The Government has "absolutely no intention" of paying compensation to Soham killer Ian Huntley after he was attacked in prison, Justice Secretary Jack Straw said today.
Any claim by the 36-year-old, who required hospital treatment after reportedly having his throat slashed by a fellow inmate at Frankland Prison in Co Durham, would be "robustly, vigorously resisted", Mr Straw told MPs.
The comments came after it emerged Huntley could be awarded up to £20,000 in compensation if he sues the Prison Service for negligence.
During Commons question time, Mr Straw said the Government would fight such a move.
"There has been a suggestion, by apparently this prisoner's lawyer, that he will seek compensation," Mr Straw said.
"I can say to this House as an absolute fact that would be robustly, vigorously resisted by this Government, and we have absolutely no intention of making such compensation payments."
He agreed with Tory MP Andrew Mackay (Bracknell) that a successful claim would be an example of "the compensation culture gone absolutely mad".
Earlier, it was reported Huntley's fellow inmate, 34-year-old Damien Fowkes, from Northampton, was responsible for Sunday afternoon's attack.
Fowkes's stepson Lewis told The Sun the father-of-one "did it for Holly and Jessica".
He added: "Most people will think Damien is a hero. I think he should be given a medal. The only pity is he didn't do a better job."
Fowkes's mother Jayne, 51, said her son has a daughter near the age of 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, who were murdered by Huntley in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in 2002.
Ms Fowkes told the newspaper: "He loves his daughter so much and I'm wondering if that's what set him off."
Fowkes was reportedly jailed for life in 2001 after carrying out a knifepoint robbery so he could get money for drugs.
The Prison Service has not said what Huntley's state is, but said after the attack that his condition was not life-threatening.
A spokesman said: "A prisoner at HMP Frankland was assaulted by another prisoner at about 3.25pm on Sunday March 21. The prisoner was taken to outside hospital for treatment but has now returned to prison."
Prison officials have launched an investigation into what happened. It was reported that Huntley's throat was slashed with a makeshift knife, and the child killer was found by prison staff lying in a pool of blood.
He was convicted in December 2003 of murdering Holly and Jessica after they vanished from their homes in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in August 2002.
He is currently serving two life sentences for the murders, which sent shockwaves across the country.
Huntley, a caretaker at the secondary school in Soham, and his then girlfriend Maxine Carr, a teaching assistant in Holly and Jessica's junior school class, initially told police they knew nothing of the circumstances surrounding the girls' disappearance.
But it emerged at their trial at the Old Bailey that Huntley had met Holly and Jessica as they walked past his home, enticed them inside and killed them before hiding their remains.
Carr was jailed after being convicted of perverting the course of justice but has since been released.
The assault on Sunday afternoon is not the first time Huntley has been attacked in prison. An inmate threw boiling water on him while he was on the health care wing at high-security Wakefield Prison in West Yorkshire in September 2005.
He has also tried to commit suicide in prison on three occasions.
He was moved to HMP Frankland, a Category A high security men's prison, in 2008. That year, HM Inspectorate of Prisons raised concerns about violence at the jail.Reuse content