Man found not guilty of rape was stabbed with sharpened toothbrush in prison showers while awaiting trial

The stab would to the side of Dale Johnson's back.
The stab would to the side of Dale Johnson's back.
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A MAN found not guilty of raping a woman today told how he feared for his life after being stabbed in prison while on remand.

Dale Johnson, 29, was in Durham Prison as he awaited trial for the alleged crime when he was attacked by fellow inmates with a sharpened toothbrush in the showers.

Dale was stabbed near his kidneys, had his ear slashed and his hand was stamped on.

He was found not guilty of raping the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, last Friday following a three-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

The Prison Service said two prisoners were disciplined over the attack after officers took “swift action” following an investigation.

The family are now seeking legal advice over his treatment at the Category B facility.

After his release from custody, his family took him to Sunderland Royal Hospital where they claim medics told him he should have been given stitches at the prison.

A spokesman for the Prison Service said prisoners have access to the same level of medical care they would receive outside of prison.

Recovering at his Ryhope home with his parents Irene, 53, and John, 54, Dale, who is on antibiotics following the attack, said: “I thought I was going to die in there.”

The Echo reported in May that the former plasterer was due to stand trial over the alleged attack, which was said to have taken place on February 23.

Dale says that while he was in the prison, a copy of the article was passed around his wing and he was told that he was likely to be attacked.

He said: “I had people at my door saying there were going to slash me, but calling me a rapist was the worst thing. It was horrible.”

Dale spoke of the harrowing ordeal when he was assaulted in the prison shower area.

“They came into the showers and one stabbed me with a sharpened toothbrush,” he said. “I was slashed on the back of my ear and one stamped on my hand too.”

“The wound on my back was wide open and there was blood all over my cell, but all the nurse did was put a patch on it.

“After I got out, my mam and dad took me to hospital and the nurse said it should have been stitched in the first place.”

Mr Johnson’s parents said they have been victims of a hate campaign since he was charged with rape, receiving threatening phone calls and text messages.

“People don’t understand the effect that this has on a family,” said Irene.

“We’ve had people coming round the house and saying awful things to us for months now. It’s destroyed us.”

“This has all happened for nothing and it ruined my life,” added Dale. “I’ve never been convicted of anything like this.”

A spokesman for the Prison Service said: “We do not tolerate violence in prison and take swift action to deal with perpetrators.

“This incident was investigated fully and two prisoners were disciplined.

“Prisoners have access to the same level of medical treatment and care that they would receive outside of prison and are treated by NHS staff.”