12:31 GMT02 June 2020
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    There are more than 83,000 prisoners in jail in the UK - the highest number of any country in western Europe. In the year up to March 2019 a total of 317 people died in prison in England and Wales, several of them victims of murderous attacks by fellow inmates.

    Three inmates have been jailed for life for the horrific killing of a Ukrainian national in a UK prison last year.

    Taras Nykolyn, 49, was himself serving time in jail after admitting killing his cellmate with a television.

    A jury at the Old Bailey heard Stephen Boorman, 34, Jibreel Raheem, 27, and James Brabbs, 33, wanted to demonstrate they were "untouchable".

    ​The trio smuggled improvised weapons into the exercise yard at Woodhill prison, north of London, in June 2018 and attacked Nykolyn.

    They slashed him with home-made knives before using a torn bed sheet as a ligature in an attempt to decapitate him.

    Nykolyn was convicted of manslaughter by diminished responsibility in 2016 after he smashed a television over the head of his 66-year-old cellmate, Wadid Barsoum, in Wandsworth prison in London.

    ​Nykolyn told a prison officer he had “smashed his head with the telly” and when he was asked why, he replied: “I just looked in the mirror.”

    On Tuesday, 25 June, all three men were jailed for life, with Brabbs told he would be unlikely to be released ever.

    At the trial of the three men prosecutor Amjad Malik QC said it was not clear what Nykolyn had done to earn the men’s enmity but they attacked him on 5 June 2018 in front of prison guards, who filmed it on hand-held cameras before they intervened.

    ​The killers refused to leave the prison yard, preventing Nykolyn from being given medical treatment for 40 minutes.

    Boorman and Raheem were serving sentences for attempted murder, while Brabbs was in jail for murdering a van driver in a bungled robbery in 2012.

    In a report published on Monday, 24 June, the Prison Reform Trust said: “Safety in prisons has deteriorated rapidly over the last seven years. Prisoners and staff are less safe than they have been at any point since records began, with more self-harm and assaults than ever before. Despite a brief decline, the number of self-inflicted deaths is rising once again.”

    They said there had been 317 deaths in prisons in England and Wales in the year up until March 2019, a quarter of which were self-inflicted.

    The Prison Reform Trust said assaults on staff had tripled - from  3,266 in 2015 to 10,213 in 2018.

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