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Custody officer died of head injury

Published 07/07/2015

Lorraine Barwell died after an alleged assault at a crown court
Lorraine Barwell died after an alleged assault at a crown court

A prison custody officer who was fatally wounded after an alleged assault at a crown court died from a serious head injury, tests found.

Lorraine Barwell, 54, was attacked eight days ago as she escorted a prisoner from London's Blackfriars Crown Court to a waiting van.

An air ambulance was called and she was treated at the scene before being taken to an east London hospital, but the mother-of-two died on Friday.

A post-mortem examination at Greenwich Mortuary found the provisional cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, Scotland Yard said.

Humphrey Burke, 22, of no fixed abode, appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court last Wednesday charged with grievous bodily harm and was remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on July 15.

Ms Barwell, from Romford, Essex, worked for services company Serco for more than 10 years and is the first prison custody officer to die in the line of duty.

It was reported her family agreed to turn off her life support system after doctors told them there was no chance of recovery.

But it emerged her death could help save the lives of others after her organs were used in transplant operations.

Her children, Jason, 35, and Louise, 32, told the Daily Mirror she carried a donor card and that doctors were able to use organs including her heart and kidneys.

Mr Barwell, a builder, told the newspaper: " We knew it's what mum would have wanted. My mum would have given anything to anyone up to the last moment of her life.

"She died for no reason, but for her to give life to others though her death is something we can hold on to.

"Our mum saved five lives. We could not be prouder of her. She was an amazing woman and we will miss her so much."

Investigations into Ms Barwell's death are now being carried out by police, Serco and the Ministry of Justice.

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