Crime & the Law

Serco prison custody officer dies after alleged assault at Blackfriars Crown Court

Blackfriars Crown Court, Pocock Street in Southwark. Image: Google Satellite.

Blackfriars Crown Court, Pocock Street in Southwark. Image: Google Satellite.

A woman prison custody officer allegedly assaulted as she escorted a prisoner at Blackfriars Crown Court has died.

54 year old Lorraine Barwell worked for Serco.

The Justice Secretary Michael Gove said:

I was shocked to hear of the tragic death of Lorraine Barwell. No words can express the devastating effect this will have on her family and friends and my deepest sympathies are with them at this difficult time. Lorraine Barwell was a courageous and dedicated prisoner custody officer who delivered a vital public service for more than a decade.

Lorraine was attacked as she escorted a prisoner between London’s Blackfriars Crown Court and a waiting van parked in the courtyard on Monday.

An air ambulance was called and she was treated at the scene before being taken to an east London hospital.

The Met Police made the announcement that she has died this morning.

It was known that her injuries were so severe that she was unlikely to survive.

It’s understood her family gave permission for life support to be switched off once the potential recipients of organ donations could be found.

Serco group chief executive Rupert Soames said:

Lorraine has been with the company for over 10 years doing this and she was a consummate professional, really good at her job and much respected. There are very detailed procedures for handling people because on a daily basis we are handling murderers, rapists and people accused of vile crimes. This has all come as a huge shock to us, in part because it has has never happened before because our procedures and government’s procedures have been proved very safe until now.

Glyn Travis, from the Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, POA, said:

It’s a sad day for the criminal justice system, the prison service, and of course the family. This is not about public or private, this is about someone who is just doing their job. No-one expects their mum, wife, sister or daughter to go to work and never come home.

22 year old Humphrey Burke, who has no fixed address, appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday and was remanded to appear at the Old Bailey on 15th July.

Lorraine Barwell: Tragic prison custody officer ‘assaulted while escorting prisoner from court’ has died


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