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Call for Home Office action following death of prison officer

The sister of Nick Medlin, a prison officer who died following an assault in Ventnor on Christmas Eve, is demanding an explanation from the Government of how they intend to keep prison officers and their families safe at all times.

Nick Medlin

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below.

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

Monday, 2nd January, 2017 12:36pm

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Filed under: Government, Island-wide, Letter to the Editor, Top story

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17 Comments

  1. Very Sorry


    2.Jan.2017 2:06pm

    I am very sorry for your loss, few of us can imagine what it must feel like. Our deepest sympathy to you.

    However, until the full facts are known, we cannot be sure his job had any relevance can we? If indeed it was related, you would be right to ask for home office action. As for the national media, who knows what they deem newsworthy, this certainly is to me.

    Reply
  2. Fiona Foskett


    2.Jan.2017 2:31pm

    Really sad to read and I agree with what you are saying 100% Andrea. You should receive more support from our government for what has happened to your beloved brother and the loss to your entire family and what a time of year for this tragic event to happen. My thoughts and condolences are with you and your family.

    Even though I don’t know 100% if the incident which your poor brother was the victim is related to his work. I do think it is strange that many inmates who are imprisoned on the Island when released from prison are actually are giving the opportunity to stay on the Island and I’m sure it is not just rumour that the Island is one of the worse places for peadophiles in the country and they’re the ones not behind bars. I think releasing the criminals into a small area like the Island where prison staff are living is dangerous and the prison staff should be protected more. I had a friend who was a social worker for these people on the Island and he eventually had to move away when he’s own children were threatened, he was a gentleman of West Indian origin and these people would say they would have no problems finding his children because on the Island there would not be many children of a mixed race. I think personally when released from a prison anywhere in the country not just the Island that the prisoners should be moved to a different area completely and not be allowed to return to the areas where the prison situated.

    Reply
  3. My deepest thoughts are with you, and your family. I for sure know what it is like to lose a brother to murder and the home office and even the coroner didn’t want to know. (My brother was murdered abroad). Maybe you could set up a change.org page for people to sign a petition because for sure I would and many others would. You will have people trying to befriend you just to get answers and trying to be nosey.

    Thoughts are with you, please keep your head held high if possible x

    Reply
  4. My sincere condolences to you, your mother, Nick’s wife & sons. This event is a complete tragedy, made worst by the omissions and various failures your letter above articulates so well.

    As far as news coverage is concerned, the focus on ‘celebrity’ is yet another sad reflection on the society we live in today.

    Good luck to you in fighting to gain recognition – and shame on those who have chosen not to respond (whether media, MP, government or associated agency).

    As for the perpetrators – I look forward to justice being served. May it be swift, harsh and lengthy.

    Reply
    • I hope Ventnor Council is doing something to find out why it took 1hour for an ambulance or paramedic to arrive.Why have i raised money for the Air AmbulanCE?

      Reply
      • Sally Perry


        5.Jan.2017 2:44pm

        OnTheWight got in touch with the IW NHS Trust about this and they confirmed the ambulance arrived 30 minutes after the initial 999 call.

        They said,

        “A 999 call was received at 23.57hrs on 24 December. The response given to the operator and overseen by Paramedics indicated that this particular incident was an assault. This type of call requires an Ambulance Crew to be first in attendance as opposed to a Community Responder. At the time the call was received all Ambulances were fully committed. As soon as an Ambulance became available (within 7 minutes of the call being received), it was despatched (from Cowes) and arrived in Ventnor 23 minutes later.”

        An IW Ambulance Service Spokesperson, said:

        “We regret the delay that occurred in the arrival of the ambulance to this tragic incident and our sympathies are with the family. Thank you to those who were on the scene and helping the patient until the Ambulance crew arrived. The Service will always send an Ambulance to those needing one and on that particular evening the Ambulance Service were responding to a high level of emergency calls.”

        Reply
  5. Joe Emery


    3.Jan.2017 7:27pm

    My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. Having completed a full military career I am now embarking upon a second career, as a prison officer. I can not help but feel if the victim in this horriffic crime was an off duty policeman, the press and government officials would have been all over it. I wish you and your family well.

    Reply
  6. Thank you all for your support and kind wishes. Rest assured I will pressing on with this case until I get answers, and will do my utmost to support the prison service when our Government fails to do so.

    I wish you and your loved ones a wealth of health and happiness throughout 2017.
    Kindest regards,
    Andrea Gray

    Reply
  7. Thomas ellis


    3.Jan.2017 10:25pm

    Absolutely disgraceful

    Reply
  8. Nicolamawdsley


    4.Jan.2017 12:25pm

    Disgusting.something needs to be done.

    Reply
  9. inspectorlewis


    4.Jan.2017 12:42pm

    Andrea,

    Please allow me to express my condolences to you and all members of your family.

    I am an ex HMP Officer myself and have been involved in law enforcement for almost 45 years.

    In all those years, the most unappreciated post I ever held was with HMP.

    I agree with almost every word you have so clearly expressed.

    I will say no more at this sad time, but I would hope that the general public appreciate the job Prison Officers do to protect them.

    Deepest Sympathy

    Lewis

    Reply
  10. So sorry to read this tragic news.
    I have just lost my dad, just before Christmas, in very different circumstances, but never the less, a terrible and sad loss of dad, so my heart aches at what you are all now going through, the pain,the anger,the shock the sadness. Sending love to you all.

    Reply
  11. Janet Goddard


    5.Jan.2017 2:18pm

    I am so sorry for you and all your families on the loss of your much loved brother. I agree with your letter and I was ashamed to say I was an Islander born and bred over the Christmas period. That a loved man came to the Island probably looking for a peaceful quiet place to live and work for the prison service. Instead this unimaginable and despicable nightmare has happened. My family have long links with Ventnor and this is so alien to me and a lot of us. The Island is getting worse, There is no doubt. I Just wanted to let you know that I and my family cannot imagine the pain you are all going through and are all thinking of you…..

    Reply
  12. Andrea Gray


    8.Jan.2017 12:23am

    The lovely messages here for my family are very much appreciated and go a long way in restoring my faith in humankind after the horrific attack on Christmas Eve and which, although downgraded to manslaughter by the CPS, I will always think of as the murder of my much loved brother, Nick Medlin. Thank you to each and every one of you for your very kind words and I wish you and your loved ones a safe and healthy new year.

    Reply
  13. What about the lack of the code for the defib.?Why didnt the first responder/paramedic attend?Why am i giving money to the air ambulance/

    What are Ventnor council’s paid employers doing to investigate this?

    Reply
    • Victor Meldrew


      8.Jan.2017 9:32pm

      Some fair questions Pat but should address them to The Coroners Officer perhaps. There must be a Coroners Enquiry into this dreadful and wasteful death.Coroners Office 3-9 Quay St, Newport PO30 5BB
      Phone: 01983 823010

      Reply
  14. Cheryl kingston


    8.Jan.2017 8:38pm

    First of all , I send my love and sympathy to the family who have lost their loved one x
    The lack of coverage on tv and papers is really sad – disrespectful to the family who will feel that his death wasn’t taken seriously enough to be announced on all media .
    I would also like to add that I think there probably should be more protection given to individuals who work closet with criminals ….obviously I am not saying that this was the reason behind the crime but this does raise the subject that more needs to be done to protect these workers .

    Reply

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