Female prison officer ‘punched in the face during maximum security jail attack’


A female prison officer thought a ‘hyped up’ Islamic extremist was going to kill her after he punched her in the face during a maximum security jail attack.

Brusthom Ziamani, 25, and fellow inmate Baz Hockton, 26, allegedly lured Prison Officer (PO) Neil Trundle towards a cupboard before attacking him while wearing hoax suicide vests at HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire. 

The alarm was sounded in the prison and PO Georgina Ibbotson was one of the first on the scene. She said she tried to calm Ziamani but he punched her in the face so hard she sank to her knees and thought she was dying.

As she looked over her left shoulder she saw nurse Jayne Cowles laying on her side dazed and confused.

Brusthom Ziamani

Brusthom Ziamani (right), 25, and fellow inmate Baz Hockton (left), 26, allegedly lured Prison Officer (PO) Neil Trundle towards a cupboard before attacking him while wearing hoax suicide vests at HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire

PO Ibbotson managed to stagger to her feet and felt the blood dripping down her skin as she hid inside a storeroom cupboard.

Appearing in the witness box at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, she said: ‘I saw two men standing in front of me, Mr Ziamani and Mr Hockton both holding weapons.

‘I could see they had something in their hands and they holding it in clenched fists.

‘They were really hyped up and full of adrenaline and really intimidating definitely. I put my hands out and just said “woah”.

‘Mr Ziamani took a step forward, so I put my hands on my belt to rack my baton.’ 

‘Mr Ziamani punched me in the face as hard as he could. It was really like a big shock.

The aftermath of the alleged attack showed Mr Trundle on the floor nursing serious head wounds as staff gathered around him

The aftermath of the alleged attack showed Mr Trundle on the floor nursing serious head wounds as staff gathered around him

‘I fell to my knees. After I got assaulted and stood up, when I looked over my left shoulder nurse (Jayne) Cowles was on the floor laying on her side looking shocked.

‘I went to the back of the store cupboard. I could feel the blood dripping down my face. I did not know how bad the injuries were and I was fearing for my life.’

Ms Ibbotson said she never had any trouble with Ziamani before, adding that he spent a lot of time with Hockton ‘one to one’.

Mr Trundle was left covered in blood from multiple cuts after Ziamani asked him if he could replace a broken spoon. 

Giving evidence, Mr Trundle said he had never had any problems with Ziamani before. He said: 'There had been no confrontation or cross words, no indication that there was going to be any issues between us'

Giving evidence, Mr Trundle said he had never had any problems with Ziamani before. He said: ‘There had been no confrontation or cross words, no indication that there was going to be any issues between us’

The prison officer went to unlock a store cupboard, followed by the defendants. 

Giving evidence, Mr Trundle said he had never had any problems with Ziamani before.

He said: ‘There had been no confrontation or cross words, no indication that there was going to be any issues between us.  

As he approached the store cupboard he could see one of the men ‘in my peripheral view’. 

He added: ‘Before I knew it I was on the floor on my back. I wasn’t sure how I ended up on the floor. I did not know what position I was in but I was on the floor and I was being attacked.’

Mr Trundle approached the store cupboard followed by Ziamani and Hockton in the January 9 attack at Whitemoor jail

Mr Trundle approached the store cupboard followed by Ziamani and Hockton in the January 9 attack at Whitemoor jail

Mr Trundle, who has been a prison officer for more than 14 years, said he raised his arms to protect his face and called for help.

‘I felt pressure on my body as if people were lying on my body. I could feel stabs, especially to my head at this precise moment. I could still feel little bits of stinging.

‘I did not know who was on me or how many was on me but I did notice when that person or persons left. I noticed when they came back again and attacked me a second time.

‘I did not see any weapons. I could feel blows coming down on me.

‘During the attack I was laying on my back and I was trying to kick out. The kicking out made it more difficult for them.’

Both suspects were pinned down by officers after an emergency alarm was sounded in the building following the attack

Both suspects were pinned down by officers after an emergency alarm was sounded in the building following the attack

He added: ‘I did not realise how bad the damage was to myself until I went to the hospital and looked in the mirror.’

Jurors were shown CCTV footage of the incident, which was briefly interrupted when two female staff members attempted to intervene and were assaulted by Ziamani.  

Earlier on January 9, Ms Ibbotson said Ziamani had also asked her to fetch a spoon from the store cupboard which gave her a ‘gut feeling’.

She said: ‘It just made me feel uncomfortable – it made me feel like it was something I did not want to do.’

Ziamani told staff he had a bomb when they intervened to help their colleague, the Old Bailey heard.

Both inmates were found to have been hoarding writings on Islamic extremist ideology after the brutal violence, it was said.

Ziamani was carrying a four-page handwritten letter detailing his fanatical beliefs, the court heard.

The pair allegedly used lumps of twisted metal, makeshift stabbing instruments and a homemade shank in a ‘carefully planned’ attack.

Jurors were shown CCTV footage of the incident, which was briefly interrupted when two female staff members attempted to intervene and were assaulted by Ziamani. Pictured, Whitemoor high-security prison in Cambridgeshire

Jurors were shown CCTV footage of the incident, which was briefly interrupted when two female staff members attempted to intervene and were assaulted by Ziamani. Pictured, Whitemoor high-security prison in Cambridgeshire

Ziamani was serving a sentence for plotting to murder a British Army officer at the time of the attack, the court has heard.

Ziamani, formerly of Camberwell, southeast London, and Hockton, formerly of Ramsgate, both deny attempted murder.

Hockton admitted wounding with intent for the attack on PO Trundle but Ziamani denied the charge.

Ziamani admitted two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against Ms Ibbotson and Ms Jayne Cowles.

The trial continues.

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