Dartmoor Prison kitchen knife killer given life term

William Tolcher Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption William Tolcher stabbed a fellow prisoner to death with a vegetable knife

A convicted killer who stabbed a fellow inmate to death with a knife he had been given to chop vegetables has been given another life sentence.

William Tolcher, 51, killed Alex Cusworth in the kitchen of Dartmoor Prison last November.

Tolcher, from Liverpool, was already 15 years into a life sentence for murdering a woman in Newquay in 1996.

The judge at Plymouth Crown Court told him he was "extremely dangerous" and may never be considered fit for parole.

Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Alex Cusworth suffered internal bleeding after the attack

Tolcher attacked Mr Cusworth, 37, with the 10in (23cm) knife at the Category C prison, where prisoners and staff work together to prepare 650 meals three times a day.

The jury was told he had been given the utensil to chop vegetables and the pair did not speak prior to the attack, but it was believed the victim had earlier said something which caused offence.

Mr Cusworth, originally from Stafford, suffered internal bleeding and died in hospital.

Tolcher denied murder but was found guilty and ordered to serve a minimum of 33 years.

At sentencing, Mr Justice James Dingemans, said: "You are a person who is a complete stranger to the truth."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The attack happened at HM Prison Dartmoor in November

The victim's adoptive mother, Ann Edgeller - a former Mayor of Stafford - said her son had been failed "by every establishment in the country".

She told the court he was "a very vulnerable young man with mental health issues" whose "biggest desire was to live a normal life".

She said: "Alex, I am very, very sorry. I was not there to protect you when you needed it the most."

A spokesman from the Ministry of Justice said: "We will not tolerate violence in prisons and work closely with the police and Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute those involved and always push for the harshest penalty."

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