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James Grant from Sheppey attacked by prisoner at Cookham Wood in Rochester

A prison officer has spoken of the effect of being blinded for six weeks after being doused with boiling 'sugar water'.

James Grant, from Minster, was attacked at Cookham Wood a young offenders institute in Rochester.

The father-of-three said when his then six-year-old son Alfie saw his extensive facial burns he became scared of him, while his youngest son Olly, then four, was petrified the attacker was going to come and get him.

Dad James Grant was left with extensive burns to his face, neck and eye which left him temporarily blinded
Dad James Grant was left with extensive burns to his face, neck and eye which left him temporarily blinded

He’d been trying to remove wet tissue a disruptive inmate had used to plug his cell window in order to check on him when the searing liquid was thrown at him.

The mixture of boiling water and sugar, often referred to by prisoners as 'napalm', sticks to the skin and intensifies the burn.

He said: “The pain was like nothing I’ve ever felt. Colleagues rushed me to the orderly’s office and paramedics were treating me soon after.

"By this point, the vision in my left eye had completely clouded over – I was blind.”

Mr Grant, 33, suffered serious burns to his face, neck and eye as a result of the assault in October 2015 and couldn’t see out of one eye for more than a month.

The man responsible, then three days away from his 18th birthday, served an additional seven months in prison.

James Grant's injuries
James Grant's injuries
James Grant with his family before the savage assault
James Grant with his family before the savage assault

Despite the horrifying ordeal Mr Grant who was brought up in Lordswood, lived in Gillingham at the time and has since moved to Minster, returned to the job he loved after three months but a year later relapsed and was signed off for another 12 weeks.

He said: “The incident affected me mentally and physically, and it left me worried about my safety going back to work.

"My union made sure I wasn’t alone as I tried to cope with everything and helped me get in touch with Thompsons Solicitors to make a claim.

"Together, their support was invaluable and helped me as I tried to rebuild my confidence.”

The former Aylesford School pupil who is still scarred from the attack Mr Grant has now been awarded £7,000 compensation following an out-of-court settlement with the Ministry of Justice.

"The pain was like nothing I've ever felt, colleagues rushed me to the orderly's office and paramedics were treating me... I was blind" - James Grant

Mr Grant claims he had never been sent on a compulsory two-week training course.

He’s now resigned from the prison service and is going to work at a funeral directors.

Thompsons’ Rachel Lowe said: “Prison officers simply carrying out their job should not have to face violence.

"I have seen first-hand how painful this ordeal has been for James and his family and how long it has taken for him to recover.

“Health and safety must be a priority for all employers and hard-working people such as James should not be left significantly injured and out of work due to his employers failing to provide proper systems to avoid dangerous situations such as this.

"I’m glad we were able to support him and ensure he didn’t feel alone as he navigated the claim and his return to work.”

A Prison Service spokesman said: “We don’t tolerate violence against our hardworking officers and our new Assaults on Emergency Workers Act means that those who attack them can expect an additional 12 months behind bars.

“Since this incident, the number of prison officers at Cookham Wood has increased by 51 to improve the regime and help prevent assaults.”

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