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A 29-year-old man has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 19 years and four months for the attempted murder of a prison officer at HMP Onley.
In the late morning of February 8, 2020, Joshua Kendall, previously of Lancaster Drive, Loughton in Essex, was standing near to his cell door whilst a prison officer was tidying up the balls from the nearby pool table after a period of recreation for the prisoners.
Without warning, Kendall approached the man from behind and using an improvised weapon incorporating a razor blade, slashed him across the neck.
The officer, with the help of other prisoners, managed to restrain Kendall who kept making repeated slashing motions towards the officer. Back-up then came in the form of other prison staff who were able to fully stop the attack from continuing any further.
Thankfully the officer did not sustain any serious injuries but in his victim personal statement read out at court, he said: “This incident has affected me mentally. I think about what happened all the time and how lucky I was that he didn’t manage to hurt me physically more than he did. It has totally knocked me. I didn’t realise how much but when I drive to and from work now I have times during my commute that I feel as though I can’t breathe.”
Following the attempted murder of the officer, Kendall was searched and found to have a further improvised weapon.
Earlier that year on January 22, 2020, Kendall had assaulted another prison officer over access to the prison phone by punching the man with force to the left side of his jaw, resulting in swelling and bruising.
For the attempted murder, Kendall was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 19 years and four months and for the assault earlier that year, a one-month concurrent imprisonment, meaning he will have to serve a minimum of 19 years 4 months.
Lead Investigator, Detective Sergeant Sarah Moore from EMSOU’s Regional Prisons Intelligence Unit, said: “I am really pleased to see Joshua Kendall handed a significant sentence for these exceptionally serious assaults, ones that could have had fatal consequences.
“Prison officers, just like other emergency workers, do not go to work expecting to be assaulted and such incidents should never be seen as simply ‘part of the job’. Violence of this nature, against those who work hard to maintain order within prisons, will not be tolerated.
“That’s why it’s so important to prosecute people like Kendall with the full force of the law and I’m pleased that he has been convicted and sentenced for attempted murder.
“The prison officers in this case have shown resolve and courage throughout our investigation and I would like to thank them both for their cooperation.
“I hope the conclusion of this case today will allow them to fully move forward knowing that the man who injured them will be detained for a much greater period of time."
In her sentencing remarks, Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking KC commended the prison officer involved in the attempted murder case, stating: “The fact that he was able to return to work at all after this terrifying incident is a mark of his outstanding commitment and courage.”