Woolwich suspect ‘targeted repeatedly’ by ‘hostile’ prison guards

Jeremiah Adebolajo lodges formal complaint following claims officers knocked brother Michael’s teeth out when they ‘smashed his head against a window’

Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo has been targeted repeatedly by prison officers, and was pushed against a window in an alleged attack which knocked out two of his teeth, his younger brother claimed yesterday.

Jeremiah Adebolajo, 26, said that he spoke to his brother nearly every day, and that they had written correspondence, all of which said that members of the Prison Service had been “very hostile towards him”.

Speaking to the BBC and the Observer, Jeremiah said: “These guys targeted him. They were waiting for the opportunity to do him over.” He added that the abuse could only really come from guards, because his brother is in category A solitary confinement, never meeting other prisoners.

Five staff at Belmarsh Prison, where Adebolajo, 28, is being held on suspicion of murdering Drummer Lee Rigby, were suspended on full pay after the incident on Wednesday.

Jeremiah said the alleged assault involved officers pushing his brother’s head against a window when he was already restrained, adding: “I wonder why it took five prison officers to restrain one man and how in the course of that restraint his teeth were able to be knocked out.”

He said: ““They decided to twist his arm back... the arm that had been shot.... He manoeuvred out of that so they smashed his head against a window.”

Following the alleged attack, Adebolajo’s brother claims the prisoner was denied immediate medical treatment - meaning the teeth could not be put back in. The Ministry of Justice refutes this claim, with a spokesperson telling the Observer the 28-year-old refused help initially, before he “was subsequently treated by healthcare staff”.

Jeremiah said the frequency of abuse against his brother had concerned the family for some time, but that they only decided to speak out now because of the severity of the incident on Wednesday. He told the BBC he had spoken to Adebolajo’s lawyer, and to the governor of Belmarsh, and that a formal complaint had been lodged.

Earlier the chairman of the Prison Officers Association, Peter McParlin, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he was confident the five suspended staff would be “exonerated”.

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.” He said that while staff followed correct restraint procedures, which are designed to minimise injuries to all parties, “sometimes there are unforeseen consequences in any violent incident”.

He also hit out at the Ministry of Justice for “over-reacting” because of the notoriety of the prisoner, and criticised it for failing to do more to correct “sensationalist” and “false” reporting of the incident.

Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “We can confirm that an allegation of assault was passed to the Metropolitan Police Service on 17 July by Belmarsh prison. An investigation has been started. The Prison Service said it would be inappropriate to comment while that investigation was ongoing.

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

Rigby was a machine gunner and ceremonial drummer serving with the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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