Is he dead, asked Ian Huntley attacker

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The Independent Online

A prisoner who slashed Soham murderer Ian Huntley across the neck with a makeshift knife leaving him with a gaping wound told prison officers he wished he had killed the former school caretaker, a court heard today.

Damien Fowkes, 36, admitted attempting to murder Huntley at Frankland Prison, in Durham.

He also admitted killing another inmate - paedophile and child murderer Colin Hatch - at Full Sutton Prison, near York.

A judge at Hull Crown Court heard it was Huntley's "good fortune" that the seven inch long wound that Fowkes inflicted with a razor melted on to a piece of plastic cutlery missed anything vital.

Fowkes, who is originally from Northampton, sat in a sealed dock surrounded by prison officers as prosecutor Graham Reeds QC described how he chased Huntley around the healthcare unit at the jail, brandishing two homemade weapons.

At one point, the court heard, Fowkes trapped Huntley in a room and the notorious killer managed to escape by throwing a bedside table at the defendant as a prison officer challenged him.

"The defendant chased him around the room, still armed with the weapon, but he couldn't catch him," Mr Reeds said.

Huntley's ordeal ended when he shut himself in a servery as Fowkes tried to get at him and prison guards arrived in numbers.

The judge, Mr Justice Coulson, heard Huntley was in hospital for three days and needed 21 stitches in the wound. He also suffered a gash to his chest, the court heard.

Mr Reeds said: "It was good fortune that it missed all the vital structures in the neck."

He said Fowkes asked a prison officer: "Is he dead? I hope so."

When he asked if he had killed Huntley and was told he had not, Fowkes said: "I wish I had."

Huntley, 37, is serving a life sentence for the 2002 murders of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, with a minimum tariff of 40 years.

Following the attack at Frankland, Fowkes was moved to Full Sutton prison where he was placed on D Wing, for vulnerable prisoners, because of his regular bouts of self-harm.

The court heard it was in a cell on D Wing that he attacked Hatch - a paedophile who was serving a life sentence with a minimum tariff of 25 years - in February this year.

Hatch was jailed in 1994 for the sexually motivated murder of seven-year-old Sean Williams, in north London.

The judge was told the case was notorious at the time because Hatch had been on licence "for a similar but non-fatal sexual attack on a boy of the same age" when he murdered Sean.

Mr Reeds said Fowkes barricaded himself and Hatch into a cell and told prison officers he would not kill him if they stayed outside, and staff dealt with it as a hostage situation.

But, with the officers outside, Fowkes tied Hatch to a bed and used strips of bedding as ligatures to strangle him.

At one point, Fowkes told officers: "He's a nonce. He doesn't deserve to live."

Mr Reeds said Fowkes said he was motivated to commit both attacks because "they were offenders against children".

He said Fowkes remarked: "They just do my head in. It was the same when I did Huntley."

Mr Reeds said Fowkes said later he was now "more notorious than Ian Huntley".

Fowkes sat with five prison officers in the dock after a request to bring him into court in handcuffs was turned down.

He admitted attempting to murder Huntley on March 21, last year.

Fowkes denied murdering Hatch but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Mr Reeds said this plea was acceptable.

Fowkes has a long scar down the left side of his face and a tattoo down the right as well as a number of other tattoos.

He first came into court wearing a grey sweatshirt but, after lunch, he changed into an Arsenal football shirt and kissed the badge as he was brought into the dock.

The court heard Fowkes shows "strong psychopathic traits".

He was in Frankland serving a life sentence for robbery which was handed down in 2002.

But the court heard his minimum tariff had already expired when he attacked Huntley.

The court heard Fowkes has a long criminal record dating back to 1990, mainly involving robbery and weapons offences.

Three psychiatrists and two psychologists have examined him and agreed he has a "deep seated disorder of great severity".

Mr Reeds said Fowkes had a severe personality disorder and said he "is and will remain a danger".

The court heard sending him to a secure mental hospital was not an option, partly because of the danger he would pose to others like Hatch and Huntley.

Mr Justice Coulson adjourned the case until tomorrow at 11am when he will sentence Fowkes.