Later today, two men will be sentenced for their part in the attempted murder of a prison officer at high security HMP Whitemoor in January 2020. Unfortunately, extreme violence against the men and women who put on the uniform has become almost normalised in a system beset with squalor, overcrowding and unchecked predatory behaviour. Even so, the particular characteristics of this incident are of huge concern.
The two prisoners were charged under terrorism legislation. In January this year, Brusthom Ziamani, a 25-year-old previously sentenced to 22 years in jail for a plot to behead a British soldier and Baz Hockton, a violent knife criminal who converted to Islam in prison and was radicalised by Ziamani, dressed up in fake suicide belts they had made in their cells and launched a ferocious attack on prison officer Neil Trundle, shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ in what was clearly a carefully planned assault.