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Norfolk prison officers awarded for bravery after prisoner tried to behead another inmate

PUBLISHED: 06:57 06 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:14 06 December 2018

Derek Walker and Ross Sanford, prison officers at Wayland prison in Norfolk, have been presented with bravery honours at a ceremony in London, following an incident last year when a prisoner shouting Islamic oaths attacked another prisoner with a knife,

Derek Walker and Ross Sanford, prison officers at Wayland prison in Norfolk, have been presented with bravery honours at a ceremony in London, following an incident last year when a prisoner shouting Islamic oaths attacked another prisoner with a knife,

Archant

Two prison officers who defused an attack at HMP Wayland in Norfolk when a prisoner attempted to behead another inmate have been presented with bravery honours at an awards ceremony in London.

The scars on David Sutton's neck 14 months after the attack. Photo: David SuttonThe scars on David Sutton's neck 14 months after the attack. Photo: David Sutton

One of the officers, Derek Walker, was presented by City of London Police Commissioner, Ian Dyson, with the Royal Humane Society’s bronze medal, one of its highest honours. The other officer, Ross Sanford, received a Testimonial on Vellum. Both awards were personally approved by the society’s president, Princess Alexandra.

The incident that resulted in the awards happened on July 21 last year when a prisoner shouting Islamic oaths attacked another inmate.

The victim, David Sutton, said that the man was shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he cut him with razor blades stuck to a handle in the lunch queue.

Officer Walker was the first prison guard on the scene. He had been showing a new warder his duties before rushing forward and ordering the prisoner to drop the knife.

Derek Walker, right, a prison officer at Wayland prison, has won a bravery honour at an awards ceremony in London.Derek Walker, right, a prison officer at Wayland prison, has won a bravery honour at an awards ceremony in London.

But the prisoner continued the attack.

Officer Walker then punched the attacker in the face, forcing him to drop the knife, which another prisoner threw into another room. However, the attacker retrieved it while the injured prisoner was dragged to safety.

Other staff arrived on the scene but the attacker re-appeared holding another knife. While attempts were made to get this knife from him and subdue him he struck out at Officer Walker who lost consciousness after receiving a knife slash to the back of the head.

Mr Sanford clubbed the man with a baton.

Ross Sanford, right, a prison officer at Wayland prison, has been presented with a bravery honour at an awards ceremony in London.Ross Sanford, right, a prison officer at Wayland prison, has been presented with a bravery honour at an awards ceremony in London.

At the ceremony on Tuesday (December 4), both officers were praised for their action by the Royal Humane Society Secretary, Andrew Chapman, who said they had shown “enormous bravery” in standing up to the knife man in the way they did.

Founded in 1774, the society hosts two annual ceremonies at which people nominated for bravery are invited by the society to receive their awards in London.

The attack was one of 235 such violent incidents in HMP Wayland last year. Mr Sutton needed 30 stitches in the back of his neck. The picture of the wounded neck is of Mr Sutton’s injury, and not the prison officer’s.

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