Anger as prison attack inmate escapes prosecution

Police officers during the riot
Police officers during the riot
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PRISON officers are furious after being told an inmate will not be prosecuted for an incident which ended with a female warder in hospital, hours before a riot broke out at HMP Moorland.

The officer, understood to be in her late 20s, had to be taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary for treatment after an alleged assault at Moorland Prison on November 2.

An official letter of complaint has been sent by the Prison Officers’ Association to the Crown Prosecution Service after it emerged the matter would not be going to court.

The union said the officer was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured jaw and suffered concussion and vision problems.

Officers believe the alleged attack may have been one of the contributory factors which led to serious problems at the prison, near Hatfield – although the prison’s governor Rob Kellett said at the time the incident was not connected to the riot.

More than 100 prison officers were drafted in to quell violence which erupted at around 8.50pm on the day the officer was injured. Police, fire crews and ambulances were also sent to the scene.

Moorland Prison’s branch secretary of the Prison Officers Association Rick Midgley said officers were angry no prosecution would be forthcoming.

He said: “As a union, we are absolutely disgusted. The Government has talked about zero tolerance to violence, but it seems we can’t get anything done. That is clearly not zero tolerance.

“If it was a policeman, there would have been no question about it, he would have been prosecuted, but because it is a prison officer nothing is being done. What chance have we got if the CPS won’t back us?

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“The officer concerned suffered a fractured jaw, concussion and vision problems for two months. She came back to work only this month.

“She is mortified and terribly upset that she has gone through all this and the prisoner is not going to punished.

“The attacker was taken away and restrained after the attack. It was potentially the catalyst for the riots that ensued.”

The inmate is understood to have been out of his cell when the alleged attack happened and the officer had been telling him what to do when she was struck in the head.

A spokesman for the CPS said: “We can confirm we did receive a file from South Yorkshire Police detailing an incident at the prison.

“The file was reviewed by a lawyer who concluded that a prosecution would not be pursued.

“We have since received a letter from the Prison Officers’ Association outlining their concerns. We are looking into the matter and will respond in due course.

“Until full consideration has been given to the concerns detailed in the letter it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

Last May, The Star revealed there had been 168 attacks on prison officers at Doncaster’s jails over a three-year period.