Belfast Telegraph

Guards injured in prison attack

Two prison officers were slashed across the face and head after trying to bring breakfast to an inmate in isolation.

The guards were taken to hospital after being attacked with a makeshift weapon - a so-called shiv fashioned from razor blades and a toothbrush - in Mountjoy at about 8.30am.

The officers were aged in their 30s and 40s and one suffered slash injuries to an ear and across his chin and the other a cut across the top of his head. They were being treated in the Mater Hospital.

It is understood the inmate allegedly involved had been isolated in the jail's challenging behaviour unit after a previous incident when a nurse was spat at in the face.

The Prison Officers' Association POA said it is the third attack of its kind on staff in recent months - the first of which involved Glaswegian Derek Brockwell, 53, who stabbed two prison officers as he fled custody in Dublin before being hit with a Taser in Belfast during his recapture.

Jim Mitchell, POA deputy general secretary, said the union's main concern was the effect of the attack on the officers and their families.

"This attack does again raise the security of prison officers and the resources required to do all that is reasonable to ensure their safety in the workplace," he said.

Mr Mitchell also questioned whether Mountjoy was a suitable prison for a violent prisoner in need of other medical treatment.

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