Six stabbings in Pentonville prison since death of Jamal Mahmoud

Pentonville Prison interior Image copyright PA
Image caption There have been six attacks on inmates involving a blade in G-wing at Pentonville prison since the murder of inmate Jamal Mahmoud, 21, last month

The prison wing in which an inmate was stabbed to death at Pentonville has seen a further six attacks in the following weeks, the BBC has learned.

Jamal Mahmoud, 21, died after being stabbed in the prison on 18 October. Two men have been charged with murder.

At least one of the subsequent attacks involved a razor blade, with an inmate slashed across his face and back.

Meanwhile, a manhunt for Matthew Baker, 28, and James Whitlock, 31, who escaped from the prison on Monday, is ongoing.

The Metropolitan Police advised the public not to approach the two men.

Det Ch Insp Steve Heatley said: "We have received a positive response to our appeals and the flow of information from the public so far has been very good.

"It is very likely they are being assisted by others, possibly with somewhere to stay, clothing and money, in order to evade capture.

"Anyone helping is potentially committing a crime. I would encourage them to contact us so that we can bring this matter to a safe and swift conclusion."

The Prison Officers Association (POA) has blamed years of staff cuts and underinvestment in the prison service for the recent problems at the prison.

'Not enough staff'

Steve Gillan, general secretary of the union, said: "There has been underinvestment in Pentonville for many years. We have highlighted our concerns.

"We know the focus now will be on Pentonville prison officers, but the reality of the situation is the focus should be on government and their budget cuts that have created this situation.

"The basics of security aren't getting done simply because there are not enough staff to deal with the daily tasks."

Ahead of Monday's escape, Baker was found guilty of attempted murder, having stabbed a man in Dagenham. He had been remanded for sentencing later this week.

Whitlock was on remand after being charged with conspiracy to burgle cash machines.

The pair reportedly used diamond-tipped cutting equipment to break through bars before scaling a perimeter wall.

There were also reports that their beds were stuffed with pillows to give the appearance they were asleep.

Pentonville Prison

  • A category B Victorian prison which opened in 1842
  • It holds more than 1,200 adult men
  • It is located on Caledonian Road in Islington, north London
  • Notable former inmates include Oscar Wilde in 1895

Last week, Justice Secretary, Liz Truss, unveiled a package of measures aimed at reforming prisons.

The package includes a recruitment drive to add 2,500 new officers to the front line and "no-fly zones" to stop drones dropping drugs and other contraband into prisons.

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