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HMP Woodhill murder: Three prisoners tried to behead inmate in ‘vicious’ killing

Adam Forrest

Three British prisoners who tried to behead a Ukrainian inmate after slashing him with home-made weapons have been convicted of murder.

Stephen Boorman, 34, was found guilty at the Old Bailey of murdering Taras Nykolyn in a “vicious and sustained” attack at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes earlier this year.

Fellow prisoners Jibreel Raheem, 27, and James Brabbs, 33, had previously admitted killing the 49-year-old Ukrainian.

The men had been allowed into the exercise yard together before Boorman knocked Nykolyn unconscious by punching him in the face, the court heard.

The three attackers then used improvised knives known as “shanks” to slash the victim’s body and repeatedly kicked and stamped on him before tying cloth torn from a bedsheet round his neck in an attempt to behead him.

Prosecutor Amjad Malik QC told jurors the three men had carefully planned the 5 June attack and armed themselves with the blades and torn cloth.

They had smuggled one of the weapons out in a rolled-up jumper, which was not searched by prison guards, and the other was stashed between two pairs of underwear.

The attack in front of the prison guards was captured on CCTV and handheld cameras. The defendants were arrested after handing over the weapons made from a toothbrush and a pencil with razor blades attached to the ends.

Inside a wing at Woodhill prison near Milton Keynes (PA)

The men then refused to leave the prison yard and prevented Nykolyn from being given medical treatment. After around 40 minutes, prison officers were able to enter the exercise yard and remove the attackers.

Nykolyn was given emergency medical treatment by paramedics, but was pronounced dead on his way to hospital.

The jury was told the defendants wanted to kill Nykolyn and demonstrate that they were “untouchable”.

Stephen Boorman, 34, one of three inmates who tried to behead fellow prisoner (PA)

Boorman claimed he had been acting in self-defence, while Brabbs told officers it was all captured on CCTV so “it’s not as if I can deny it”.​

Detective Superintendent Ailsa Kent, of Thames Valley Police, said: “Boorman, Brabbs and Raheem clearly planned to target their victim and subjected him to a vicious and sustained attack using weapons they had fashioned themselves.

“I am satisfied that these men have been found guilty and our thoughts remain with the family of Mr Nykolyn.”​

Boorman had been serving a sentence for attempted murder while Brabbs was in jail for murder and the attempted murder of another inmate.

Raheem was serving a sentence for an attempted murder while Nykolyn was in prison for manslaughter.

Ms Justice Whipple adjourned sentencing of all three defendants until Tuesday.