April 2010

Facebook killer who lured teenager to her death is attacked in prison by fellow inmate

Attacked: Peter Chapman suffered cuts to his face after he was assaulted by a fellow prison inmate. He is serving 35 years for the murder of Ashleigh Hall (right)

Facebook killer Peter Chapman is recovering in prison after being attacked by an inmate.

Chapman, 33, suffered cuts to his face during the assault which took place on Saturday afternoon at Frankland Prison in Durham.

He is serving 35 years for the kidnap, rape and murder of 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall.

He posed as a teenage boy on the social networking website to lure Ashleigh to her death in October last year.

Chapman, who was brought up by his grandparents in Stockton-on-Tees, has a history of sexual offending. He was the subject of several sexual assault investigations, beginning when he was 15. Four years later, in 1996, he received a seven-year prison sentence for raping two prostitutes at knifepoint during separate incidents and was released in 2001.

The following year Cheshire police questioned him over the rape and kidnap of a prostitute in Ellesmere Port. The case was discontinued

The teenager’s grandfather Mike Hall said: ‘At last a piece of good news. Chapman deserves all he gets in prison.

‘I don’t think he deserves his human rights and I think most people would agree on that. If he wants to behave like an animal then he should be prepared to be treated like one.

‘If I could send a bottle of whisky to whoever did this, I would.’

Chapman began a 35-year minimum sentence last month after pleading guilty at Teesside Crown Court to charges of kidnap, rape and murder, as well as breaching a sexual offences order.

The court heard that Chapman posed as a 19-year-old on Facebook. After striking up an online relationship with the Darlington College student, he arranged to meet her on Sunday October 24.

He posed as the boy’s father to trick her into getting into a car with him.

Ashleigh’s body was found near Sedgefield, County Durham, the following day. She had been suffocated.

The attack on Chapman is the third major incident inside the prison during the past four weeks.

Three officers suffered serious injuries following a violent incident on March 13. One officer lost the use of his left hand after being attacked by an inmate wielding a broken vinegar bottle.

And Soham child killer Ian Huntley needed hospital treatment after he was stabbed eight days later in the prison kitchens.

The latest attack has sparked further calls for an investigation into security at the Category A prison, which houses some of Britain’s most dangerous criminals.

The Prison Officers’ Association (POA) claims a ‘malaise’ in the management at the high security unit is creating a dangerous environment for staff and inmates.

Brian Caton, secretary of the POA said a culture of ‘appeasement’ had led to a decline in discipline in the prison.

‘I think the management team at Frankland are intent on allowing that to happen,’ he said.

‘We have had the attack on the officers which was the worst we’ve seen in a long time, the attack on Huntley, and now this similar incident.

‘Management shouldn’t be looking at staff, but instead should be looking at how they run the establishment.’

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: ‘Violence in prisons is not tolerated in any form.

‘National Offender Management Service remains committed to establishing a zero tolerance approach to violence against staff, prisoners and visitors.

‘Assaults on prison staff are taken very seriously and depending on the severity will be dealt with internally or referred to the police.’

Inspector Craig Dixon of Durham Police said officers had been called to an incident at the prison on Saturday.

Although he refused to comment further on Chapman’s attack, Inspector Dixon said cases of violence in prison were treated the same as violence on the streets.