A prison officer told a jury of his fear when he saw his own name written in blood on a wall of an inmate’s cell wall with the letters “RIP” next to it at The Mount Prison, Bovingdon.
Ben Lambert told the court that standing in the middle of the cell was prisoner Adam Righelato-Apperley who was bleeding from his arm pointing at the bloody inscription.
The officer said written on the wall were the words “RIP Lambert. Wrong person to f… with.”
He said there were crucifixes around the letters “RIP.”
Mr Lambert told the jury: “He said ‘Four weeks from now I’m out and I am going to take your jaw off.’
“He told me to read his file. He said ‘You can see what I can f…… do. See what happens to your missus.’ I think my mum was mentioned.”
Asked by prosecutor Gerard Renouf what he took the letters RIP to mean, he said: “That’s a death threat to me – to kill me. I was genuinely fearful for my safety and my life. That was very unusual behaviour.”
The officer was giving evidence at Luton Crown Court where 25-year-old Righelato-Apperley, of Wesleyan Road, Peterborough, is on trial pleading not guilty to two charges of making a threat to kill Mr Lambert in November and December of 2016 at The Mount Prison.
The court was told that on November 21 of that year Mr Lambert was on duty and working on the Ellis Wing at the jail.
Mr Lambert said that because of changes that were being made inside the prison, it meant that only prisoners who had activities to attend such as education classes, the chapel or medical appointments were being let out of their cells.
He said as a result Righelato-Apperley was confined to his cell and became angry that he wasn’t being let out.
The officer said he went to the prisoner’s cell and looked in, but didn’t enter.
He said the prisoner began swearing at him and he walked away but then heard him shout out “Oi Lambert! It’s game over for you. I’m going to seriously f…… hurt you.”
He said he reported the threat to his supervising officers but had to return to the defendant’s cell when the alarm bell had been activated.
Mr Lambert said the prisoner was standing in the middle of his cell “looking angry,” and he went on “He said ‘I swear to God I am going to carve or take your f……. jaw off.’ He said he was going to f… me up.”
He said he then noticed the inmate was bleeding heavily from his arm.
“He stood out of the way and pointed to the back of his cell,” said Mr Lambert.
The prison officer said it was then that he saw the words “RIP LAMBERT. WRONG PERSON TO F… WITH” and the crucifixes which appeared to have been written in blood.
Mr Lambert said weeks later on December 15, 2016 he was again on duty and patrolling the grounds near a workshop when he saw the defendant who smiled at him and said: “One week today Lambert and I’m going to do you with a tool.”
He told the court he took that to mean a weapon was going to be used such as a knife.
“It was frightening. I was either going to get seriously hurt or killed.
“He was smiling at me but it was not a friendly smile,” he said
Prison officer Graeme Woods told the jury how, on one occasion some time before the incidents, Mr Lambert had told him how three inmates from another wing at the prison had tried to get onto Ellis Wing wanting to see Righelato-Apperley.
Mr Woods said his colleague had told him that the inmates had described the prisoner as a “wrong un”.
He said he thought it was the next day when he had been on duty in the gate house for the wing when a group of inmates from another wing had approached him asking about Righelato-Apperley.