Prisoner gets life for attacking guard with razor on toothbrush

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An on-duty inmate who tried to kill a prison guard by slitting his throat with a razor blade attached to a toothbrush has been sentenced to life in prison.

Joshua Kendall, 29, launched the attack outside his cell at HMP Onley using the makeshift weapon on February 8, 2020.

A court heard the guard clearing balls from a nearby pool table after an inmate recreation break when Kendall approached him from behind.

The officer was then slashed in the neck with the knife as colleagues and even other inmates came to his aid.

Kendall continued to lash out with the weapon, but was eventually stopped by other staff when backup arrived at the Category C prison in Northamptonshire.

When he was searched, another improvised weapon was found, and he was later charged with attempted murder.

Kendall, formerly of Loughton, Essex, had also ambushed another guard to gain access to the prison phone a month earlier, on January 22, by punching him in the jaw.

He pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder and one count of assaulting a care worker at Northampton Crown Court.

Kendall was sentenced Tuesday to life imprisonment with a minimum of 19 years and four months.

In her sentencing comments, Judge Adrienne Lucking KC praised the jailer who was nearly killed.

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She added: “The fact that he was able to return to work after this terrifying incident is a sign of his extraordinary commitment and courage.

“This was a pre-planned and determined attempt to murder a prison guard and the crime was committed for what you saw as a desirable transfer to prison to meet terrorists.”

The court heard that the knocked-down officer miraculously escaped without serious injury, but was emotionally scarred by the attack

Kendall had approached him from behind, making two ‘pull’ movements from the officer’s left ear across the throat to his right ear.

In his victim’s personal statement read to the court, he said: “This incident has affected me mentally.

“I think all the time about what happened and how lucky I was that he didn’t hurt me more physically than he did. It really touched me.

“I didn’t realize how much, but now when I’m driving to and from work, I have times on my commute when I feel like I can’t breathe.”

The court heard that officers found another sharpened knife and sharpened toothbrush handle in Kendall’s possession and could smell spices in his prison cell.

Kendall told officers in an interview that he was “infused” with herbs and heard voices telling him to harm himself and others.

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During the earlier attack on another officer, Kendall was escorted back to his cell when he said he wanted to call.

Andrew Copeland, the prosecutor, said the guard explained that he couldn’t call now, but he could later.

The court heard Kendall then walked back to the phone and, looking “calm and composed,” said to the jailer, “I’m on the phone now.”

Kendall then hit the jailer hard on the jaw and it took several officers to restrain him and take him back to his cell.

The court heard on one occasion that Kendall approached another inmate and told him that he “don’t like prison” and that he wanted to meet terrorists in another prison.

He has previously been convicted of shoplifting, burglary, possession of a knife article, resisting arrest, assaulting aid workers and dangerous driving.

Adam Davis, on the defensive, said his client had a severe personality disorder and had a mental illness the day before the attack.

He said: “Obviously he suffered, so there is an alternative explanation for manufacturing these weapons.

“Nothing was done to isolate him, nothing was done to make sure he didn’t re-injure himself, he was just left in the state he was in.

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“The person on CCTV was a very disturbed person. With the help he is now undertaking, there is some hope for him.”

Detective Sergeant Sarah Moore, of the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU), said: “I am delighted to see Joshua Kendall hand out a substantial sentence for these exceptionally serious attacks, which could have had fatal consequences.

“Prison officials, like other first responders, don’t go to work expecting to be attacked and such incidents should never be seen as just ‘part of the job’.

“This kind of violence against those who work hard to maintain order in the prisons will not be tolerated.

“That’s why it’s so important to prosecute people like Kendall with the full force of the law and I’m glad he was convicted and convicted of attempted murder.

“The prison guards in this case have shown determination and courage during our investigation and I would like to thank them both for their cooperation.

“I hope the conclusion of this case today will enable them to move forward fully, knowing that the man who injured them will be detained for a much longer period of time.”

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