Worker’s forehead ‘peeled off’ after ‘jugging’ at top security jail

Worker’s forehead ‘peeled off’ after ‘jugging’ at top security jail

Prisoners have assaulted staff at HMP Belmarsh by throwing hot liquid over them according to a disclosure of almost 300 assaults (Picture: Getty/Reuters)

A prison orderly was subjected to a vicious ‘jugging’ at HMP Belmarsh by an inmate who threw a cocktail of boiling liquid over him. 

The worker was collecting food boxes at the top security prison when the assailant chucked the scalding mixture of water, oil and Vaseline at his face.

He was attacked after the prisoner decided he had been ‘disrespectful’ on a previous round, a log obtained by shows.  

The report reads: ‘[Redacted’s] forehead has peeled off due to the burns.’ 

The perpetrator later told staff he carried out the attack on April 20 last year after the orderly gave him a dirty food box the day before and should ‘clean it properly before handing it back’.

The log states: ‘Mr [Redacted] took this as being disrespectful.’ 

In the aftermath, the culprit was relocated to another part of the Category A jail, with the assault reported to the police and the National Incident Management Unit, which receives reports of all serious incidents in prisons.  

The unnamed victim was treated by prison healthcare staff, with a doctor assessing that he did not need to go to hospital, according to the log.  

The attack was among almost 300 assaults in 2023 contained in a dataset released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) after a Freedom of Information Act request by

A catalogue of violent incidents at Belmarsh has been released by the Ministry of Justice (Picture: In Pictures Ltd/Corbis via Getty Images)

Current and past inmates at the jail include Soham killer Ian Huntley, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the great train robber Ronnie Biggs and Henry Long, Jessie Cole and Albert Bowers, the three killers of PC Andrew Harper.    

Another entry says that a prisoner went into a target’s cell and ‘jugged him with boiling hot baby oil mixed with water’.

The assailant also tried to slash his victim with a razor blade during the assault on April 3 last year, according to the report. 

After being restrained, medical assistance was provided to both prisoners, with the victim being taken to hospital from the men’s jail in Thamesmead, south-east London.  

Staff have been assaulted by inmates at HMP Belmarsh with some of the attacks involving improvised weapons (Picture: Channel 5)

Clothing was taken for evidence from the perpetrator, with the search team finding that one of two razor blades he had been issued with was missing.  

Prison staff and officers were subjected to violence and threats on multiple occasions in 2023, according to the heavily redacted list of assaults. 

In another, a prisoner was said to have run a hand across his throat and made a threat to ‘f****** kill him!’ before making an unspecified type of physical contact with an officer. 

The culprit was returned to his cell and placed on report after the incident on June 6. 

A female officer was punched ‘at least twice’ in the face in another outbreak of violence before the inmate was restrained and relocated to another part of the jail.  

She was sent home after the attack on August 23, the entry shows. 

Prisoners also punched, spat at, threatened and threw liquid and urine at other members of staff, the logs show.

Female members of staff reported sexually inappropriate behaviour, including touching, in other disturbing reports.  

One says that a prisoner ‘inappropriately touched’ an officer and ‘harassed her during the serving of a meal’.

A log of the incident on November 29 states that ‘he and several others were refusing to move away from her’. The culprit was ‘placed on report’ after CCTV showed he had touched the officer’s back twice.

Mark Fairhurst, national chair of the Prison Officers’ Association (POA), said: ‘These truly deplorable examples of violence highlight the intolerable working conditions and the real and present threat our brave frontline officers face on a daily basis.

‘No government should expect prison officers to work in this environment until 68 years of age and future governments must rectify this anomaly and reduce the retirement age. 

‘Staff on the frontline in our out-of control prisons must be afforded every available protection including prosecutions of violent criminals who target them because they are authority figures.

‘The public must realise that without these brave frontline staff they are at risk. Shame on those who oppose appropriate protective equipment being rolled out that protects staff from these vile assaults. The POA will not rest until our members and our work environments are safe.’

An allegation of rape and a separate allegation of sexual assault, both said to be prisoner-on-prisoner, were also made during the timeframe, with each being reported to the police.  

In another incident, a prisoner strangled his target ‘till he passed out, then strangled him again before dinner’ according to another report.

The attack on September 10 left bruises on the right side of the victim’s neck, the entry shows. No further details are given.  

In total, 282 assaults — defined as ‘any attack, be that physical or verbal’ — are included in the document.

Prison officers have found themselves on the receiving end of violent behaviour at jails in England and Wales (Generic image by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

Grahame Morris MP, a member of the Justice Unions Parliamentary Group, said: ‘I am deeply alarmed by the increase in prisoner violence in the last 12 months. Assaults against staff are up 16%, and the total number of assaults are up 21% across the prison system.

‘Urgent measures must be taken to ensure the safety of prison officers and prisoners. It is reckless and irrational to provide items to dangerous prisoners that could be used as weapons.’ 

Releasing the data, the MoJ said the figures had ‘not yet undergone scrutiny’ or been published as part of official safety statistics.

The Prison Service maintains that violent prisoners can face tough punishments, including a maximum of two years behind bars.

Steps to reduce weapons, drugs and mobile phones include phone-blocking technology, additional X-ray body scanners and the provision of PAVA, a synthetic pepper spray. 

A spokesperson said: ‘We do not tolerate violence in our prisons and assaults have fallen by 20 per cent since 2019.

‘We have also invested £100m into tough security measures to clamp down on the contraband that fuels violence behind bars and have equipped officers with PAVA spray and body-worn cameras to boost protection.’ 

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