Violent burglar found with sharpened metal weapon in prison cell

Thomas Dale. Picture: Suffolk Police.

Thomas Dale. Picture: Suffolk Police. - Credit: Archant

A man jailed for a violent Lowestoft burglary where a man was shot in the head with a BB gun was found with a 'sharpened' weapon hidden at Norwich prison, a court heard.

Thomas Dale, 20, who is serving a 10 and a half years, had his cell searched after a tip-off to prison officers by other inmates that he had an improvised weapon.

Andrew Oliver, prosecuting, said at Norwich Crown Court on Wednesday that prison officers received the information about the weapon while Dale was on B wing at the jail and when approached Dale immediately handed the weapon over to staff.

Mr Oliver said the weapon, which Dale had shown to other prisoners, was a sharpened metal rod with a handle and Dale claimed he had found it in a wash room at the jail. He admitted he had it for protection.

The court heard that Dale had previous convictions for violence, including robbery, and was serving a sentence for aggravated burglary and causing grievous bodily harm with intent after being sentenced in April for the Lowestoft attack.

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The court heard the victim, who was staying at a flat in High Street, Lowestoft, suffered pellet wounds to his head and back. One of the pellets was embedded in his head and had to be removed under anaesthetic but another was embedded in his neck and could not be removed.

Sentencing Dale for having a weapon in jail, judge Stephen Holt said that weapons posed a serious problem for prisons and said: 'They affect the whole of prison life and are a danger to other inmates and prison officers.'

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He imposed a further nine-month jail sentence on Dale, which must be served in addition to the sentence already imposed.

He warned him that if he continued offending his sentences would only get longer, however he accepted that Dale had not brandished the knife or used it

David Stewart, for Dale, said that he found the knife in a washroom.

'He realised his finger prints were on it and put it under his mattress,' he said.

He said he told other prisoners about the weapon but only had it a couple of days.

'The knife was never brandished or used.'

He said Dale was not eligible for parole until 2024 and said that he was already serving a lengthy term for such a young man.

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