Jail guard speaks out on riot

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - NEWS -

when four of them came in wear­ing hoods and just started lay­ing into us,” Mr Florence added.

“Things car­ried on from there. Over the next cou­ple of days we were moved be­tween cells and they were mak­ing de­mands, and they had bar­ri­caded the whole place up.

“In to­tal, I got stabbed four times on the body by a knife they had made up them­selves.

“It gave the other cons a fright, be­cause I was of no use to them dead. It probVic­to­rian-era ably looked worse than it was to them, but I had a bro­ken leg and col­lar bone at this time as well.”

Mr Florence’s in­juries be­came such a worry for the pris­on­ers in the end that they even­tu­ally had to re­lease him for treat­ment.

Through­out the or­deal, his daugh­ter Laura, six, and Gemma, two, had been kept in the dark. His wife, how­ever, had been told about the in­ci­dent by the ar­rival of po­lice of­fi­cers at the fam­ily home and a phone call from the prison. A Holy­rood com­mit­tee has called for im­prove­ments to the way boards of pub­lic sec­tor bod­ies are run fol­low­ing a “steady stream of crit­i­cal re­ports”.

The pub­lic au­dit com­mit­tee set out its con­cerns in a let­ter to the Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Derek Mackay, high­light­ing the ex­am­ple of “sig­nif­i­cant gover­nance fail­ings” at the Scot­tish Po­lice Author­ity (SPA) which even­tu­ally re­sulted in its chair­man An­drew Flana­gan an­nounc­ing he will re­sign.

It also cited re­ports from cur­rent and pre­vi­ous au­di­tors gen­eral on prob­lems of gover­nance and fi­nan­cial man­age­ment at pub­lic bod­ies over many years.

She was later hounded by for­mer in­mates ahead of a trial in­volv­ing the men who had ri­oted – prompt­ing the fam­ily to leave the north-east.

“My wife, Joan, went through a lot,” Mr Florence said.

“Prior to the trial my wife was get­ting phone calls to the house from peo­ple say­ing they had watched her take my daugh­ter to school – and that she should make sure I shouldn’t tell any lies in court.”

Al­most 11 months to the day of the ri­ots, Mr Florence and his chil­dren moved to Dum­fries, where he con­tin­ued to work in pris­ons for the next decade.

Mr Florence said: “The type of peo­ple we were deal­ing with at that time, this is what they did. It was their life. I haven’t given for­give­ness much of a thought, but I can un­der­stand why they do it – they put me and many other hostages through a lot.

“You never for­get about it.” Joanna Lum­ley, pic­tured, has said tech­nol­ogy has “in­ten­si­fied” the lone­li­ness felt by el­derly peo­ple.

The ac­tress, 71, said the art of “ev­ery­day chit-chat” is at risk of dy­ing out.

Lum­ley said she does not use self-ser­vice check­outs in the su­per­mar­ket as she prefers to queue at the till for “the pure joy of the hu­man con­tact it in­volves”.

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