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Chaplain at HMP Wayland assaulted after prisoner refused entry to Muslim prayers

PUBLISHED: 08:59 04 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:36 04 May 2017

HMP Wayland Prison. Picture: Ian Burt

HMP Wayland Prison. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant

A serving prisoner at HMP Wayland who assaulted the chaplain when refused entry to Muslim prayers has been sentenced to eight weeks custody.

Djavon Williams had been recalled to prison after breaching the terms of his licence on an offence committed in 2011.

The 25-year-old had been sentenced to nine years after being convicted of wounding with intent in Wolverhampton. Since being recalled he has been further convicted of three assaults against prison officers and one count of battery, for which he is serving an 18 week sentence.

And on January 27 around 12.30pm, he “reacted aggressively” when managing chaplain The Rev’d James Ridge refused him entry to Muslim prayers.

Collette Harper, prosecuting at Norwich Magistrates Court, said Williams had been denied access because “he did not have the correct identification on him.”

“The imam was busy so Rev’d Ridge attended,” she said. “Mr Williams reacted aggressively, demanding to see the imam. He has pulled his arm back and thrown a punch at Rev’d Ridge, causing his glasses to fall off and for him to stumble backwards.

“Mr Williams continued to be aggressive and was escorted back to his cell.

“Rev’d Ridge suffered a minor cut across the nose and some bruising to his face.”

Ms Harper added since other incidents involving prison staff, Williams has been moved to Bedford, then Whitemoor prison, where he remains.

“Mr Williams refused to engage with the police and has recently been moved to Bedford prison after incidents with prison staff. He has then been moved to Whitemoor.”

Williams admitted assault but told the court: “I did not punch the reverend, I slapped him.

“Why am I going to punch a reverend? He is no threat to me.”

Chair of the bench Rodney Edrich said it was lucky Rev’d Ridge “was not damaged further”.

“A word to the wise,” he told Williams. “This is the third prison you have been to. Will you please keep yourself under control and try not to lose your rag. Wait until they fetch the imam for you before you fall out with another religious bod, that’s a good chap.”

Williams was also ordered to pay £115 compensation to Rev’d Ridge. His eight week sentence will run concurrently with his existing time.

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