Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo was forcefully pushed against a window by prison officers which knocked out his teeth, his brother has claimed in an interview.
Five members of the prison staff have been suspended after Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo lost two teeth when he was restrained in jail. The 28-year-old was injured at high-security Belmarsh prison in south-east London on Wednesday, where he is being held on suspicion of murdering soldier Lee Rigby.
Adebolajo has been targeted repeatedly by prison guards and was denied urgent medical treatment in the wake of last week’s attack in which he lost two teeth, his brother alleged.
In an interview with the Observer, Jeremiah Adebolajo revealed that his 28-year-old elder brother had been subject to numerous “hostile” incidents involving staff since he arrived at Belmarsh, one of the country’s top-security jails, two months ago. He said that although Adebolajo did not want to highlight the frequency of abuse he had been subject to, last Wednesday’s alleged assault had changed the family’s stance, highlighting their concern that Adebolajo did not feel safe inside the jail.
The 26-year-old said: “By the time he did receive medical care it was too late to put in the teeth. He has been targeted since he arrived there. We have written correspondence, and I speak to him every day, which details the fact that certain guards were hostile.
“They were always implying they were waiting for the opportunity to do him over, basically. These guys targeted him. All I can say – and this is a direct quote from my brother – is that they have been very hostile towards him.”
Jeremiah confirmed that practically all the hostility had come from guards. “You need to understand he’s in solitary confinement, category A. There’s no other chance of a prisoner being involved. He’s not even allowed to go to Friday prayers, he’s not had a single family visit – they’ve made it very difficult having correspondence with him,” he said.
Jeremiah said he had lodged a formal complaint with his lawyers over treatment of his brother.
Prison Officers Association
A Prison Service spokesperson said the Metropolitan police was continuing to investigate the incident adding “it would be inappropriate to comment while the investigation is ongoing.” A Ministry of Justice spokesman challenged the claims that Adebolajo was not offered immediate medical attention, saying that a doctor attended and that the “prisoner refused medical treatment initially but was subsequently treated by healthcare staff”.
The Prison Officers Association (POA) has denied any wrongdoing by officers, saying a prisoner was restrained using approved techniques. The POA has also criticised the MoJ for failing to take action to stop “sensationalist reporting” of the incident.
Peter McParlin, chairman of the POA, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, that members had said they had done nothing wrong. “Some people have the idea that somehow it’s a sitcom like Porridge. I’m afraid the reality of the modern prison system is far different from that,” he said.