Inmate attack on UK prison officer treated as terrorism

There has been a sharp increase in prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offenses in the past few years, sparking growing concerns that other inmates may become radicalized. (File/AFP)
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Updated 10 January 2020

Inmate attack on UK prison officer treated as terrorism

  • Two prisoners wielding improvised bladed weapons slashed the officer’s head and neck in Thursday’s attack
  • Four other prison staff were injured as they stepped in and detained the attackers, and were taken to hospital alongside the original victim

LONDON: A knife attack on a British prison officer by two inmates wearing fake suicide belts is being treated as a terrorist attack, police said Friday.
Two prisoners wielding improvised bladed weapons slashed the officer’s head and neck in Thursday’s attack at the maximum security Whitemoor prison in eastern England.
Four other prison staff were injured as they stepped in and detained the attackers, and were taken to hospital alongside the original victim. All five officers have now been released.
One of the suspects was named by media as Brusthom Ziamani, 24, a follower of radical preacher Anjem Choudary who was convicted in 2015 of plotting to behead a British soldier.
The other suspect was reported to be a Muslim convert jailed for a violent offense.
“The matter is being treated as a terrorist attack and the investigation continues at pace,” said London’s Metropolitan Police, which leads on national counter-terrorism matters.
“The incident itself was quickly contained and dealt with by prison staff.
“From our enquiries thus far, there is nothing to suggest any continuing threat inside or outside of the prison system linked to yesterday’s incident.”
The suspects remain in prison and no arrests have been made, police said.
There has been a sharp increase in prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offenses in the past few years, sparking growing concerns that other inmates may become radicalized.
The government has trained almost 20,000 staff in extremism awareness training, and employs multi-faith chaplaincy teams in all prisons.
It also opened two Separation Centers where individuals considered to pose the biggest risk are kept away from the main prison population.


Man suspected of killing wife, three children in Australia fire

Updated 20 February 2020

Man suspected of killing wife, three children in Australia fire

  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country was ‘shocked, saddened and devastated’ by the tragedy
  • A passer-by who tried to intervene in the situation was also taken to hospital to be treated for facial burns

SYDNEY: An ex-rugby league player is suspected of murdering his three children and estranged wife in Australia by burning them alive inside their car, in what police described as one of the most horrific incidents they have encountered.

Officers said 31-year-old Hannah Clarke died in a Brisbane hospital on Wednesday just hours after her three children aged three, four and six were found dead in the car on a suburban street.

Her husband, Rowan Baxter, who also died, allegedly approached the vehicle and doused it with petrol before setting it alight, The Australian newspaper reported.

The paper said Clarke jumped from the burning car and rolled on the ground, saying “he’s poured petrol on me.”

Officials said she was rushed to hospital with severe burns following the “horrific” incident but later succumbed to her injuries.

Baxter, a 42-year-old former rugby league player for the New Zealand Warriors, was believed to be in the burning vehicle but got out and died on a footpath.

Queensland Police detective inspector Mark Thompson said Thursday that Baxter died as a result of burns and a self-inflicted wound.

“Information that’s to hand has led us to believe that the Baxter children and Hannah Clarke were killed and I don’t believe there’s any suspicious circumstances around the death of Rowan Baxter,” he said.

Clarke’s sister-in-law, Stacey Roberts, set up a fundraiser to pay for funeral costs and support Hannah’s parents, who she said had “exhausted themselves to try and help Hannah escape this monster.”

“All those who knew Hannah or had even just met her once would know how much of a beautiful soul she was. Her children (were) her life,” Roberts posted on Facebook.

The page has so far raised almost Aus$100,000 ($67,000).

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country was “shocked, saddened and devastated” by the tragedy, which has led to an outpouring of grief on social media.

“Hannah and her three children were so senselessly and maddeningly murdered in what has occurred in a terrible act of violence and it just grieves our hearts terribly today,” he said.

Natasha Stott Despoja, a former senator and chair of anti-violence group Our Watch, called for stronger action to address violence against women in Australia, which she described as a “national emergency.”

“I know people want change, people are angry & sad today,” she tweeted. “How long before we stop this slaughter in our suburbs?“

A passer-by who tried to intervene in the situation was also taken to hospital to be treated for facial burns, a Queensland Ambulance Service spokesperson said.

The emergency responders who attended the scene have been stood down from their duties and will receive support, he added.