Robber jailed for two more years after prison assault

Everthorpe Prison
Everthorpe Prison

Two Everthorpe prison officers received facial injuries after a robber serving four years behind bars turned violent as he raged against the system which has jailed him.

Darren Bird, 22, had placed himself in conflict with prison authorities damaging cells and assaulting prison staff, Hull Crown Court heard last Monday.

He refused to attend a disciplinary hearing which led to his withdrawal of privileges being announced in his absence.

It fell to two prison officers to tell Bird he was to be moved cells and lose his right to a TV and civilian clothing. They were then attacked.

Bird, formerly of Cambridge, appeared in custody at Hull Crown Court last Monday to be sentenced after pleading guilty to two charges of assault on prison officers Kevin Brankling and Robert Hanson.

Crown barrister Philip Evans said Kevin Brankling was chosen to talk to Bird because he had a rapport with him. He said, conscious of the possibility of violence, three officers went to his cell to see that he had placed his TV on the floor expecting to lose it.

Bird initially accepted the ruling without violence. He was told he was to move cells to another wing. When Brankling returned to find he had packed he was told he needed to hand over his clothing. He replied: “Are you right? I’m not moving! I have something to sort out tomorrow.”

Knowing his reaction was a breach of prison conduct he said: “Nick me!” When asked for his clothing again he said: “You are not having them!” Mr Brankling tried to reason with Bird.

Without warning Bird lashed out with his right hand and hit Mr Brankling in the face with a mug full of liquid, knocking his glasses off.

“Mr Hanson took hold of Bird in a bear hug. Bird drew his head back and butted Mr Hanson in the face repeatedly.

“He received a broken nose which required surgery. Mr Brankling struggled to get Bird off Mr Hanson.”

The court heard Mr Hanson had been off work as a result of the assault which happened as he was simply doing his job.

The court heard Bird had a record of 48 convictions including battery, arson, robbery and two escapes from custody.

Defence barrister Christopher Dunn said: “He is 22-years-old and has clear problems with authority. The prison is highly-stretched now, like never before, causing a lack of resources, which is no fault of the prison officers. This is reflected in the attitude of the prison officers. The regime has changed. They are now feeling under pressure. It leads to frustration and lots of anger. Things roll downhill and the cracks are starting to show.”

Sentencing Judge John Dowse told Bird: “You know it has to be a prison sentence. It’s only a question of length. These two men were injured for doing their jobs.”

He ordered Bird should be given a two-year prison sentence starting immediately. Bird was due to be released from his robbery sentence in October 2014.