’I was treated like a dog’: Prisoner defends himself after ‘melee’ at Norwich Crown Court left custody officers injured

Tevin Birmingham. PICTURE: Norfolk Police.

Tevin Birmingham. PICTURE: Norfolk Police. - Credit: Archant

A man who is alleged to have attacked prison officers as part of a melee which followed verdicts in a trial told a court he had been 'treated like a dog'.

Warren Ricardo Blake. PICTURE: Norfolk Police

Warren Ricardo Blake. PICTURE: Norfolk Police - Credit: Archant

Tevin Birmingham, 22, and Warren Ricardo Blake, 19, are said to have had a 'kick off' following verdicts returned by a jury at Norwich Crown Court following a trial.

Norwich Magistrates Court heard they were taken to the cells area but refused to go in before it kicked off and some custody officers were assaulted and others 'put in fear of their own personal safety'.

Birmingham, of HMP Whitemoor, Cambridgeshire, and Blake, of HM Prison and Remand Centre, Chelmsford, both deny two counts of assault on June 30 last year.

Giving evidence today Birmingham told Afame Offiah, defending, that he did not assault anyone. He told the court he had been pushed by officers in the back and refused to go in his cell as he felt he was being treated unfairly.

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He said: 'I thought I'm not going to be a dog and pushed back and grabbed onto the gate.'

Earlier, the court heard from one prison officer who described the defendants as being 'agitated and angry' as they came down to the cells from court.

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The officer, who was with Blake, repeatedly demanded that he take his cuffs off.

He said Blake was 'very angry' and described how, once the cuffs were off, he started 'throwing punches and kicks towards me'.

He said he 'went to the floor' after a punch and a kick to his back from Blake.

He was taken to hospital to be treated for cuts and bruises but said it had a psychological impact with him having disturbed sleep patterns and questioning his ability to do the job after 10 years.

Another officer, the custody court manager, said he became aware of Blake and Birmingham being brought down following the verdicts.

He said they were both 'very agitated' and described how Blake, who was 'shaking with anger' and Birmingham, who refused to enter his cell, were involved in a melee in the cell area.

He said Birmingham had refused to enter his cell and 'barged past' at the same time as Blake 'burst out of the toilet area' .

The officer described one of his colleagues being struck in the back of the head by Blake while Birmingham was 'pushing and throwing punches around'.

He said he was struck and also bit on the arm as he tried to tackle Birmingham who refused to enter his cell and had grabbed hold of a cell gate.

Birmingham was in court for the trial but Blake was not as he refused to leave his cell.

The trial continues.

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