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Prison service compensate assaulted gardener

Posted in: Criminal Injury and Assault Employer Negligence Workplace Injuries 

The prison service has awarded a former gardener an undisclosed sum following an assault at HM Prison and Young Offenders Institution Onley, near Rugby in Warwickshire. The gardener, David Thomas from Northants, was attacked by several inmates who had been smoking cannabis. Mr Thomas was in the process of returning to work after a period of absence due to illness, and discovered upon his return that former safety procedures had been changed. Instead of working under the supervision of a manager, he was instructed to supervise the group of inmates on his own. He described the group of inmates as aggressive and irritable, and claimed that they were mocking him when he attempted to get them to carry out their work duties. 

20-minute response time

As the situation worsened, Mr Thomas began to fear for his safety. He remained with the inmates as he knew that they could not be left alone. He was assaulted by the group of the inmates and called for assistance. His call for help was responded to twenty minutes later – previously this would have taken a couple of minutes.

After the attack Mr Thomas began to suffer the symptoms of stress. He experienced nightmares and was emotionally and psychologically damaged. He was advised by health experts not to return to work unless guarantees could be given that he would never have to work alone again. However HM Prison could not give guarantees and Mr Thomas was retired on medical grounds.

The prison service agreed to award compensation to Mr Thomas for psychological trauma.

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