Norwich inmate attacked fellow prisoner with furniture leg, court told

Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd. Norwich Crown Court. Photo: Adrian Judd.

Thursday, July 31, 2014
9:02 AM

A prisoner is alleged to have attacked a fellow inmate in Norwich prison, beating him around the head with a furniture leg, after he objected to him visiting his cell, a court heard.

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Russell Ireland, 30, had just been moved to Norwich jail, when Michael Cubley stopped to speak to him at his cell entrance as he thought he recognised him, Norwich Crown Court heard.

David Wilson, prosecuting, said Ireland told Mr Cubley to go away, but as Mr Cubley was standing in the landing area, he was approached by Ireland who took a metal object from his waistband and began to hit Mr Cubley about the head.

He said Mr Cubley fell to the floor and Ireland continued the attack using a “windmill type action” with the weapon, which was the metal leg of a chair or table.

He said Mr Cubley tried to defend himself and Mr Wilson said when a prison officer came onto the scene and drew his baton, Mr Cubley managed to get away. He was treated for his wounds which needed two stitches and he also had concussion.

Mr Wilson said the day before the incident, Ireland told a mental health nurse at the prison that he would not hesitate to harm a member of staff or inmate as he had “nothing to lose.”

Mr Wilson said when Ireland returned to his cell after the incident, he had scrawled in blood “Cubley must die” and wrote a similar message a few days later.

He said Ireland was then transferred to Bedford prison, and when spoken to about the matter, in January, Ireland commented that Mr Cubley was “lucky to be alive.”

Ireland has denied the attempted murder of Mr Cubley and an alternative charge of wounding with intent on October 23, last year.

Giving evidence, Mr Cubley said he had just wanted to say hello to Ireland .

“I went up to his door which was half open.”

He said when Ireland told him to go, he had stood with another inmate on the landing area, when Ireland suddenly approached.

“He came walking up to me casually. I thought he was going to apologise.”

He said Ireland started hitting him and he tried to defend himself but in the tussle said they both had fallen to the ground.

He claimed one of the prison officers on the landing had locked himself in the office as he was frightened about what was happening and it was only when two prison officers with batons arrived, that Ireland dropped the weapon.

In cross examination, Mr Cubley admitted he was suing Norwich prison over the incident but denied he was trying to make more of what happened so he would get a large amount of damages.

Mental health nurse Linda Wilby, who worked at the prison at the time, said she had been concerned when Ireland had told her he did not like people coming into his cell and asking for cigarette papers.

She said: “He said if anyone does this again he was not happy and would do some sort of harm to them.”

The trial continues.

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