daily Mirror reported.

Lawyers on behalf of the MoJ fought against his case for three years but they were forced to admit full liability at Durham County Court on Wednesday, the newspaper added.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “We are hugely disappointed that Levi Bellfield was awarded £4,500 by a judge following an assault by a prisoner in 2009 at HMP Wakefield.”

Labour MP Ian Austin, a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, told the Daily Mirror : “This is a complete and utter disgrace. Every right-thinking person will agree this is distasteful and wrong.”

Former nightclub bouncer Bellfield is serving a double whole-life term having been convicted of the murder of Walton-on-Thames schoolgirl Milly while already serving a whole-life term for the murders of Amelie Delagrange and Marsha McDonnell and the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy.

Milly was snatched from the street on her way home in March 2002.

Mark Leech editor of Converse, the national newspaper for prisoners, said the payout was completely justified.

Mr Leech said: “Morally of course it’s outrageous that someone like Bellfield should receive compensation for being attacked in prison – but we do not have courts of morals in this country, we have courts of law.

“A fundamental principle of our law is that if you have a legal duty to keep someone safe – as the Prison Service does in respect of prisoners entrusted by the courts to its care – and you fail in that legal duty in a way that causes foreseeable injury to another person then compensation is not only appropriate but also completely justified.

“Just because someone like Bellfield has been a culprit of crime in the past, doesn’t mean he cannot become a victim of crime in the future.

“The solution is not to criticise the compensation but criticise the Ministry of Justice for savage budget cuts which have seen the staffing in our prisons not simply cut to the bone, but driven someway beyond it.”

Murdered Prisoner Named

Michael Hennessy
Michael Hennessy

A prisoner from Nottingham who was allegedly murdered in jail has been named by police.

Two men were arrested after Michael Hennessy, 22, died from a stab wound he suffered at HMP Lindholme in South Yorkshire on Saturday afternoon.

The force said it was not yet clear how the stab wound was inflicted and the two arrested men, aged 23 and 26, have been bailed.

They have been returned to the prison and continue to serve out their sentences.

The statement said: “Two men aged 23 and 26 who were arrested by police in the prison on suspicion of murder on Saturday evening have now been released from police custody on bail and returned to the prison service while the investigation continues.”

HMP Lindholme is classified as a Category C and D prison with a capacity of over 1,100.

The former RAF base near Doncaster opened as a prison in 1985 and houses men over the age of 21.

That can include people serving life and those on indeterminate sentences.

A snap inspection in the summer was highly critical of the jail’s wing for low-risk prisoners, and it has since been closed.

Among its findings, HM Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) said there were religious tensions on the wing and discovered someone had defecated in washing facilities for Muslim prayers.

Described as an ”astonishing situation” by the inspectors, more than a third of prisoners interviewed had felt unsafe at some time, while drugs and alcohol were widely available on the D wing, which was shut down shortly after the inspection.

Learning Lessons From Murders In Prison Report

Mitchell Harrison murdered in HMP Frankland
Mitchell Harrison murdered in HMP Frankland

LESSONS SHOULD BE LEARNED FROM PRISON HOMICIDES, SAYS PRISONS AND PROBATION OMBUDSMAN

Homicides in prison are rare but there are still lessons to be learned from them, said Nigel Newcomen, Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO), as he published a bulletin.

The PPO investigates all deaths in custody and his remit is to examine the circumstances surrounding the death and establish whether anything can be done to help prevent similar tragedies in the future. Since 2003, the PPO has investigated 16 homicides in prisons in England and Wales. During the same period, the PPO investigated over 1,500 other deaths, either self-inflicted or from natural causes.

The bulletin highlights:

  • the need for prison staff to have access to and make use of all available information when assessing the risk involved in a prisoner sharing a cell;
  • the need for the Prison Service to manage carefully the risks that vulnerable prisoners pose to one another, including when they are separated from mainstream prisoners in vulnerable prisoner units; and
  • the need for safe and consistent procedures for cell door locks when prisoners are unlocked.

Nigel Newcomen said:

“This Learning Lessons Bulletin examines the lessons to be learned from the mercifully infrequent but nonetheless tragic killing of one prisoner by another in custody.

