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Damages claim goes to charity.

A former prison officer spoke of his relief last night after a judge awarded him damages from a controversial pounds 75,000 payout to the inmate who beat and tortured him at a North-East jail.

Malcolm Joyce was unable to return to his job at Castington Young Offenders' Institution in Northumberland following the 20-hour hostage ordeal in 1997.

He will only receive about pounds 3,500 following yesterday's court hearing in Liverpool.

But it marks the successful conclusion of his legal battle to prevent Marvin Pomfret, from cashing in on his crimes.

Mr Joyce, 41, a father-of-two who lives in the North-East, said he would hand over all of the damages he receives from Pomfret to the children's cancer ward at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

His legal victory has been hailed by victims' campaigners and MPs who say it strikes a timely blow against Britain's compensation culture.

Mr Joyce was locked in an office, gagged and hooded, cut with a knife, repeatedly beaten with a baseball bat and pool cue and had darts thrown at him by Pomfret and fellow Castington inmate Gregg Newlands in 1997.

His life was threatened by the pair and he was left so traumatised by the incident that he was forced to quit his job in the prison service.

He was outraged when Pomfret, 23, was given the pounds 75,000 compensation by Bolton Council last year after claiming that being sent to the wrong school as a child led him into a life of crime.

In February Mr Joyce sued Pomfret for damages and won his case earlier this year. But because pounds 55,000 of the pounds 75,000 award went on legal costs and more than pounds 10,000 to his mother and girlfriend, there was only pounds 3,500 left for the judge to award Mr Joyce yesterday.

Last night he said: "I feel that justice has been done today although I would have preferred it if all of the pounds 75,000 awarded to Pomfret could have gone to charity.

"I am glad it is all over but still dismayed that someone like him could have been given such an award when this sort of money should go to the victims of crime or a charity rather than criminals themselves.

"If the pounds 75,000 had been given to charity in the first place I would never have taken my legal action but I was determined that Pomfret should not benefit from his crimes."

Hexham MP Peter Atkinson said: "This is wonderful news and I congratulate Mr Joyce for his determination to fight this clear injustice.

"People everywhere are sickened by these awards to career criminals who are being given taxpayers money which the public would much rather see go to genuine victims of crime.

'Prisoners forced to urinate in bags'

Young prisoners being transported to a Northumberland jail sometimes have to urinate in plastic bags because of the lack of toilet breaks on their journeys, a report has found.

Staff at the Castington Young Offenders' Institution have reported incidents where inmates often arrived from court carrying the bags which they had been forced to use as makeshift toilets in the prison van.

A survey found that while 85pc felt they were well treated by escort staff, 78pc said the frequency of toilet stops on journeys was bad or very bad.

Prison inspectors also voiced concerns about young prisoners being handcuffed throughout their journeys, claiming it is a potential safety risk in vehicles which are not fitted with seat belts and could affect their emotional well-being.

Castington's acting governor Stephen Jones said the report's concerns about the transport and movement of inmates was a matter for the Prison Service bosses but would be acted upon.
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 9, 2003
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