HMP Highpoint inmate held prison staff hostage for over three hours with makeshift ‘shiv’

A Prison Officer at walking past the gates of HMP Highpoint Prison in Suffolk where Tony Martin has

A Prison Officer at walking past the gates of HMP Highpoint Prison in Suffolk where Tony Martin has been serving his jail sentence.; City; HMP Highpoint, Suffolk; Photo; Matthew Usher; Copy; Chris Bishop; For: EDP; EDP pic © 2003 Tel: (01603) 772434 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press, Archant

An inmate at HMP Highpoint who held prison staff hostage for more than three hours with a makeshift ‘shiv’ to get himself transferred to another prison has received a 16 month jail sentence.

Lee Twyman, 28, was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court today after pleading guilty to false imprisonment at an earlier hearing.

The court heard Twyman, who is serving an indeterminate sentence for aggravated burglary with a minimum of four years, wanted to be moved to a more secure prison after being threatened by other inmates.

In an attempt to achieve this he held six prisoner staff hostage, including two women, threatening them with a plastic knife with razor blades attached.

He has since been moved to HMP Belmarsh.

Prosecuting, Michael Crimp told the court that a week before the offence there had been a lockdown at the prison near Haverhill and contraband had been found in Twyman’s cell.

However, something had gone wrong with the paperwork and he was not disciplined, sparking rumours among other inmates.

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On May 11 he was moved to another wing after reporting he has been threatened.

The following day, Twyman told his Life Plan worker he was planning to make a grab for a prison officers keys to ensure he would be moved.

But before she could report it, Twyman went to the staff office where four officers and a mental health nurse were present.

Mr Crimp said: “Once the door was closed the defendant turned to the people who were on there and produced a plastic knife with razor bladed melted onto it.

“He told them no one could leave or they would be cut.”

Another member of staff entered the office bringing the number of hostages to six.

After a brief negotiation, Twyman agreed to release four of them but the other two remained in the office for more than three hours.

The court heard Twyman also barricaded the door with furniture.

At one point he got angry, letting off fire extinguishers and smashing cups against the door.

The stand-off came to an end when Twyman gave himself up, putting down the knife and removing the barricade.

In mitigation, Vanessa Halai said Twyman was ‘fearful for his personal safety’ and ‘felt he had no other way out’.

Sentencing Twyman to 16 months, Judge David Goodin said: “Anyone our of control with a nasty weapon is a frightening site.”

He also praised the officers for their bravery and fortitude.