According to a newly released report, two inmates at a maximum-security prison suffered multiple injuries to another inmate after attacking him with a utility knife and ligature.
A general alert was raised at HMP Frankland during the incident on December 31 last year, resulting in the victim requiring hospital treatment.
The attack is among 150 attacks at Durham prison over the course of 12 months, reported by Metro.co.uk earlier this week.
Details of the incidents were disclosed in a dataset compiled by the Department of Justice (MoJ).
According to the report, prison officials were alerted at 9.10am by loud voices coming from a cell. They saw two men attack their victim “with a utility knife and a ligature,” the entry said. The attackers are said to have followed the instructions of the staff to stop the attack and leave the cell.
The report states: “[Redacted] was treated medically by [redacted] due to lacerations to the neck, head, face, hands and back, and a facial injury from a blow. He was later taken to an outside hospital.
The unnamed author of the report was told by the victim that one of the attackers had asked him to come to his cell. As he entered, he didn’t realize there was another man there before they put a ‘strangle’ around his neck and beat him as they began the attack, the record says.
Other assaults at the Category A men’s prison included an inmate using two steel bars to attack staff trying to remove him from a cell and another inmate using an improvised weapon made of a pan handle and a craft knife. to show a victim slashing a victim’s face and tree trunks.
They are included in a heavily redacted list of assaults recorded in the 12 months to 30 April this year, available to Metro.co.uk.
Andrew Neilson, campaign manager at the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: “While violent incidents are to be expected in a maximum security prison like Frankland, which holds prisoners who have committed very serious crimes, these numbers are still shocking.”
“The prison system is generally under-resourced and under-staffed, and increasingly unable to provide even a basic level of security for staff and inmates.” It would be really worrying if the high-security area were to come under the same pressure. ‘
Several other incidents suggest that prisoners accept “bounties” for carrying out attacks. They include an inmate who claimed his head had a £10,000 prize on offer and another who described himself as a “confessed racist” who carried out attacks in exchange for e-cigarettes.
The prison is home to some of Britain’s most notorious prisoners, including Wayne Couzens, who is serving a life sentence for the kidnapping, murder and rape of Sarah Everard, and serial killer Levi Bellfield, who is serving two life sentences for three murders and one attempted murder.
Bellfield, 55, was allowed to marry behind bars after officials said earlier this month there was no way to stop the move.
The incidents include 105 confirmed and 45 unsubstantiated incidents, the Justice Department notes accompanying the disclosure said.
Assaults are defined in the dataset as physical or verbal attacks.
Separate figures provided by the government show assaults across the prison sector in England and Wales have fallen by 30% compared to 2019.
A £100m investment in security included equipping officers with incapacitating PAVA 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, increased the maximum penalty for assaulting prison officers to up to two years in prison. The measures are part of the Prison Service’s “zero tolerance” approach to violence in prisons.
A spokesman said: “We do not condone prison abuse and our £100m security investment tackles the guns, drugs and mobile phones that fuel violence behind bars.”
Two men have been charged by Durham Constabulary with willful violation under Section 18 over the December incident.
Brian Townsend, 39, and Peter Brown, 55, are due to appear in Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on July 5.
MORE: Prisoners take ‘bounties’ to carry out attacks at Frankland maximum-security prison
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