Prisoner jailed for attacking other prisoners - Bedford and Norwich


A psychologist, who interviewed a dangerous prisoner who had held a family hostage and visciously attacked a prison inmate with a chair leg, expressed her concerns that he should not be held at Bedford prison. Just over a week later Russell Ireland launched a sustained attack on another prisoner in his cell at the jail, using a modified artist's brush to stab him repeatedly a court has heard.

A Judge said Ireland had clearly intended to cause serious harm but his 'weapon' had caused only superficial wounds.
Ireland, aged 31, who began offending as a teenager, was said to pose a 'very significant danger' and was jailed for life at Luton Crown Court on Friday, 15 May 2015. He is now being held at a special unit at Woodhill prison, Milton Keynes, where he is kept virtually in solitary confinement.

Sally Mealing McLeod, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), outlined Ireland's recent offending history. She said in October 2013 he went on a violent rampage in Ipswich, where he was then living, which culminated in him holding a family hostage at knife point at their house keeping armed police at bay.

After his arrest he was sent to Norwich prison on remand and five days later attacked another inmate, after he took exception to the man coming into his cell. He ripped a metal leg from a chair and attacked him on a landing "clubbing him like a seal," said Miss Mealing McLeod. The victim had two wounds to his head and was losing blood. He suffered concussion, but no fractures.

In March 2014 he was sentenced for the Ipswich offences to seven years custody with a four year extension to his licence. The Judge had branded him as dangerous.

He stood trial for the Norwich prison attack at Norwich Crown Court and on 06 August last year was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, but cleared of attempted murder. He had told police he had wanted to kill the man and had daubed his own cell with death threats. By 07 November last year he was being held at Bedford prison, serving the seven year sentence and awaiting sentence for the Norwich offence.

The victim was 20-years-old serving a 12 month sentence for handling stolen goods and on the same wing as Ireland. They were allowed to move around freely during association. On that day, Ireland called the victim into his cell and blocked his exit, and began stabbing him in the stomach and neck with his homemade weapon. The prosecutor said he told the young man: "I will let you smoke your last cigarette, this is where you die today. The only way you are coming out of this cell is on a stretcher."

She said it was a frenzied attack and the victim seriously thought he was going to die. Other prisoners managed to force the door open and the victim escaped. He had 11 superficial stab wounds. When Ireland's cell was searched officers found disturbing writings about killing and violence.

Ireland pleaded guilty to wounding the victim with intent.

Judge Michael Kay QC said a psychologist had interviewed Ireland nine days before that attack. "Her report makes chilling reading. She says he presents a very high risk of serious harm to others and towards peers and staff in a custodial environment. She did not consider he was manageable at his current location in Bedford prison."

Miss Nerida Harford-Bell, defending Ireland said: "He is intelligent and has the willingness to change and the willingness to try and understand his violent behaviour. He is now at Woodhill which provides a therapeutic regime. He has found it a relief being moved away from other prisoners. He is virtually in solitary confinement all the time."

Judge Kay passed a life sentence for the Bedford and Norwich offences and set a minimum tariff of eight years. But he said: "After eight years it will be a matter for the Parole Board to decide when you are released and you will remain on licence for life.

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