Double killer acquitted over 'threat to kill' prison officer


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The Independent Online

An inmate who murdered two students in 2008 has been acquitted of threatening to kill a prison officer.

The brutal murders of French students Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez, who were tortured and stabbed hundreds of times, landed Daniel Sonnex in jail for life with a minimum 40-year sentence.

While in custody at HMP Long Lartin, near Evesham, Worcestershire, on 19 June, 2010, he jumped on prison officer Richard Stringfellow’s back, held a knife to his throat and shouted: “I’m going to slit your f***ing throat.”

He admitted the attack, but denied false imprisonment and making threats to kill, claiming he did not intend to hurt Mr Stringfellow.

A jury of eight women and four men at Reading Crown Court agreed and cleared him of both charges.

The shaven-headed defendant sat quietly in the dock surrounded by male nurses as the verdicts were returned. Sonnex, a Muslim convert, told the court he attacked Mr Stringfellow because he thought “agents” were trying to assassinate him. He told the court he attacked Mr Stringfellow because the officer had found a “glider” he was building out of fridge shelves, which he planned to use to fly out of the prison.

Sonnex, formerly of Deptford, south-east London, is being held at Broadmoor high-security hospital and is taking anti-psychotic medication.