Murderers lured inmate into cell and tried to garrotte him
Two murderers lured another prisoner into a cell at a top security jail before trying to garrotte him with a shoelace and stabbing him in the neck with a craft knife.
The ‘frenzied’ attack was among 150 assaults over 12 months at HMP Frankland which were revealed in a dataset obtained by Metro.co.uk last month.
The assailants were said to have left their victim with ‘multiple injuries’ after placing the garrote around his neck and punching him as they began the attack, according to one of the logs.
Peter Brown, 55, and Brian Townsend, 39, appeared at Durham Crown Court via video links on Wednesday where they faced two charges each of wounding with intent and possession of an offensive weapon in prison.
They entered guilty pleas for the offences, which were carried out at the Category A jail in Brasside, County Durham on December 31, 2022.
Brown has been convicted of three murders, including one while he was serving time at HMP Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight, while Townsend was given a life sentence for murder in 2006.
The unnamed victim was also an inmate at the jail and the assault took place while he was returning to his cell, ChronicleLive reports.
Prosecutor Martin Towers said: ‘He was invited by Townsend into the cell, as he entered there were concerns raised about how things were arranged in the cell, with a blanket being placed on the bed.
‘Brown was in the doorway when Townsend put a shoelace to the victim’s neck, which he used as a ligature.
‘The victim managed to get one hand in there to prevent it having the full effect. Brown had a craft knife and attempted to stab him several times, with one blow making contact with his neck.
‘Townsend was urging him on to “get him”.’
The victim described it as a ‘frenzied attack’ which ended when a prison officer arrived at the cell, the court heard.
He sustained non life-threatening injuries, with the incident log stating that he was taken to ‘outside hospital’.
Oliver Connor, defending Brown, told the court that his client, who has since been transferred to HMP Full Sutton in York, ‘accepts’ the offence.
Mr Connor said: ‘He has stated he carried out the attack as he believed the victim was essentially lacing his food with Tramadol.
‘But he seeks not to minimise his involvement or the severity. He is now serving three life-sentences for three offences of murder.’
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Steven Reed, defending Townsend, told the court his client was given a 17-year minimum term for murder in 2006 and convicted of false imprisonment in 2013. Mr Reed said the only mitigation he could put forward were Townsend’s guilty pleas. The pair are due to be sentenced at a later date.
The incident was first revealed in a dataset of assaults at the jail compiled by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).
Prison officers were alerted at 9.10am to raised voices coming from a cell, the report shows. They saw two men assaulting their victim ‘with a craft knife and a ligature’, according to the entry.
The assailants are said to have complied with orders from the staff to stop the attack and leave the cell.
The report says: ‘[Redacted] was given medical treatment by [redacted] for cuts to his neck, head, face, hands and back as well as a facial injury caused by a punch. He was later taken to outside hospital.’
Other assaults at the men’s prison included an inmate using two steel bars to attack staff trying to remove him from a cell and another prisoner using an improvised weapon made out of a pan handle and a craft knife to slash a victim’s face, the logs show.
Several other entries suggest that prisoners are taking ‘bounties’ to carry out attacks. They include one inmate claiming he had a £10,000 price on his head and another described as a ‘self-confessed racist’ carrying out assaults in exchange for vapes.
The heavily redacted list of incidents covers the 12 months up to April 30 this year. They include 105 which have been verified and 45 which are unsubstantiated, the MoJ said in notes accompanying the disclosure.
Assaults are defined as physical or verbal attacks in the dataset.
Separate figures provided by the government show that assaults across the prison estate in England and Wales are down by 30% on 2019.
A £100 million investment in security has included equipping officers with PAVA incapacitant spray, police-style restraints, body-worn cameras and X-ray body scanners to detect contraband. The funding was announced in 2019 as ‘part of a crackdown on crime behind bars’.
The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act, which came into force in June 2022, has increased the maximum penalty for assaulting prison officers to up to two years’ imprisonment. The measures are part of the Prison Service’s ‘zero tolerance’ approach to violence in prisons.
Responding to the disclosure of the assaults list earlier this month, a spokesperson said: ‘We do not tolerate assaults in prisons and our £100 million security investment is clamping down on the weapons, drugs, and mobile phones that fuel violence behind bars.’
MORE : Prisoners ‘attack inmate with craft knife and ligature’ at top security jail
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