PRISONER FOUND NOT GUILTY OF OFFICER ATTACKS


The ex-governor of a high security jail where three prison officers were stabbed by a triple murderer said today he felt “let down, dismayed and humiliated” after a jury cleared the inmate of all charges.

Kevan Thakrar, 24, admitted stabbing the members of staff at Frankland Prison, Durham, in March last year with a broken chilli bottle but claimed he lashed out in self-defence as he feared he was about to be attacked.

Thakrar, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of previous prison experiences, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

A jury took eight hours and 15 minutes to clear him of two counts of attempted murder and three counts of wounding with intent.

He was serving at least 35 years of a life sentence for the drug-related murder of three men and the attempted murder of two women carried in Bishops Stortford with his brother Miran in 2007.

David Thompson, who retired as governor of Frankland last month and was in charge when officers Craig Wylde, Claire Lewis and Neil Walker were attacked, was deeply upset by the verdicts.

He said officers Wylde and Lewis will not work in the prison service again and that Mr Walker courageously saved Ms Lewis from worse injuries by tackling Thakrar.

Mr Thompson said afterwards: “I should remind everyone that these officers and every member of staff at Frankland and the prison service in general are public servants.

“Their work is out of sight but it requires the highest level of professionalism, courage and conviction.

“It is often unseen and under-reported.

“They deserve better recognition and they deserve better support than we have seen from the outcome of this case.

“Prison officers have to deal with the country’s most difficult and most dangerous individuals and they have to perform those duties within the confines of the law.

“They are not above the law, nor should they be.

“In this case, other criminal justice professionals have been amazed by how professional and restrained they were in dealing with the assailant immediately after the incident.”

Thakrar, who wept as the verdicts were returned and thanked the jury, claimed he was exposed to racism at Frankland.

Mr Thompson said the injured officers were “decent people”.

“They are not the sort of people who deserve to find themselves in this terrible, hurtful situation,” he said.

“Staff at Frankland and elsewhere across the service will feel let down, dismayed and humiliated by part of the criminal justice system in which they serve.

“Colleagues in other professional agencies have expressed their dismay at how a case like this can be conducted in a manner where the victims feel they are on trial, that they have done something wrong, and then for the assailant to be exonerated.”

Mr Justice Simon thanked the jury at the outcome of the case and instructed that they do not have to sit again for 10 years.

He also expressed sympathy to the injured guards, adding: “It was not part of the defence case in any way that they brought their injuries upon themselves.”

“Sorry” For Officer Assault


(Above Miran and Kevan Thrakar jailed for 42 years in 2008 for three murders)
A triple killer who stabbed his prison guards apologised today for wounding three officers in a savage attack outside his cell.
However Kevan Thakrar accused prison officers of a “stitch-up” intended to ensure he spent the rest of his life behind bars.
The 24-year-old, who is on trial for attempted murder and wounding with intent, claimed there was a conspiracy of silence among prison staff with regard to assaults by prison officers on inmates.
The former student and shop assistant told a jury at Newcastle Crown Court prison officers operated according to a principal of “see no evil, hear no evil” when it came to their colleagues’ “abuse of power”.
He said he was denied food and sleep the night before he used a broken bottle of hot pepper sauce to maim officers Craig Wylde, Claire Lewis and Neil Walker at Frankland High Security Prison, County Durham, in March last year.
He said: “It is obviously wrong what happened, the individuals that have been hurt, and I am sorry for that, but it should not have come to that.
“If you put an animal in a cage and you poke it, poke it and poke it and then unlock the door it is not going to just sit there is it?”
He accused wardens of planting the empty bottle in his cell in the hope he would use it to harm himself.
He claimed it was part of a plot to prevent him from attending court to appeal against his conviction in 2008 for the murders of three men and attempted murder of two women in a drug dispute.
Cross examining, prosecutor Tim Gittins said had tried to kill officers Wylde and Lewis with the bottle.
He said: “It had chunky, thick glass and it was empty, ready to be made into a weapon.
“It was a nice, handy size to be used as a weapon, as a shank.
“You made it into a very effective weapon, one capable of inflicting fatal violence, didn’t you?”
Thakrar, originally from Stevenage, in Hertfordshire, replied: “I was not in control.
“I was not thinking right.
“You’re trying to imply I was capable of making rational decisions having not slept, having not eaten, and having all those thoughts running round in my head.
“I had been awake all night.
“I was ready to go home in a few weeks after my appeal.
“Why would I do that?
“I believed I was going home.
“I should have gone home.”
The court heard Thakrar may have been suffering from post traumatic stress disorder at the time of the attack, as a result of his experiences in the British penal system since being locked up in 2007.
He denies all charges, saying he lashed out at the guards in self defence because he believed he was about to be attacked himself.
The trial continues tomorrow.