TWO prisoners are due to appear before magistrates today accused of murdering a child rapist.
Police launched a “homicide” investigation after Mitchell Harrison, 23, whose last address was in Cumbria, was pronounced dead in a cell at HM Prison Frankland in Durham City.
He had been found by prison staff in his blood-stained cell with serious injuries at about 10am on Saturday.
It has been claimed he may have been disembowelled but investigating officers have refused to comment on whether he was found mutilated with his intestines removed.
A 32-year-old man and a 23-year-old man will appear before Peterlee Magistrates Court charged with Harrison’s murder.
A third man was originally arrested after the investigation, which saw the cell cordoned off for a forensic examination. He has been released without charge.
A post-mortem examination carried out yesterday by home Office pathologist Dr Nigel Cooper found that Harrison, who is originally from Wolverhampton, had died from “multiple injuries”.
Harrison was given an indeterminate sentence at Carlisle Crown Court in January last year after being convicted of the rape of a 13-year-old girl in Kendal, Cumbria.
He was sentenced to at least four-and-a-half years in jail and was put on the sex offenders’ register for life.
The court heard in August 2009 he lured the girl to a flat where he raped her twice before she escaped by running into the street naked.
At the time, Harrison was described by police as a “brutal offender” who carried out a “violent, cruel attack on a defenceless 13-year-old girl”.
The court also heard how Harrison had a long history of sex assault.
At 13, he had indecently assaulted a seven-year-old girl and two years later had threatened to rape a schoolgirl.
HMP Frankland is Category A institution housing more than 800 prisoners, including some of the most serious offenders.
The prison has been heavily criticised by penal reform groups after a string of violent attacks on inmates, including notorious murderers Peter Chapman and child killer Ian Huntley.
Chapman, who was jailed for life for murdering Darlington teen Ashleigh Hall, suffered cuts to his face during an assault in April.
A month earlier, Ian Huntley was stabbed in the prison kitchens.
In March, three officers were seriously injured in an attack that saw one prison guard lose the use of one of his hands after being attacked by a prisoner with a broken vinegar bottle.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “This is a police matter.”