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How Norfolk has one of the most ‘violent workplaces in western Europe’

PUBLISHED: 12:56 09 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:56 09 December 2019

Derek Walker and Ross Sanford, prison officers at Wayland prison in Norfolk, have been presented with bravery honours at a ceremony in London, following an incident last year when a prisoner shouting Islamic oaths attacked another prisoner with a knife,

Derek Walker and Ross Sanford, prison officers at Wayland prison in Norfolk, have been presented with bravery honours at a ceremony in London, following an incident last year when a prisoner shouting Islamic oaths attacked another prisoner with a knife,

Archant

Two prison officers who were threatened with a home-made knife at one of the most “hostile and violent workplaces in Western Europe” are still recovering more than two years on.

Aklakur Rahman. PIC: Norfolk Police.Aklakur Rahman. PIC: Norfolk Police.

Aklakur Rahman, 33, shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he tried to behead fellow inmate David Sutton with an improvised knife at Wayland Prison near Thetford on July 21 2017.

His victim needed 28 stitches to the back of his neck — two of which were internal.

The two prison officers who intervened in the attack, Derek Walker and Ross Sanford, were presented with bravery awards in December last year.

And their suffering is continuing to this day. Mark Fairhurst, national chair of the Prison Officers' Association (POA), said: "Both officers continue to access support from the employer and their union in order to come to terms with the effects of the attack. They are in work but still suffering the psychological effects of the attack."

HMP Wayland Prison. Picture: Ian BurtHMP Wayland Prison. Picture: Ian Burt

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He added: "This violent attack highlights that prison officers work in the most hostile and violent workplace in Western Europe with some of the most dangerous criminals society has to offer.

"The bravery of the staff involved is commendable but the hidden effect remains to this day. We should never underestimate the psychological, as well as the physical effect such a cowardly attack has on staff.

"The POA will continue to support the two brave officers whilst they continue with their recovery."

Last month Rahman, originally from Ipswich, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 13 years by The Honourable Mr Justice Pepperall at Birmingham Crown Court after he had been found guilty of two counts of attempted murder for the attacks at Wayland, one count of attempted murder at Lincoln Prison, and grievous bodily harm with intent at Wakefield Prison, at Lincoln Crown Court in July.

Mr Justice Pepperall acknowledged the brave actions of those prison officers who "put themselves directly in the way of harm to prevent Rahman causing even more serious injury".

Detective Inspector Kevin Brown, from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said it was a "blessing" no-one was killed during the attacks.


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