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Questions raised over why ‘torturer’ was allowed out of prison

‘SERIOUS questions’ must be asked as to how a prisoner on an indeterminate sentence allowed out of jail temporarily went on to torture and threaten to kill a man, campaigners say.

Dane Perkins, 26, had been allowed home leave from prison when he and school friend James Champion, 26, subjected their victim to a two-hour attack at Perkins’ brother Cole’s flat.

Perkins was out of jail on temporary release with conditions not to drink alcohol or enter the area of Gosport town centre as stated on a map, which he was handed a copy of.

But Perkins ignored those conditions, going to a pub in the town with fellow attacker Champion.

The men later set upon their victim at a flat where Perkins’ brother Cole lived.

The victim was kicked, stamped on, tied up with electrical cord, burnt with an iron, stripped naked and submerged in a bath with a plastic bag over his head.

Winchester Crown Court had heard he was dangled over a balcony at the flat while tied up and told he would die in a two-hour attack prosecutor Adam Feest described as ‘tantamount to torture’.

Now Perkins and Champion have each been convicted of false imprisonment, making a threat to kill and assault occasioning actual bodily harm (ABH) in a unanimous verdict following a trial.

A spokesman for the Howard League for Penal Reform, which works to reduce crime, the number of people in prison and help build safer communities, said: ‘This simply isn’t supposed to happen.’

‘Under the terms of the Indeterminate detention for Public Protection prisoners have various hoops they have to jump through to satisfy the authorities that they are safe to be released at the end of their sentence. Indeed many prisoners are in prison for far longer than their original tariff because they have difficulty in meeting that criteria. One huge problem is a shortage of courses.’

He added: ‘What we are seeing is because prisons are so overcrowded and prison budgets are shrinking sometimes access to these courses is harder than they should be.

‘Obviously we would hope that this prisoner would have gone through that process. In this case if that has happened and then he has gone on to do what he has done then there are serious questions to be asked.’

The jury had heard the victim needed a place to stay after an ‘unfortunate’ evening in which he had been arrested on suspicion of assault and bailed.

He had seen that Cole Perkins –­ whom he had known as an acquaintance ­– had a light on in his James Close flat in Gosport and asked to be let in. Dane Perkins and Champion arrived and set upon the victim.

Champion, of Chandos Rise, Portsmouth, who had convictions for 40 previous offences, and Dane Perkins, who has convictions for 26 previous offences and whose address was given as Winchester Prison, were remanded in custody.

The pair will be sentenced next month. Judge Guy Boney QC earlier directed a 12-strong jury at to find Cole Perkins, 27, not guilty of any crime in connection with the attack due to insufficient evidence.

 

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