Man imprisoned for life after attempted murder of officer in Northamptonshire prison

The court heard that the man fashioned a weapon using a toothbrush and a razor blade before attempting to cut a prison officer’s throat

A man has been sentenced to life in prison after attempting to murder a prison officer, using a weapon fashioned from a toothbrush and razor blade.

Joshua Kendall, aged 29, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, September 20 after pleading guilty to one count of attempted murder and one count of assaulting an emergency worker.

The court heard that Kendall was a serving prisoner at HMP Onley when the offences took place.

Joshua Kendall, aged 29, was sentenced to life in prison for attempted murder at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, September 20.

A prison officer was escorting Kendall back to his cell on January 22, 2020 when Kendall said he wanted to make a call, walked over to a phone and picked up the receiver, the court heard.

Andrew Copeland, prosecuting, said the prison officer explained he could not make the call right now but could do so later. He then tried to take Kendall to speak with other officers regarding this.

The court heard that Kendall then walked back to the phone again and, appearing “calm and collected”, told the prison officer, “I am making the call now.”

Kendall then punched the prison officer hard in the jaw, the court heard, and it took a number of officers to restrain him and return him to his cell.

The court heard that, on February 1 2020, Kendall approached another prisoner and told him he “does not like jail” and he wants to meet up with terrorists in another prison.

Mr Copeland said that the victim of Kendall’s murder attempt was another prison officer on duty on February 8. At around 11.15am, Kendall approached the officer from the rear holding a toothbrush with a razor blade fixed to the head.

The court heard that Kendall then used the weapon in a drawing motion from the prison officer’s left ear, across the throat, to his right ear twice. Kendall, however, did not succeed in his murder attempt because of an obstruction that resulted in the weapon being dropped to the floor.

The prison officer was then able to grab Kendall and secure him to the floor.

The court heard that, when searched, officers found another sharpened blade and a sharpened toothbrush handle in Kendall’s possession and could smell spice in his prison cell.

Kendall told officers in an interview that he was “spiked” with spice and he heard voices telling him to harm himself and others.

Mr Copeland told the court that Kendall had made references to religious and ideological causes but a psychological report found that these were psychotic symptoms caused by drug induced psychosis.

The officer did not sustain any serious injuries but in his victim personal statement read out at court, he said: “This incident has affected me mentally. I think about what happened all the time and how lucky I was that he didn’t manage to hurt me physically more than he did.

“It has totally knocked me. I didn’t realise how much but when I drive to and from work now I have times during my commute that I feel as though I can’t breathe.”

The court heard that, prior to this offence, officers had previously discovered a sharpened metal bar located in a waste pipe in Kendall’s prison cell’s sink and another in his pillow case.

Kendall has previous convictions of shoplifting, burglary, possession of a bladed article, resisting arrest, assaulting emergency workers and dangerous driving where he used a motor vehicle as a weapon by driving over a supermarket employee who tried to apprehend him for shoplifting.

Adam Davis, in mitigation, told the court that Kendall has a severe personality disorder and had a mental health episode the day prior to the attack.

Mr Davis said: “Clearly, he was suffering so there is an alternative explanation for fashioning these weapons.”

He added: “Nothing was done about isolating him, nothing was done about making sure he did not self harm again, he was just left in the state he was in.”

The court heard that, since the attack, Kendall has been admitted into hospital where he has had no access to drugs, he has fully complied with his medication and there has been no episodes, threats or assaults on others.

Mr Davis continued: “Look at him now and you see a very different person to who was on the CCTV.

“The person on CCTV was a highly disturbed individual. With the help he is undertaking now, there is some hope for him.”

In her sentencing remarks, Her Honour Judge Adrienne Lucking KC commended the prison officer involved in the attempted murder case, stating: “The fact that he was able to return to work at all after this terrifying incident is a mark of his outstanding commitment and courage.”

Judge Lucking, addressing Kendall, added: “This was a pre-planned and determined effort to kill a prison officer and the offence was committed for what you saw as a desirable prison transfer to meet terrorists.”

Kendall - from Lancaster Drive in Loughton, Essex - was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum sentence of 19 years and four months - of which, he has already served two years and 11 months.

Lead Investigator, Detective Sergeant Sarah Moore from EMSOU’s Regional Prisons Intelligence Unit, said: “I am really pleased to see Joshua Kendall handed a significant sentence for these exceptionally serious assaults, ones that could have had fatal consequences.

“Prison officers, just like other emergency workers, do not go to work expecting to be assaulted and such incidents should never be seen as simply ‘part of the job’. Violence of this nature, against those who work hard to maintain order within prisons, will not be tolerated.

“That’s why it’s so important to prosecute people like Kendall with the full force of the law and I’m pleased that he has been convicted and sentenced for attempted murder.

“The prison officers in this case have shown resolve and courage throughout our investigation and I would like to thank them both for their cooperation.

“I hope the conclusion of this case today will allow them to fully move forward knowing that the man who injured them will be detained for a much greater period of time."