‘Extremist tried to behead me in Norfolk prison’

PUBLISHED: 06:30 26 August 2018 | UPDATED: 19:06 26 August 2018

The scars on David Sutton's neck 14 months after the attack. Photo: David Sutton

The scars on David Sutton's neck 14 months after the attack. Photo: David Sutton


A prisoner who was the victim of an attempted beheading by an extremist in a Norfolk jail has described the horror of the attack for the first time.

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

David Sutton needed 30 stitches in the back of his neck when another inmate at HMP Wayland sliced the back of his neck open - hours before he was meant to be cutting Mr Sutton’s hair.

The 30-year-old said the attacker was shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he cut him with razor blades stuck to a handle in the lunch queue.

A prison officer who came to his aid also had his head cut.

But a year later no one has been charged for the crime.

The situation at the prison was described as The situation at the prison was described as "volatile" by inspectors last year. Photo: Angela Sharpe

“I’m on edge all the time now and I can’t deal with it,” the father-of-two said. “I was begging to get a transfer out of there.”

It was one of 235 attacks in HMP Wayland last year and comes as prisons struggle to stop violence.

“I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Mr Sutton, from Canvey Island, said. “I was waiting at the gates for the canteen at about 1.45pm.

“All of a sudden I felt a hot burn on the back of my neck.

“I put my hand on the back of my neck. The guy was screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’.

“He got me with three blades stuck together.

“I dropped to the floor. Two people grabbed hold of him and it gave me time to get up.

“I was screaming for an officer and an officer came over to get me out, but then he pushed me back in there again. The guy then got me again on the left side of my face.”

It fell to another inmate to save him, Mr Sutton said. That inmate ripped off his shirt and stemmed the flow of blood.

A second officer then arrived to tackle the attacker and he was injured.

Both Mr Sutton and the officer were taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

He had 30 stitches in his neck and side of face and was returned to prison that night.

But now just out of prison he is living with physical and mental scars.

He was not given therapy while in prison as a letter from the mental health service said it would be more beneficial to have therapy after he was released. He has suffered from anxiety, flashbacks and PTSD symptoms.

Mr Sutton was jailed for 33 months in May 2017 at Southend Crown Court for dangerous driving, criminal damage, attempted robbery and possession of a bladed article.

•Prison problems

The state of our prisons have been back in headlines following damning findings at HMP Birmingham this week.

The government took the prison off G4S, which was running it, after inspectors found scared prison staff locked themselves in offices.

Earlier this month staff at HMP Norwich told this newspaper about the dangers they faced.

There were 296 assaults in HMP Norwich last year and 235 in Wayland.

From 2014 to 2016 assaults in Wayland were up by 64pc.

They included an attack on the governor Paul Cawkwell who was punched in the face by a prisoner and an attack on the prison chaplain. Inspectors last year said the prison was “volatile”.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “We are ensuring prison officers have the tools they need to do the job safely by rolling out body worn cameras, ‘police-style’ handcuffs and restraints, and trialling PAVA incapacitant spray.”

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