Accused officer says prisoner’s removal from cell ‘textbook’

Witney Gazette: HMP Bullingdon HMP Bullingdon

A SENIOR officer from HMP Bullingdon charged with assault told police he and his men carried out a “textbook” and legal removal of a prisoner from his cell.

Michael Stooks, from Tingewick, Buckinghamshire, is on trial at Oxford Crown Court, along with three other prison officers, following an incident on February 4 last year.

The defendants are all charged with being involved in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by falsifying “use of force” records to allegedly cover up an attack on a prisoner, Jamie Cassell, who had smashed up his cell.

Nigel Daley, prosecuting, said Stooks’ co-conspirators were Martin Egerton, 25, of Lower Heyford, Mark Reed, 45, of Bicester, and Nicholas McGregor, 38, of Witney.

The barrister said when the officers came to record the incident, they changed the name of a guard, Stephen McCallum, who Mr Daley said objected to supervisor Stooks’ behaviour.

But yesterday, Mr Daley read out Stooks’s interview with police, in which, the barrister told the court, he said the removal of the prisoner, who was destroying his cell, went to plan.

Describing the cell, he said: “It was just carnage in there, complete with water cascading on to the floor, live electrics hanging off the wall, and there was glass everywhere.”

In the interview, Stooks added: “We had done all the nicey, nicey things, but he’s totally wrecked his cell. He’s burnt his bridges. He’s going into the box.”

It was a “textbook” removal, apart from Mr McCallum who “didn’t seem to be in control,” Stooks told police.

Stooks is also charged with two counts of assault and all four men deny all the charges.

The trial continues.

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