Prisoner gets apology from ombudsman over attack inquiry


A triple murderer who attacked three prison officers with a broken bottle while serving a life sentence has secured an apology after authorities failed to properly investigate claims that he had been attacked by warders in his cell.

The Prisons Ombudsman, which investigates inmates’ complaints, sent a letter of apology to Kevin Thakrar after a critical report highlighted shortcomings in their inquiries into an incident that the convicted killer said had left him traumatised and suicidal.

Thakrar claimed that several officers attacked him in May 2008 when they went into his cell at Woodhill Prison, Buckinghamshire. The officer denied wrongdoing and said they that restrained him because he was behaving aggressively.

Two years after the alleged assault at Woodhill Prison, Thakrar attacked three prison warders with a broken bottle while he said he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. He had barricaded himself inside his cell after become paranoid that wardens were plotting against him, a court heard.

One of the officers nearly lost an arm in the attack at Frankland Prison, Durham, but Thakrar, of Stevenage, Herts, was cleared at a trial of attempted murder last year. Thakrar’s legal team had claimed that he endured a catalogue of racist abuse and assaults while in custody.

Thakrar was jailed for life in 2008 after he was found to have been present when three men were shot dead with a sub-machine gun during a drugs deal. Thakrar’s brother, who pulled the trigger, was also jailed for life.

Since then, Thakrar has made repeated complaints about his treatment in prison and had 180 investigated over the last four years but the parliamentary ombudsman ruled in June that he suffered “injustice” after the ombudsman failed to properly investigate the alleged assault.

Nigel Newcomen, the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman who took on the post in September 2011, said there was confusion about what Thakrar wanted to be investigated. But he added: “I take the Parliamentary Commissioner’s report extremely seriously. Where we have got something wrong, it is essential we learn lessons and improve… a new investigation into the original allegations is under way.”

“I am committed to ensuring that any deficiencies exposed by this case are remedied.”

Mr Newcomen defended his organisation’s role to “robustly and independently” investigate complaints about the treatment of those in custody.

But Mark Leech, the editor of the prison newspaper Converse, said: “We need a robust, open, transparent and accountable Prisons Ombudsman, one which enjoys the credibility of those it investigates as well as the confidence of those who make the complaints to it; at the moment it has neither and therein lays the danger.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

ebooksNow available in paperback
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need