Stephen Barker, who was initially jailed for his part in the abuse and death of his 17-month old stepson Peter Connelly, was later given a life sentence when he was convicted of the rape of a two-year-old girl. He has since been serving his sentence at West Yorkshire’s high security Wakefield Prison.
In February 2010 he was involved in an incident which resulted in a fellow inmate dousing him with a mixture of boiling sugar and water. The incident caused him to sustain burns to his face and one of his arms. The use of boiling sugar and water for this type of attack is commonly known as “napalming” since the mixture replicates the injuries caused by the chemical used during the Vietnam War.
Claiming compensation for prison injury
It has emerged that Barker has recently hired a lawyer to assist him in making a £40,000 claim for compensation as a result of the incident. The civil lawsuit will allege that the Prison Service and staff at the prison failed in their duty of care to take reasonable precautions to prevent an attack on a prisoner by another inmate.
What will need to be determined by the court is the interpretation of reasonable care. They will look carefully at how prison staff evaluated the nature and extent of risk to his safety and what measures they took to protect him. It will be argued by Mr Barker’s legal representatives that, given the nature of the crimes against children for which Baker was convicted, and the high level of media attention he received, the risk of retaliatory attacks from other inmates should have been expected by the Prison Service and staff at Wakefield Prison, and adequate measures should have been taken to protect him