Five members of prison staff suspended following Woolwich suspect injury

Michael Adebolajo lost two teeth in what the Prison Officer Association described as 'necessary restraint'

Five members of prison staff have been suspended after one of the men suspected of murdering the soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich had two teeth knocked out while being restrained in Belmarsh high-security jail.

The Prison Officer Association (POA) said that life in the modern prison system is far different from “a sitcom like Porridge”, and said it expected the officers involved to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

Michael Adebolajo, the 28-year-old accused of murdering Fusilier Rigby, was injured on Wednesday, and the POA criticised the Ministry of Justice for its reaction in the immediate aftermath of the incident, claiming it had done “little to avoid sensationalist reporting” of what happened.

A spokesperson for the Prison Service confirmed an investigation was underway, and said: “Five members of prison staff have been suspended while police investigations are ongoing.”

The POA said its officers had used “approved techniques”, adding: “Our members strenuously deny any wrongdoing and the POA will be supporting them legally and emotionally during this difficult time. The use of restraint is only used where necessary when dealing with incidents up and down the country."

It said it will fully co-operate with any police investigation, and expects the officers to be "fully exonerated".

Adebolajo is accused together with Michael Adebowale, 22, of hacking Fusilier Rigby to death near Woolwich Barracks in south-east London on 22 May. They are due to stand trial at the Old Bailey on 18 November.

Peter McParlin, chairman of the POA, repeated the union’s concerns over the Ministry’s conduct again on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. He said: "We have spoken to our members and on the basis of what our members have told us they have done absolutely nothing wrong.

“We are concerned that the Ministry of Justice have over-reacted due to the notoriety of this prisoner,” said Mr McParlin, adding that they had failed to “correct false reporting” of the incident at Belmarsh.

He said restraint techniques were designed to minimise injuries to staff or prisoners “but sometimes there are unforeseen consequences in any violent incident”.

Mr McParlin added: “Some people have the idea that somehow it's a sitcom like Porridge. I'm afraid the reality of the modern prison system is far different from that.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable