Minister backs Seaham prison guard’s bid for a retrial of killer Thakrar, but victim still left ‘deflated’

Prison Officer Craig Wylde showing his scars under his arm.
Prison Officer Craig Wylde showing his scars under his arm.
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AN injured prison officer was left “deflated” after visiting Parliament in his fight for justice – despite words of support from a Minister.

Craig Wylde, from Seaham, was left unable to use his left hand after he was stabbed by triple killer Kevan Thakrar, in an attack he claims “ruined his life”.

But Thakrar, 24, was cleared by a jury, despite admitting the attack at Durham’s Frankland prison last March, claiming he was suffering from stress and feared he was about to be assaulted.

Craig and his family yesterday met Crispin Blunt in London, and presented a 3,500-signature petition to the Prisons Minister.

The 29-year-old warder’s brother Lee, 35, said the Minister made bold remarks about backing the family’s fight – but appeared “wishy-washy” and ill-informed at yesterday’s meeting in the capital.

“He told the cameras ‘I, amongst other people, was shocked at the result of the trial – it was very strange and as a Minister I would stand behind everything you’re trying to achieve’.”

“They were very strong words to come from the Minister for Prisons,” added Lee.

But he said the Minister appeared to not be aware of the full or correct facts surrounding the attack, and did not give the family “straight answers” in their hour-long meeting.

“I would say it wasn’t productive, because we don’t know what will happen – we’ll have to suck it and see,” he said.

Lee said the family hoped to receive word from the Minister that his department will further examine the situation.

But Craig, who needed a series of operations after he was attacked along with colleagues Claire Lewis, from Washington, and Neil Walker, said he has little confidence for a positive outcome.

“I left the meeting feeling very deflated. I felt like it was ‘come down for a cup of tea,’ and it was all for the news.”

The meeting came after ex-con Mark Leech, editor of the national prisoners’ newspaper, Converse, said calls for Thakrar to face a retrial were “sour grapes”.

* Craig’s family still want new petition signatures. Click here to sign the petition.

Twitter: @pressbench