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Maidstone mum Vanessa Norman demands an investigation and apology after daughter is scalded at Rochester Prison

A mum has demanded an investigation and an apology after she says her eight-year-old girl had to wait more than an hour for a first aider after scalding herself during a prison visit.

Vanessa Norman, from Maidstone, claims she was told staff shortages were why she could not leave a visiting room at Rochester Prison after daughter, Katelyn Gilbert, spilled a hot drink on her stomach and legs.

She was eventually taken to Medway Maritime Hospital by ambulance.

Vanessa Norman and her daughter Katelyn Gilbert
Vanessa Norman and her daughter Katelyn Gilbert

The 30-year-old was visiting her partner, Wayne Crittenden, on Saturday, November 19. She had bought a hot chocolate for her daughter and was looking for milk to add when the accident happened

She said: “She was crying. I was panicking because I didn’t know what to do.

“I had no help from the prison staff. The other prisoners’ relatives were helping with napkins.”

She asked a guard, twice, to take Katelyn to the toilet and claims she was told: ‘No one is allowed to leave the room because we are short-staffed’.

Miss Norman said this meant she couldn’t check how severe the scalding was, because there was no privacy in the room.

It was only when a different official, who had to make a case for a pregnant woman to leave to use a toilet, found out what had happened she was given a gel pack and access to a separate room.

HMP Rochester
HMP Rochester

She added: “They were trying to get a first aider but they were nowhere to be seen.”

Once other staff saw her child’s injuries, she was offered transport to hospital, either by taxi or ambulance.

Miss Norman admits she lost her temper and called an ambulance herself at 10.37am. The spillage happened about 9.20am.

Katelyn received treatment by paramedics before being taken to hospital where her blistered skin was dressed.

Miss Norman wrote to complain to the governor on November 22, but has received no response.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Staff at HMP Rochester acted as quickly as possible to help an injured visitor to the prison on November 19. Treatment in a private room was offered, as was transportation to the local hospital.”

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