Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Lorraine Barwell, 54, was attacked at Blackfriars Crown Court as she escorted a prisoner from a holding cell to a waiting van.
21:37, UK,Monday 11 April 2016
Lorraine Barwell. Pic: Facebook.
A man who allegedly kicked a prison custody officer and caused "catastrophic" injuries has been found unfit to plead to a charge of murder, a court has heard.
Humphrey Burke, 23, attacked 54-year-old Serco guard Lorraine Barwell as she was leading him from a holding cell at Blackfriars Crown Court to a waiting prison van, the Old Bailey was told.
She died in hospital from a brain haemorrhage two days after the attack in June last year.
During the Old Bailey hearing, Burke was found unfit to plead to a charge of murder as he has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Instead, a trial of facts was opened, where prosecutor Duncan Penny QC said Burke had been "unpredictable" at previous Blackfriars hearings and had pretended to faint, collapse and go limp.
On the day of the attack on 29 June, he had appeared in the dock by 1pm and been returned to the holding cell.
Mrs Barwell and two other female guards - one of them on her first day in the job - went to his cell to take him to the prison van, the prosecutor said.
The victim had handcuffed herself to the defendant, which is standard procedure, when he collapsed to the ground.
Other staff arrived to assist and Burke was taken into the corridor and his handcuffs were removed, the court heard.
Three male officers tried to get him on his feet but he began to struggle and was restrained and handcuffed behind his back.
Mr Penny said: "As he was standing up, the defendant was bent forward whilst Lorraine Barwell was standing in front of him attempting to control his head.
"Once on his feet, the defendant was kicking behind him without making contact.
"He then appears to have lunged forwards and managed to kick out twice towards Lorraine Barwell who was standing in front of him.
"He seems to have kicked at her twice, the latter kick connecting with her head."
The first kick knocked her to the ground and while she was on her knees in front of Burke, he landed a second blow to her chin, the court heard.
A psychiatric report had been prepared on Burke at the time of the attack, but no definitive diagnosis of mental illness had been made, Mr Penny added.
Jurors were told they would only have to decide whether Burke carried out the alleged act, not whether he was guilty.
The trial continues.