Two HMP Whitemoor prisoners, one formerly from Ramsgate, who tried to murder a prison officer have been convicted following an investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.
Brusthom Ziamani, 25 and Baz Macaulay Hockton, 26, who previously lived in Wellington Crescent, were both convicted at the Old Bailey today ( October 7), of attempted murder. Ziamani was also convicted of actual bodily harm and common assault of a nurse and another officer who both came to the victim’s assistance.
Recovered CCTV showed the pair meeting and spending several minutes talking to each other prior to their attack on January 9 this year. Other footage then showed the pair waiting in the area where they eventually carried out their attack.
Wearing imitation suicide belts they had made from wires and plastic cartons, and armed with improvised weapons, they lured a prison officer to a cupboard on the pretext of getting them a spoon. As he went to the cupboard, they pushed him to the floor. Shouting ‘Allah Hu Akbar’, they set about inflicting serious injuries on the officer, whom they intended to kill. However, both were overpowered by other prison officers who rapidly filled the area and secured them in cells.
In a statement the victim said: “January 9th 2020, is the date now etched in my mind, the day my life changed. After 17-and-a-half years of service, I was the victim of a savage and cowardly attack. Today, after hearing the verdict, I feel a huge sense of relief that the trial is finally over, and that justice has been served.
“However, I know that this is just one small step of a long journey in my recovery. I want to take this opportunity to give thanks to those who have supported me from throughout this ordeal.
“Firstly, I want to thank the police for their professional handling of the entire situation. They thought of everything and I know that without their attention to detail the case would have been much harder to prove.
“Secondly, I wish to thank the judge and jury for considering the evidence and reaching the right verdict. They will never be able to truly appreciate how much this meant to me and I will forever be grateful.
“Thirdly, I thank the staff of HMP Whitemoor who have kept in contact and supported me throughout this difficult and stressful time and especially during the trial.
“Lastly, and most of all, I thank those colleagues of mine who risked their lives coming to my aid on that terrible day. If it was not for their bravery and instant response, I am convinced I would not be here today.
“Both physically and mentally, I now find myself unable to carry out my duties as a prison officer and I do not know if I will ever be able to again. I have all sorts of side-effects that I have no idea how to deal with. I am on a journey that is not of my making, but I know that with the ongoing support of my Prison Service family, I will prevail.
“To all those prison officers out there, maintaining their professionalism and doing an amazing job despite often facing extremely challenging circumstances and individuals, I offer my deepest admiration and count myself fortunate to be a part of such an amazing group of people.”
Commander Richard Smith, head of the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, said: “I am very pleased with today’s verdict. This was a calculated and horrific attack by two prisoners who had one aim – to try and murder prison staff.
“I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding professionalism and bravery of the courageous prison staff who responded to the incident. Their quick and selfless actions saved the life of their colleague that day. My thoughts are also with the other victims of this attack who also were injured during this incident.”
Due to the circumstances, the incident was treated as terrorism and the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command, supported by the Eastern Region Specialist Operations Unit, HMP Whitemoor and the prison service, launched a thorough investigation. Detectives recovered writings by both men, which were supportive of extremist Islamic ideology.
Sentencing is scheduled for tomorrow at the same court.
You can report any suspicious behaviour or activity that you think could be terrorist-related via the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) website at www.gov.uk/ACT or alternatively, call police in confidence on 0800 789 321.