Page last updated at 23:28 GMT, Sunday, 21 March 2010

Soham murderer Ian Huntley attacked by jail inmate

Ian Huntley
Huntley was jailed for life in 2003

Soham murderer Ian Huntley is being treated in hospital after being attacked by a fellow inmate, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said.

He is serving a life sentence at Frankland Prison in County Durham for the murders of 10-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in 2002.

Some reports suggested his throat had been slashed, but his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

In 2005 an inmate threw boiling water over Huntley at Wakefield Prison.

Concealed remains

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "A prisoner at HMP Frankland was assaulted by another prisoner at about 3.25pm on Sunday 21 March.

"The prisoner was taken to outside hospital for treatment. His condition is not thought to be life-threatening."

Huntley, 36, was convicted of murdering the girls in December 2003 after they vanished from their homes in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in August 2002.

Colin Moses of the Prison Officers' Association says there are still weapons in the prison

The caretaker at the secondary school in Soham and his then girlfriend Maxine Carr, a teaching assistant in Holly and Jessica's junior school class, told police that they knew nothing of the circumstances surrounding the girls' disappearance.

But it emerged at their trial at the Old Bailey in December 2003 that Huntley had met Holly and Jessica as they walked past his home, enticed them inside and killed them before hiding their remains.

Carr was jailed after being convicted of perverting the course of justice and has now been released from prison and given a new identity.

In 2008, HM Inspectorate of Prisons raised concerns about violence at the Category A high security Durham jail.

The MoJ would not confirm if an investigation into the assault had begun.

Colin Moses, chairman of the Prison Officers Association, said the UK had "more violent prisons than we've ever had before" and the union wanted action taken to safeguard staff, inmates and the public.

He told the BBC: "What we are asking for, right up to Jack Straw and his ministers, is zero tolerance to violence in our prisons."

A spokeswoman from the Prison Reform Trust said: "The prison service has a duty to hold all prisoners safely and securely, regardless of offences committed or alleged, and no-one should underestimate how hard this duty can be to meet in a system under pressure."

Overdose attempts

During the attack on Huntley in September 2005 an inmate threw boiling water over him while he was on the health care wing at the high-security Wakefield Prison in West Yorkshire.

While in prison, Huntley has also tried several times to take a drug overdose.

In 2007 he was treated in hospital after swallowing prescription drugs, prompting a Prison Service investigation.

In September 2006 he spent a day in hospital after being found unconscious in his cell following an overdose.

Maxine Carr
Maxine Carr was jailed for perverting the course of justice

And in June 2003, while awaiting trial for the murder of the two schoolgirls, he saved up 29 anti-depressant pills in a box of teabags.

An official report into the 2003 suicide attempt said Huntley presented an "ongoing significant risk of self-harm".

The murderer, originally from Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, has been told he must serve at least 40 years of his life term.

Mr Justice Moses said in 2005 that the killings did not meet the criteria for a "whole-life tariff", but the 40-year term offered "little or no hope" of his release.

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