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This letter – received at the end of last week – from Andrea Gray, sister of prison officer and Ventnor resident, Nick Medlin, who died following an assault in Ventnor on Christmas Eve. Ed
I am the sister of Nick Medlin, the Parkhurst Prison Officer who died outside the Rose Inn, Ventnor on the Isle of Wight in the early hours of Christmas morning.
As a result of a vicious and fatal attack on my brother, my sister in law spent the last moments of Christmas eve performing CPR on her husband of early 30 years while her two sons watched on in horror.
Whilst I must say that the Hampshire Constabulary, ambulance personnel, Prison Governor, Chaplain and union rep from Parkhurst Prison have all been absolutely wonderful, there has been no official word from the Home Office or Justice Department, whose staff I can only assume were too busy celebrating Christmas at home with their own families, as my brother should have been.
Why the lack of national coverage?
Despite the horrific and violent nature of this assault against a home office employee who was simply out with his family enjoying the start of Christmas in his local town and which ended with the tragic loss of life of a much loved husband, father, son, brother and uncle, I have to say that, despite the widespread coverage of this event on social media, I have been rather surprised at the lack of coverage in the national newspapers and TV.
In fact the news over the Christmas period seemed to focus on the admittedly sad deaths of Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and the author of Watership Down.
However, these stories, in my opinion, hardly warranted being run on a constant loop while relevant events in this country went unreported and this has made me question whether, in light of the Government’s current plans to recruit additional and much needed prison officers, they are trying to suppress this catastrophic event in case it hampers their recruitment drive.
Protection needed for those who protect others
Obviously, if this were to be the case not only would it be too callous for words but it would beg the question ‘how do the Government propose to procure and protect those that they employ to protect others?’
Simply put this is just not good enough and I am not asking for an explanation, I am indeed demanding an explanation from the Government as to what is to be done, not only recruit the much needed additional officers to staff our prisons, but also to keep those officers and their families safe at all times.
Where is the MP’s support?
Sadly, I have yet to receive an acknowledgement, let alone an official response from either Liz Truss or her Department or the Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Andrew Turner. Surprisingly though, I have received a message from Paul Nuttall of UKIP to express his shock on hearing this news and offering his sincere condolences.
After yet another sleepless night trying to comfort my 82 year old mother I would ask that you publicise this tragic event in our lives to hold the government to account and force a statement of intent as to how they propose righting what is very clearly a major problem within our prison system.
Yours sincerely, Andrea Gray