Inmate Kevan Thakrar cleared over prison guards attack
- 9 November 2011
- From the section Tyne & Wear
A man serving life for three murders has been cleared over a prison attack in which he stabbed three guards.
Kevan Thakrar, 24, admitted lashing out at the guards with a broken bottle at Frankland Prison, County Durham, but claimed it was in self-defence.
Thakrar, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, was cleared of two counts of attempted murder and three counts of wounding with intent at Newcastle Crown Court.
Ex-Frankland governor David Thompson hit out at the verdict.
Thakrar is serving a life sentence for the drug-related murder of three men and the attempted murder of two women in 2007.
The court heard he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of previous prison experiences.
Thakrar was accused of trying to murder officers Craig Wylde and Claire Lewis and the wounding with intent of a third guard, Neil Walker, in March last year.
He claimed he attacked the officers in self-defence in a "pre-emptive strike" following ill-treatment and abuse at the high-security prison, the jury heard.
'Dismayed and humiliated'
The court heard Thakrar endured years of racist bullying and abuse at Frankland Prison and said he had been victimised since his arrest for the murders of three men and the attempted murder of two women.
Officers denied a "culture of racism" at the County Durham jail.
During the trial Thakrar said he was sorry that the guards were hurt but said "it should not have come to that".
Mr Thompson, who retired last month but was in charge at the time, described the injured officers as "decent people".
He said Mr Wylde and Ms Lewis would not work in the prison service again and Mr Walker saved Ms Lewis from worse injuries by intervening.
He said: "Staff at Frankland and elsewhere across the service will feel let down, dismayed and humiliated by part of the criminal justice system in which they serve.
"Colleagues in other professional agencies have expressed their dismay at how a case like this can be conducted in a manner where the victims feel they are on trial, that they have done something wrong, and then for the assailant to be exonerated."
Mark Leech, editor of national prisoners magazine Converse, said: "It is shocking that David Thompson, the former governor of Frankland Prison, has completely dismissed the view of the jury who sat patiently and listened to all the evidence."
Mr Justice Simon expressed sympathy to the injured guards.
He said: "It was not part of the defence case in any way that they brought their injuries upon themselves."