Two murderers beat killer of eight-year-old Sarah Payne in jail with weapons

Pair given extra years behind bars before they may be considered for release

Press Association
Wednesday 14 October 2020 21:24
A memorial to Sarah Payne, murdered when she was eight
A memorial to Sarah Payne, murdered when she was eight
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Two convicted murderers attacked a notorious child killer in his prison cell as they shouted “get him in the neck”, a judge has heard.

Roy Whiting, who was jailed for life in 2001 for the abduction and murder of eight-year-old Sarah Payne, was attacked by Richard Prendergast and Kevin Hyden with makeshift weapons in his cell at Wakefield Prison, Leeds Crown Court heard.

A judge was told that Prendergast, 40, armed himself with two pieces of wood with a 6.7cm screw sticking out between them and Hyden, 40, also used a screw to attack Whiting.

Prosecutor Jonathan Sharp said one of the lifers shouted “you f****** nonce” as they stabbed and punched him multiple times in November 2018.

One also screamed: “Stab him, stab him, get him in the neck.”

Mr Sharp said Whiting was pulled up by the hair and the one-minute beating continued until prison officers arrived at the D wing with batons.

Whiting suffered puncture wounds all over his head, neck and upper body.

The prosecutor said Prendergast later tried to justify his actions by saying he wanted to be moved from D wing because it was associated with offenders against children, which he was not.

He said Hyden later boasted about his actions but this could have been “opportunistic bravado" to enhance his status in the maximum-security jail.

Mr Sharp said Hyden commented he had “done what everyone else wanted to do”.

Judge Tom Bayliss QC told them it mattered “not a jot" what the pair's motivation was for attacking Whiting, and he said their victim's notoriety was “irrelevant”.

He jailed the pair for an additional seven-and-a-half years, saying the practical effect of this - as they would normally only serve two-thirds of the sentence - was for five years to be added to the minimum terms they must already serve before being considered for release.

Prendergast was jailed for life with a minimum term of 19 years in 2018 for murdering a man he falsely accused of stealing his mobile phone.

Hyden was jailed for life with a minimum term of 32 years after he tortured and killed a 59-year-old woman who lived next door to him as he looked for money for drugs.

Both category A prisoners admitted causing Whiting, 61, grievous bodily harm with intent earlier this week.

Judge Bayliss said: “Whatever may have been his crime, whatever may have been - and remains - his notoriety, that, in my judgment, is irrelevant other than to record that his notoriety seems to have served as something of a motivation for the two of you to have done what you did.”

He said the pair had not even spoken to Whiting before the incident.

The judge said it did not matter whether the defendants were motivated by a desire to move wings or the “inexplicable kudos”.

He said: “None of that matters. What matters is that the two of you together formulated a plan to attack a fellow prisoner.” He said it was a “serious and sustained assault”.

Whiting, who is serving a 40-year minimum term, has been attacked a number of times in prison.

In 2011, double murderer Gary Vinter stabbed him in the eye twice, also in Wakefield Prison, because he was a “dirty little nonce”, a court heard at the time.

Hyden, who is from Telford, Shropshire, was jailed for life in 2015 for the murder of Davinia Loynton.

He forced his way into the 59-year-old's flat in Wellington, Telford, and tortured her as he tried to get cash for drugs before killing her.

Prendergast, from Worksop, Nottinghamshire, admitted murdering Lee Moody, 44, by stabbing him in the chest and neck at Mr Moody's home in the town.

Witnesses said Prendergast picked up a knife from a kitchen drawer and stabbed Mr Moody after he got angry about his missing mobile phone and mistakenly thought Mr Moody had stolen it.

Judge Bayliss heard that Prendergast has convictions for 53 separate offences and Hyden has 125.

No victim impact statement from Whiting was presented to the court.