Inmate's prison sentence lengthened by 27 months for throwing jug of faeces and urine in officer's face

·3 min read
Edward Highton threw a jug of faeces and urine over a prison officer at HMP Swaleside in Kent. (Kent Police)
Edward Highton threw a jug of faeces and urine over a prison officer at HMP Swaleside in Kent. (Kent Police)

A prison inmate who threw a jug of faeces and urine over an officer has had his sentence increased. 

Edward Highton, 40, threw the container in the officer's face as other inmates looked on laughing.

The contents went in the officer's mouth and eyes and over his uniform, causing him to repeatedly vomit following the incident at HMP Swaleside in Kent. 

Highton, who has a string of previous convictions, was already serving an eight-and-a-half year sentence for a robbery committed last April, but has now been sentenced to an extra two years and three months behind bars after the incident. 

Maidstone Crown Court heard that Highton targeted the officer after he called for prisoners to go to their cells for lock-up in September 2018.

HMP Swaleside. HM Prison Swaleside in Kent, one of the three prisons in Kent where private firms are to be invited to run them and control around 2000 inmates and a combined annual budget of 37 million.   (Photo by Gareth Fuller - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
The incident happened at HMP Swaleside in Kent in September 2018. (Getty)

CCTV shows him calmly leaving his cell and casually approaching the member of staff before throwing the noxious fluids in his face.

The court heard that the guard was tested for various diseases - all of which came back negative - but the "humiliating" incident had led him to quit the prison service. 

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Highton, who previously lived in Newent, Gloucestershire, admitted administering a poison or noxious substance with intent to injure, aggrieve or annoy.

The 40-year-old, who has 17 previous convictions for 40 offences including kidnap and causing grievous bodily harm, claimed he had been "under pressure" from other inmates to carry out the attack, saying there was "money on his head" and he had been beaten and stabbed in the past.

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But the court heard the only complaints Highton made two months before he assaulted the officer were about the way the governor was running the prison and nothing about violence or mistreatment, and he had also boasted he could "handle himself" after spending a total of 15 years in prison.

Sentencing Judge Catherine Moore said: "This was a disgusting attack on the prison officer as he went about his responsibilities.

"He was a public servant, performing a difficult and challenging role in protecting the public and those detained.

"Such attacks are designed to, and indeed did, upset, demean and distress the officer concerned.

"Any conduct of this nature creates an obvious and serious risk of wider disorder and disobedience. It affects not only the morale of the officers but the safety of those in a custodial environment."

Detective Constable Matthew Robinson, from Kent Police, said: "Highton has already spent a considerable part of his adult life in prison and this case shows that he remains incapable of displaying the most basic standards of respect and decency to other people.

"What the victim was subjected to was disgusting and degrading. Prison officers know their position can expose them to unpredictable and challenging incidents but that does not in any way provide an excuse for Highton’s intolerable behaviour.

"We work closely with the prison service when staff are targeted in this manner and will always work to prosecute offenders.

"I am pleased a new jail term has been imposed. It clearly demonstrates that such offences will not be tolerated by us or the courts. I hope the victim feels a sense of justice being served."

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