Prisoner given life sentence for Whitemoor inmate murder bid

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A prisoner has been given a further life sentence after he admitted trying to kill a fellow inmate at the Whitemoor high security jail in March.

A prison officer has also been commended for his bravery in separating Kevin McCarthy from his victim following the attack last October.

McCarthy, 49, pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of 41-year-old Damien Fowkes when he appeared before Peterborough Crown Court last Wednesday.

Ordering him to serve a minimum of 18 years in prison, judge David Farrell said it was “just by luck” that the attack had not proved fatal.

He said: “This was a premeditated planned attack with a homemade weapon specifically made for the purpose.”

McCarthy is already serving a life sentence for a similar attack on an inmate in 2012.

Fowkes is serving life after he attempted to kill the Soham murderer Ian Huntley. He also killed another inmate in a separate incident at the Full Sutton jail in Yorkshire.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, said there was no evidence to explain why McCarthy had attacked Fowkes on October 2 last year, except for an “argument over the cleaning in the kitchen.”

The court heard McCarthy slashed Fowkes across the throat with a self-produced weapon, made from razor blades and paper, causing a 12 inch gash to his neck.

A prison officer named Alexander Stewart then intervened by standing between the two men, the court.

He then held McCarthy’s wrists saying “give me the weapon, give me the weapon”.

The court heard that Mr Stewart was suffering from terminal cancer and died just a few days before the sentencing hearing.

The judge commended his bravery, saying: “His bravery in the way he dealt with this incident was beyond what is often expected and is to be credited.

“His family should be told of his astounding bravery.”

Mr Gair said Fowkes was now paranoid another inmate will “finish him off”.

Mitigating for McCarthy, Neil Guest said he would “on the blessings of his client” keep his speech short and that the only factor he could mention was his early plea.