Prisoners guilty of attack on Shropshire jail inmate

By Rob Smith | Market Drayton | Crime | Published:

Two men who beat a fellow prisoner at Stoke Heath Prison so badly his lung collapsed have been found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm.

Stoke Heath Prison

Steven Fletcher, 22, and Paul Woods, 28, had denied causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mitchell Downes but a jury found them guilty of GBH only.

The pair are due to be sentenced on June 8 at Shrewsbury Crown Court.

Mr Downes suffered the injuries on April 4 last year in Stoke Heath Prison. He claimed Fletcher and Woods assaulted him by kicking and punching his head and body repeatedly.

The jury at Shrewsbury Crown Court heard evidence from Mr Downes, prison officers and medical reports.

Fletcher and Woods said they broke down a barricade Mr Downes had put up in his cell because they were concerned for his safety.

How the case unfolded:

David Jackson, prosecuting, said Mr Downes wanted to leave an arrangement he had with another inmate and move to a different prison – and he had barricaded himself in his cell out of fear of retribution from prisoners who would deem him a ‘snitch’.


Mr Jackson said that this fear turned out to be well-founded, with Fletcher, Woods and other prisoners breaking down the barricade, which was all recorded on CCTV.

The recordings did not capture what happened inside the cell, but Fletcher, from Liverpool, and Woods, from Birmingham, entered and left minutes later, while Mr Downes was left with cuts, marks and a collapsed lung.

During the course of the trial the jury was shown footage of the two defendants kicking and pushing at the barricade in the door of Mr Downes’ cell, and of Woods later dragging Mr Downes by the leg back into his cell after the latter tried to leave and walk down a hallway.

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith

Reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.

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