Five staff members at a high security prison have been suspended after Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo lost two teeth while being restrained.
Adebolajo, 28, was injured at HMP Belmarsh in southeast London, where he is being held on suspicion of murdering drummer Lee Rigby.
A Prison Service spokeswoman refused to comment on the details of the incident but confirmed it was being investigated, saying: “Five members of prison staff have been suspended while police investigations are ongoing.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “We can confirm that an allegation of assault was passed to the Metropolitan Police Service on July 17 by Belmarsh prison. An investigation has been started.”
The Prison Officers’ Association (POA) said it expects the officers to be “fully exonerated” of wrongdoing and criticised the way the Ministry of Justice has responded to the incident, claiming it had done “little to avoid sensationalist reporting”.
The union said: “The POA are aware of an incident that took place on Wednesday 17 July, which involved a prisoner being subjected to restraint using approved techniques called ‘control and restraint’.
The use of restraint is only used where necessary when dealing with incidents up and down the country.Prison Officers’ Association
“Our members strenuously deny any wrongdoing and the POA will be supporting them legally and emotionally during this difficult time. The use of restraint is only used where necessary when dealing with incidents up and down the country.”
Chairman Peter McParlin told the BBC: “We have spoken to our members and on the basis of what our members have told us they have done absolutely nothing wrong. We are concerned that the Ministry of Justice have over-reacted due to the notoriety of this prisoner.”
Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, 22, are accused of hacking Fusilier Rigby to death near Woolwich Barracks in south-east London on 22 May. The pair are due to stand trial at the Old Bailey on 18 November.