Northern Ireland news

Female prison officer slashed across face in Maghaberry jail

A female officer was injured at Maghaberry prison yesterday. Picture by Pacemaker

A FEMALE prison officer has been treated in hospital for a serious neck wound after she was attacked at Maghaberry jail.

The woman, believed to be in her 30s, was taken to hospital after she was attacked by a male inmate at the Co Antrim high security prison.

She underwent surgery last night and is now waiting to see the plastic surgeon.

Adrian Smith from the the Prison Officers' Association said he believed the woman was attacked with a weapon "made from a razor".

"She has a three-inch deep cut below her left ear," he said.

"I believe that the officers who arrived to help were greeted by a horrendous scene. She suffered terrible blood loss."

Mr Smith said the attack happened on a landing as the officer was letting another prisoner into a cell.

He said the woman was fortunate not to have been fatally injured.

"I understand she said she thought she was going to die because she'd lost so much blood," he said.

Mr Smith said he was concerned by staffing levels at the jail.

"We're always concerned about the safety of staff because as the years go on there are fewer and fewer officers expected to do the same job," he said.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: "The Prison Service utterly condemns this attack and has referred the incident to the PSNI".

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