Five prison officers have been suspended after claims that one of the two men accused of hacking a British soldier to death on the streets of London,was assaulted by them in jail.
Michael Adebolajo,28,reportedly lost two teeth as he was restrained during an incident at Belmarsh high security prison in southeast London on Wednesday. Adebolajo,charged with the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby is said to have claimed he was targeted by prison officers.
We can confirm that an allegation of assault was passed to the Metropolitan Police Service on 17 July by Belmarsh Prison. An investigation has been started, a Metropolitan Police spokesperson said.
Adebolajo and co-accused,Michael Adebowale,22,are due to face trial in November over the horrific knife attack that claimed the life of Fusilier Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich in south-east London on May 22 and will appear for trial later this year.
The officers have been sent home on full pay and cannot work at the jail or in any other prison for the time being. Four of the officers are thought to have been suspended on Thursday,while one was suspended Friday.
All five men deny that they have assaulted Adebolajo. Meanwhile,prison sources told The Times that the incident occurred when several officers were trying to control and restraint the prisoner as he refused to obey their instructions.
The Prison Officers Association (POA) denied any wrongdoing by officers,saying the Adebolajo was restrained using approved techniques. Prison staff do not attack prisoners. We feel that the Ministry of Justice missed an opportunity to correct false reporting of events at Belmarsh, POA chairman Peter McParlin said.
Adebolajo’s brother Jeremiah said that the accused called his family and told them he was bleeding and had lost some teeth.
The British Muslim convert of Nigerian descent is charged with murder and possessing a revolver. He is also accused of the attempted murder of two police officers. His alleged accomplice,Michael,is charged with murder and possession of a firearm.