A PRISONER in Durham City’s Frankland Prison told a jury a fellow inmate threatened to kill a prison officer.
Steven Carruthers said the threat was made to him in the prison’s gym by Youssef Abouri.
“I didn’t know his name at the time,” said Carruthers. “He was on the rowing machine next to me, so I just said good morning because manners cost nothing.
“He asked me what I thought of the staff in the prison.
“I told him I had found them to be top notch. I’ve been in Frankland since 2009 and had no problems.
“He told me there was an officer... who was a bully, and the prisoner said he wanted to kill him.
“I don’t know (the) officer that well, but he’s always been fine with me.”
Carruthers told Durham Crown Court Abouri appeared to be serious about wanting to kill the officer, repeating the threat several times.
“He also said he was going to cut him up,” Carruthers added. “It wasn’t just what he said, it was the way he was saying it. I thought he was being serious.”
The jury heard Carruthers reported the conversation to the prison authorities.
Abouri’s cell was searched and two plastic prison knives were found, one of which had been sharpened.
When Abouri was interviewed he admitted swearing about the officer and calling him names, but said he had not made any threat to kill him.
Abouri, 54, denies making a threat to kill on May 13. The jury was told Abouri wasn’t coming to court, but the trial will proceed in his absence.
Judge Peter Kelson QC said: “You should try the case on the evidence you hear.
“In an English court, the defendant does not have to prove anything, so the fact he’s not here doesn’t matter.”