Judge Calls for Review of Frankland Prison

5 October 2011, 14:43 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

A judge has called for an urgent review of systems at high-security prisons after hearing how a psychopathic inmate slashed Soham killer Ian Huntley across the neck at Franksland Jail in Durham and then killed another child murderer at a second jail.

Mr Justice Coulson made his comments after sentencing Damien Fowkes, 36, to life in prison for the attempted murder of Huntley and the manslaughter of paedophile and child-killer Colin Hatch.

The judge ruled Fowkes will serve a minimum of 20 years before he is considered for release.

Hull Crown Court has heard how Fowkes attacked Huntley in the healthcare unit at Frankland Prison, in Durham, in March last year, leaving him with a gaping wound.

Fowkes was then transferred to Full Sutton Prison, near York, where he barricaded himself into a cell with Hatch as prison officers waited outside for fear he would kill his prisoner if they entered. He killed Hatch anyway by strangling him with a ligature.

On Wednesday, the judge expressed his concerns, especially following the death of another prisoner at Frankland - child rapist Mitchell Harrison, 23, who was killed at the weekend.

He said: "It is troubling that these two attacks were carried out in two different high-security prisons. I am particularly concerned that the killing of Hatch took place with prison officers outside the cell but apparently powerless to save him.

I am also aware that, over the last few days, another prisoner has been killed at HMP Frankland. Whilst everyone is acutely aware of the costs of monitoring vulnerable and high-risk prisoners, from what I have seen in this case it appears that the management systems currently in place require urgent review.''

The judge said the "notoriety'' of the two victims had no bearing on the outcome of the case, which he stressed was a combined sentence for both attacks.

Fowkes was already serving a life sentence for armed robbery. On Tuesday, the judge heard that it was Huntley's "good fortune'' that the 7in (18cm) wound Fowkes inflicted with a razor melted on to a piece of plastic cutlery missed vital parts of his anatomy.