Prisoner takes cell mate ‘hostage’ to avoid appearing in court

PUBLISHED: 16:25 28 October 2019

Paul Smith was jailed for attacking a grandfather in a pub PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Paul Smith was jailed for attacking a grandfather in a pub PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A man who broke a prison officer’s nose had “taken his cell mate hostage” in order to avoid appearing in court for his sentencing hearing.

Jasper Thomson, 25, was due to appear at Norwich Crown Court to be sentenced on Monday for an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Monday.

It followed an attack on a prison officer, who suffered a broken nose, on October 6 last year which Thomson had previously admitted.

But the court heard Thomson had refused to attend the hearing as it "was too far north of Bedford" and had "taken his cell mate hostage to avoid being produced".

Jonathan Goodman, mitigating, urged the court to have the case adjourned as "if it's right he's taken a hostage" there might be mental health issues that need to be addressed.

He said they were not yet getting a full picture in terms of what was going on with the "alleged hostage situation" and his client not coming from HMP Bedford.

He called for the matter to be adjourned in order to get a "proper picture".

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Judge Stephen Holt adjourned sentencing until Tuesday but said he wanted Thomson produced and a "full update" as to what happened.

As previously reported, Thomson had refused to leave his cell for exercise on October 6 last year.

He had responded "in an aggressive manner" when called out for exercise and pushed the prison officer, who was working alone at the time.

The prison officer then felt a punch to the right side of his nose which took him completely by surprise and resulted in a broken nose.

The officer had to attend hospital several times and eventually underwent surgery to correct a broken nose.

In a victim personal statement, the prison officer said it was the second time his nose had been broken working at the prison.

He added he has anxiety and depression as a result of the incident, and was having "flashbacks".

He was put on restricted duties after the attack, which prevented him working overtime.

"This whole ordeal has left me feeling unsafe and vulnerable at my place of work, and left me seriously considering leaving this job," he added.

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