Filthy criminal threw faeces in faces of prison officers during 'dirty protest' at HMP Northumberland

HMP Northumberland
-Credit: (Image: newcastle chronicle)

A filthy criminal threw faeces into the faces of two prison officers during a "dirty protest" in his jail cell.

Michael Fitzimmons had smeared excrement across the walls and ceiling before blocking the sink and turning on the taps, flooding his cell with watery waste, which started to seep out onto the wing at HMP Northumberland, in March last year.

When two prison officers, a man and a woman, spoke to Fitzimmons through an observation hatch in his cell door he threw bowls of the dirty water into their faces, with the male officer being hit in the eye. The court heard both were left "stinking" and in fear they may have been contaminated with disease that they could spread to their families.

Fitzimmons, 30, of no fixed address, refused to co-operate with the court process. He entered no pleas, refused to give instructions to legal representatives or attend for trial. He was convicted of two charges of administering poison or noxious substance and one of criminal damage after a trial that was held in his absence.

At his sentence hearing, which he also refused to attend, Judge Robert Adams sentenced him to two-and-a-half years behind bars. The court heard he was serving a 29-month sentence for false imprisonment when he staged the "protest" and would have been released from that in December last year.

Judge Adams said: "He was in his cell and decided to stage a dirty protest. He smeared faeces over walls and ceiling and blocked the sink. The sink overflowed and the water mixed with faeces."

The judge said the water covered the cell floor before it started to spread to other cells and prison staff were alerted. When two officers arrived at Fitzimmons' cell door they spoke to him through the hatch and put towels down to try and stem the flow of water.

Fitzimmons told them he was worried he would lose his "canteen" rights, where inmates can buy items they need but he was told that was not the case. The court heard they had never had any issues with him before but during the conversation he used a bowl to scoop out contaminated water from the blocked sink and threw it at their faces.

One of the officers said in a statement: "This has got to be the worst kind of assault. It's disgusting and I should not have to put up with it."

The court heard a maintenance crew was called out to deal with the damage caused. The court heard Fitzsimmons refuses to leave his cell on the segregation unit and sits in it all with no TV. He has refused a mental health assessment and Judge Adams said "there are undoubtedly mental health issues".