Prisoner attacked inmates to stay in jail

Joseph Whyte attacked an inmate at Edinburgh's Saughton Prison. Esme Allen
Joseph Whyte attacked an inmate at Edinburgh's Saughton Prison. Esme Allen
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A prisoner who carried out two chilling attacks on other inmates because he wanted to stay in jail told warders after a murder bid: “I’ll do a lifer. This is my home.”

Joseph Whyte may now get his wish after a judge called for a full risk assessment report to be prepared on him which can lead to the imposition of a life sentence.

Whyte, from Edinburgh, walked away from his first victim sniggering to himself after slashing him in the neck with a razor in the city’s Saughton prison before swinging a pool cue in the air and repeating: “I’ve killed him.”

The heavily bleeding prisoner, Alexander Smith, stumbled into a jail office and told a manager: “I think it’s an artery. I’ve been done.”

Smith would have died from blood loss without prompt medical attention but doctors managed to close his 12 cm long gaping neck wound with 20 staples.

Whyte, 30, asked an officer after the attack: “Is he going to die? I hope he dies.”

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that he was placed in segregation following the attempted murder in Saughton before later being transferred to Addiewell prison in West Lothian.

His solicitor advocate Ewen Roy said: “What is perhaps more surprising is that he was only in segregation in Addiewell for a day after arriving there and then, to his surprise, was moved into the general prison population.”

“He has indicated that he voiced an objection to staff about moving. He felt he could not integrate. He was constantly paranoid and anxious and feared killing someone,” he said.

Whyte went on to attack another prisoner with a blade who suffered wounds to his throat and face. The victim, Jason Motion, had a total of 33 sutures inserted to the injuries and will be scarred for life.

Advocate depute Ross Macfarlane said Whyte grabbed him from behind and began to strike him repeatedly with the blade.

“Prison warders were alerted when they heard the victim’s screams and they saw the stabbing action. At this point, he was bleeding heavily from his face and neck,” he said.

Whyte admitted attempting to murder Smith on February 26 last year at Saughton prison by striking him on the neck to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and danger of his life.

He also pled guilty to assaulting Motion to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and danger of his life on August 8 at Addiewell.

The court heard that Whyte has an extensive record mostly for theft and assault.

At the time of the first attack Smith had been sitting at a table with another inmate in a communal area at Saughton when he aware of warm fluid on his neck.

He put his hand to it and realised that he was bleeding profusely. Mr Macfarlane said: “At this time he saw Whyte walking away and ‘sniggering’ to himself.”

Staff gave the victim first aid and paramedics were called for the injured man.

Mr Macfarlane said: “He believed he was going to die as a result of the attack and he was terrified.”

The second victim had been sitting at stairs in Addiewell prison when Whyte sat behind him and pulled out a blade and launched his attack.

The prosecutor told the court that it was believed that Whyte was “completely institutionalised”.

He said: “It is further believed that he carried out these crimes because he wanted to remain within the prison system.”

Mr Roy said that Whyte has been held in segregation since the second attack and added: “He has expressed no wish at all to be returned to the general prison population, or indeed, the community in the longer term.”

“He fully admits that he finds living in the community frightening,” said the defence lawyer.

“He has spent most of his life in care homes, secure settings, young offenders’ institution or adult prison,” he said, adding: “He very rarely leaves his cell. He does not even exercise.”.

He said: “Pretty much the only visitor he has is his allocated psychiatrist who sees him monthly. He previously had been diagnosed with having a severe personality disorder.”

The judge, Lord Uist, made a risk assessment order which can lead to the imposition of an Order for Lifelong Restriction.