Prisoner used ‘home-made’ weapon in officer murder bid, jury told

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An inmate at a high-security jail attempted to murder a prison officer in a “frenzied” stabbing attack using a pointed metal bar, a court has heard.

David Bieber was returning from the library when he used the “home-made” weapon to attack Alison Smith, who was left bleeding from wounds to her face and right arm, a jury at Worcester Crown Court was told.

Bieber, who had a “trusted role” as a cleaner at the time of the alleged incident on August 10 2017, denies attempted murder and an alternative charge of wounding.

The 56-year-old has also pleaded not guilty to unauthorised possession of an offensive weapon at Long Lartin Prison in Worcestershire on the same date.

Long Lartin disturbance
The incident happened at Long Lartin high-security prison, near Evesham in Worcestershire (Aaron Chown/PA)

Jurors were told that Bieber is not appearing at his trial in person, preferring to watch and listen to the proceedings via a video-link to HMP Wakefield in West Yorkshire.

Opening the Crown’s case on Thursday, prosecutor Simon Phillips told the six men and six women: “At the relevant time – the best part of five years ago – Mr Bieber was an inmate at Long Lartin high-security prison.

“This case is all about Mr Bieber’s use of an improvised weapon to attack a prison officer.

“The prosecution say that he attempted to kill her.”

Alleging that Bieber’s target area was Ms Smith’s face and neck, Mr Phillips said witnesses described the inmate saying “You are f****** with my meds, I am going to kill the bitch.”

Describing the “home-made” weapon, which he showed to the jury, Mr Phillips added: “It consists of two long pieces of metal pointed at one end and taped together.

“It became bent, probably during the course of the struggle.”

Telling jurors they will have to consider what was in Bieber’s mind at the time of the attack, which was caught on CCTV, Mr Phillips said the inmate was being returned to a wing by Ms Smith when they approached a locked gate in a corridor.

The prosecutor told the court: “The defendant then pulls out a weapon and begins to attack Alison Smith.

“He grabbed her by the neck from behind, he pulled her backwards, at the same time thrusting the weapon towards her head and neck.

“Luckily for her, instinctively, she put up her right arm to deflect the blows.

“It’s clear the weapon came into contact with her arm, as well as hitting her in the face.

“It’s probably accurately described as a frenzied attack.”

The court heard that other officers quickly came to Ms Smith’s aid after she screamed, restraining Bieber and disarming him.

She was later treated in hospital for cuts to her mouth and chin and four wounds to her right arm.

Following the incident, the court heard, a handwritten note was found in Bieber’s cell listing three names, including that of Ms Smith.

The defendant later told police his memory of events was hazy.

Jurors were told that the defence’s position in the case is that Bieber was making a “cry for help” to bring a complaint about medication to the attention of the authorities at the jail.

The trial continues.

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