Prisoner jailed for life for trying to slit officer's throat in 'terrifying' HMP Onley attack

Joshua Kendall.
Joshua Kendall. Credit: Northamptonshire Police

A prisoner who tried to cut the throat of a prison officer in a "terrifying" incident has been told he will spend at least another 19 years behind bars.

Joshua Kendall, from Loughton in Essex, was standing near his cell door while the officer was clearing up the balls after a game of pool when he launched the attack on February 8 2020 at HMP Onley on the Northamptonshire/Warwickshire border.

Out of the blue, Kendall approached the man from behind and slashed him across the neck using an improvised weapon incorporating a razor blade.

With the support of other prisoners, the officer managed to restrain Kendall before other prison staff arrived to help.

Even after the attack, Kendall continued to make repeated slashing motions towards the officer.

The officer didn't sustain any serious injuries in the attack, but did admit that the incident had scarred him mentally.

HM Prison Onley on the Northamptonshire/Warwickshire border. Credit: PA

"I think about what happened all the time and how lucky I was that he didn’t manage to hurt me physically more than he did. It has totally knocked me," he said in his victim personal statement which was read out in court.

"I didn’t realise how much but when I drive to and from work now I have times during my commute that I feel as though I can’t breathe.”

Sentencing Kendall to life in prison with a minimum of 19 years and four months for attempted murder, Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking KC praised the prison officer for his "outstanding commitment and courage."

“The fact that he was able to return to work at all after this terrifying incident is a mark of his outstanding commitment and courage," she said.

Kendall was also given a one-month concurrent sentence for punching another prison officer in the jaw in a separate incident in January 2020.

“I am really pleased to see Joshua Kendall handed a significant sentence for these exceptionally serious assaults, ones that could have had fatal consequences," said Lead Investigator, Detective Sergeant Sarah Moore.

“Prison officers, just like other emergency workers, do not go to work expecting to be assaulted and such incidents should never be seen as simply ‘part of the job’. Violence of this nature, against those who work hard to maintain order within prisons, will not be tolerated."

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