The convict who said the word 'prisoner' breached his rights

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A VIOLENT prisoner tried to sue a jail worker for not calling him 'Mr'.

Bernard Pennington, who is serving a life sentence for a frenzied machete attack on his wife, cost the tax payer 6,000, after claiming the term 'prisoner' was derogatory and a breach of his human rights.

He tried to sue David Luckett, voluntary chairman of the Independent Monitoring Board, which checks up on day-to-day life at Kingston Prison in Portsmouth, for 300.

Mr Luckett had referred to him as 'prisoner Pennington' in a letter after the convict made a complaint to the board about his treatment at the Milton Road prison.

But a judge threw the case out at Portsmouth County Court, saying there was 'no merit' to the complaint.

Mr Luckett, who is also a magistrate, was so upset by the legal action that he resigned his post after 13 years of volunteering.

The 68-year-old, who has since been persuaded to return, said: 'You give your time for free and then for something like this to happen I thought was totally out of order.

'Now I feel totally vindicated. There's no way I would disrespect a prisoner and I never have done.

'It was a mischievous allegation and it was a waste of people's time and money.

'He won't pay it, the tax payer will.'

Ministry of Justice barrister Jeremy Burns, defending Mr Luckett, said: 'Calling a prisoner "prisoner" is not derogatory. It's not false, it's purely descriptive.

'If he wasn't a prisoner then perhaps it would be derogatory.'

Pennington, 63, who was jailed for nearly killing his wife Jessie in 1984, did not attend the hearing, despite a bus being laid on to drive him from Parkhurst prison on the Isle of Wight where he is now held.

District Judge Peter Jolly said: 'Mr Pennington says that the form of address in itself is degrading and it's a breach of his human rights.

'Mr Burns says it's not degrading, it's an accurate description.

'This case is totally without merit. There are no reasonable grounds for Mr Pennington to bring this case.

'Had I not struck it out on that basis I would have struck it out on the grounds of non attendance or I would have struck on the grounds of abuse of process.

'Mr Luckett doesn't do this for money, he does this as a public duty.

'He has had to sit here and listen to all this.'

The Ministry of Justice has until January 12 to decide if it will pursue Pennington for costs.

BERNARD Pennington is a former soldier who was jailed for stabbing his wife.

Pennington attacked Jessie, his wife of 14 weeks, with an 18-inch blade of a machete, severing arteries in her neck, shattering her jaw and chopping off two of her fingers. She also suffered numerous stab wounds.

Teams of surgeons operated on her for more than 10 hours to save her life. Then aged 30 Mrs Pennington spent 10 weeks in hospital after the attack.

Jailing him at Sheffield Crown Court in 1984 Judge Leslie Boreham said it was a miracle the woman had survived. Judge Boreham described Pennington as a cruel, brutal man who posed a serious risk to the public.

Pennington, who lived in Doncaster, was 38 when he pleaded guilty to attempted murder.

CHAIRMAN David Luckett

PRISONER Bernard Pennington

ATTACKED Jessie Pennington


The convict who said the word ‘prisoner' breached his rights

Judge throws out claim but it still costs taxpayers 6,000 to defend