‘The place was awash with blood’ - honours for staff who restrained knife-wielding prisoner
- Credit: Archant © 2008
Staff at a Norfolk prison have been awarded top national honours for their bravery in dealing with an inmate who slit another prisoner's throat.
The seven officers from HMP Wayland in Griston are to receive Royal Humane Society awards following the incident on July 21 last year.
An officer who was slashed by the inmate will be awarded one of the society's highest accolades - the bronze medal.
The incident happened when a prisoner shouting Islamist oaths attacked another inmate, cutting his throat.
The first prison officer on the scene, who was showing a new warden his duties, rushed forward and ordered the inmate to drop the knife.
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But he instead renewed the attack.
The officer punched the inmate in the face, forcing him to drop the knife, which was thrown into another room by a prisoner.
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However, the attacker retrieved it as the injured prisoner was being dragged to safety.
Other staff arrived on scene, but the attacker reappeared holding another knife.
Attempts were made to get the knife from him, but he struck out at the original officer, who lost consciousness after receiving a knife wound to the back of his head.
Announcing the awards at the Royal Humane Society headquarters in London, the society's secretary, Andrew Chapman, praised the prison staff for their courage.
'This incident was truly horrific,' he said.
'Apparently the place was awash with blood from the injured prisoner and the injured prison officer.
'The injured officer showed huge courage before reinforcements had arrived in facing up to the knife-man who was going berserk.
'In the end he paid a heavy price for his bravery receiving a serious knife injury. He is a very brave man and truly deserves the bronze medal which is one of our highest awards.
'The rest of the staff too also richly deserve the awards they are to receive.
'In a volatile situation like this anything could happen and any of them could have been injured. However, they bravely stood their ground and by doing so brought the situation under control.
'All of them were truly heroic.'
Along with the officer who will receive the bronze medal, another member of staff is to receive a testimonial on vellum.
Both of those awards have been personally approved by Princess Alexandra who is president of the society.
Another member of staff will receive a testimonial on parchment and the rest will receive certificates of commendation.
No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the awards.