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Former Northern Ireland prison chief injured in brutal jail canteen attack

Published 05/08/2016

Paul Cawkwell. Pic BBC
Paul Cawkwell. Pic BBC

A former Northern Ireland prison chief was hospitalised in an assault in an English jail.

Paul Cawkwell, governor of HMP Wayland in Norfolk, was targeted by a prisoner in the canteen of the Category C men's jail.

He reportedly was talking to a prisoner when the attack happened and needed hospital treatment for his injuries.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "We do not tolerate any violence against our hard-working and dedicated prison staff.

"Safety in prisons is fundamental to the proper functioning of our justice system.

"When incidents like this occur we work closely with the police to push for the strongest possible punishment.

"This incident is now being investigated by police, therefore we cannot comment further at this stage."

In its last annual report, the prison's independent monitoring board had voiced concerns about staffing levels.

But sources said the assault on the governor was an isolated incident which involved one prisoner and had nothing to do with staffing levels.

In May around 20 prisoners were involved in a food fight at the jail and in June an inmate attempted to grab a set of keys from an officer.

HMP Wayland opened in 1985 and has an operational capacity of more than 1,000.

A police spokesman said: "Norfolk Police are investigating an assault on a member of staff by a prisoner at HMP Wayland on Wednesday July 27 2016.

"The prisoner has been relocated to another prison and inquiries are ongoing."

Mr Cawkwell has held a number of senior positions in Northern Ireland. He was once the director of offender policy and operations for the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

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From Belfast Telegraph