Jailed gangland murderer sues government over claims prison officers broke his arm
A convicted murderer is suing the government for £20,000 over a claim prison guards broke his arm after refusing to let him have his daily shower.
Antoin Gray was jailed for life at the Old Bailey in May 2017 following an attack outside a supermarket depot in September 2016.
Tobi Animashaun, 25, was ambushed by attackers wielding knives, machetes and a baseball bat in a gang-related assault as he left work at a Sainsbury’s in Charlton, south east London.
He was stabbed in the heart and stomach and died the following day, with Gray, now 26 and formerly of Charlton, one of three men convicted of his murder.
But Gray is now suing the Ministry of Justice at Central London County Court, claiming prisoner officers stamped on his arm and broke it when he complained about being refused his shower while in jail during his trial.
The Ministry of Justice denies liability, denying a stamp and insisting that any force applied was reasonable and that there is “no evidence of any particular distress or injury to his feelings”.
Testifying by video link from prison, Gray alleged the officers at Surrey’s Category B HMP High Down had overreacted, taking him to the floor and stamping on and snapping his arm in two places. He said he was left in plaster for two months.
He says he was then handcuffed, potentially making his injury worse, before being left to suffer in pain overnight with only paracetamol to ease his discomfort.
Gray claims to have suffered “humiliation, fear and shock” during the incident and that it resulted in him being “paranoid and wary” around officers afterwards.
The MoJ’s barrister, Sian Reeves, questioned Gray’s claim that his injuries have left him fearful of officers, highlighting an alleged record of confrontation around guards since the incident.
These flare-ups included attempting to intimidate a female officer when she challenged him about lingering in the shower area during a general alarm, throwing his dinner over a guard and punching him in the face, and again “confronting” a prison officer “when challenged on his attempts to go into the shower at a time when it was not permitted”.
Ms Reeves claimed that staff were doing their utmost to “de-escalate” a tense situation, trying to “calmly persuade” Gray back into his cell as it was not the correct shower time and he was getting increasingly irate about his lack of a wash.
But Gray denied being rude or aggressive, telling Judge Richard Roberts: “Not at all, I just didn’t appreciate the fact that I was being treated differently, because on previous days I had been allowed a shower. I was just trying to get my point across.”
However, the barrister claimed Gray went on to refuse repeated requests to move behind his cell door and demanded: “One way or another, I am having a shower. All jokes aside I am not banging up without a shower”.
“I disagree,” replied Gray.
Ms Reeves insisted that any force used against Gray was in the context of “control and restraint” techniques and she flatly denied the “touchstone” of his case - that his right arm was stamped on by a prison officer.
Gray’s victim, Mr Animashaun, was targeted as a former member of a rival gang known as ‘T-Block’, although he had turned his life around at the time of his death.
He was convicted of murder on the basis that he was at the scene of the killing and ‘encouraged’ the violence, although he played no part in the attack that followed.