“These are some of the hardest deaths to learn lessons from. They occurred in 15 different establishments; prisons contain many people who pose a serious risk of harm to others, but very few kill in custody; and learning can be slow to emerge because of the need to build, and then not prejudice, a criminal case against those responsible. However, learning lessons about managing risk better could make homicides in prison rarer still.”

Mark Leech editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said the cutting of budgets makes prisons more dangerous places.

“We have seen almost £500m wiped off the budgets of our prisons in the last two years, that results in less staff on duty and so a greater risk to prisoners and prison officers – if we want to make our prisons safer places then we have to pay for it – something our timid Prisons Ombudsman refuses to address.”

A copy of the bulletin can be found on the prison ombudsman’s website. Visit www.ppo.gov.uk.

MURDERER STABBED “NONCE” IN CELL

A double murderer stabbed notorious child killer Roy Whiting (above) in the eye twice in a West Yorkshire prison because he was a “dirty little nonce”, a court has heard.

Gary Vinter, 42, picked a high profile target in July 2011 because he wanted to change the conditions in which he was held at Wakefield Prison.

Whiting, a convicted sex offender sentenced to life in prison in 2001 for the murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne, received emergency care following the attack in his cell and has made a full recovery.

Vinter appeared via a videolink from Long Lartin Prison, Worcestershire, before Mr Justice openshaw sitting at Newcastle Crown Court.

After hearing Andrew Kershaw, prosecuting, give an explanation for the gruesome attack, Vinter said: “He was a dirty little nonce. That’s why I did it.”

Vinter, from Middlesbrough, sneaked into Whiting’s cell and used a sharpened plastic toilet brush handle to stab Whiting in both eyes. Vinter then kicked and punched Whiting as he lay on the floor, before he left the cell.

The double murderer later told prison authorities “the only reason Whiting was still alive is he got tired during the attack,” Mr Kershaw said.

Vinter told officers he had tried to kill Whiting, that as a “natural life” prisoner he had no hope and he had warned the authorities he would target a “high-profiler”. Whiting was treated at Pinderfields Hospital where he received stitches in his eye lids and the shard of plastic was removed.

Vinter admitted wounding with intent at a previous hearing and was given an indefinite sentence, with a notional minimum term of five years.

Vinter is appealing against his full life term before European Human Rights judges at the end of this month. In 1996 Vinter was jailed for life for murdering Carl Edon, 22, a railway signalman. He was released from prison in 2006 after serving a 10-year minimum term. He was recalled to prison for his part in a pub brawl and then went on to murder his wife Anne White, 40, in a chilling offence four years ago.

GUYS MARSH INMATES DEMAND END TO GANG VIOLENCE

A group of inmates at a Dorset prison have signed a petition demanding action is taken to stop violence and attacks by fellow prisoners.

The petition signed by inmates at Guys Marsh in Shaftesbury was sent to solicitor Rhonda Hesling, secretary of the Prison Injury Lawyers Association.

She said they claim two wings at the jail are “out of control” and they are “frightened there will be a death”.

The Prison Service said it did not tolerate violence or intimidation.

The document was signed by more than a dozen prisoners and had been smuggled out of the site, Ms Hesling said.

She said it read: “There is no CCTV here at Guys Marsh, staff are never patrolling or around, we could be killed or injured on the wings.

“There is a high level of assaults here by prison gangs who roam without challenge and bullying makes everyone feel unsafe, please help us.”

‘Out of control’

Ms Hesling, also a senior partner with Hesling Henriques solicitors, said the petition was passed to her by a prisoner who had contacted her after being seriously assaulted inside the prison.

She said two wings in particular were “running out of control” and “there’s an absence of prison officers”.

“It’s clearly not something that is just one prisoner’s view,” she said.

“It would seem there’s a systematic failure in the managing of these wings, which is resulting in robbery by other prisoners upon perhaps those who are more weakened and vulnerable.

“There’s an atmosphere of intimidation and fear, and a real fear of physical violence.

“The weak and vulnerable are being beaten up and they are being bullied.”

The Prison Service said in a statement: “Violence or intimidation in prisons is not tolerated in any form and we take the responsibility of keeping staff, prisoners and visitors safe extremely seriously.

“That’s why we have a violence management system in place to deal with incidents quickly and robustly with serious incidents referred to the police immediately.”

Ms Hesling said the Prison Injury Lawyers Association was investigating the claims and was speaking to all parties involved.