Bosses failed to protect staff from dangerous inmate
A PRISON officer who was stabbed five times by a dangerous inmate won compensation yesterday from bosses who had failed to take action on the prisoner — despite previous warnings.
Iain Fleming was awarded an undisclosed payout from HMP Swaleside in Kent after sustaining a shoulder injury that ended his 20-year career.
The Prison Officer Association (POA) member also suffered post-traumatic stress disorder after the assault in the prison’s segregation unit canteen.
Mr Fleming was stabbed in his head, eye, arms, chest and shoulder by an inmate armed with two sharpened plastic knifes.
The inmate — who made a chilling request for a metal knife days before — attacked another prison officer and turned on Mr Fleming when he intervened.
Other officers rushed to the scene as Mr Fleming struggled to contain the man, who tried to gauge out his right eye with the knives.
Mr Fleming said: “Being a prison officer can be a dangerous job but nobody should go to work and get stabbed.
“The attack appeared to come completely out of nowhere but I now know that the prison ignored obvious signs that this inmate was a danger to others.
“Because they made the choice to ignore that I was attacked and I can no longer enjoy my life the way I used to.”
Despite the officer’s bravery, bosses tried palm off the blame on to him for the attack.
But the POA and trade union solicitors Thompsons proved that bosses had failed to act on warnings about the inmate’s behaviour.
Speaking after winning the claim, solicitor Christalla Christodoulidou was clear the incident could have been avoided if prison bosses had acted earlier.
Thompsons revealed other staff members raised concerns about the inmate that should have extra sparked safety measures being put in place.
The inmate had expressed extremist views to officers, been caught planning an escape and had smuggled an internet connected device into his cell.
A POA spokesman said: “This incident should never have been allowed to happen.
“We are pleased to have helped secure compensation for Iain, but remain perplexed at how the prison failed to take action before the inmate was able to carry out his attack.”