Devon

Dartmoor prisoner denies inmate knife murder

Alex Cusworth Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Alex Cusworth suffered internal bleeding after the attack

A convicted killer stabbed a fellow inmate to death at Dartmoor Prison using a 10-inch (25cm) kitchen knife, a court has heard.

William Tolcher, 51, is accused of attacking Alex Cusworth, 37, with the knife which he had been issued with to prepare vegetables in the kitchens in November.

Plymouth Crown Court heard he later admitted the attack to a fellow inmate.

He denied the murder charge at the start of his two-week trial.

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Image caption The attack happened at HM Prison Dartmoor in November

Simon Laws, prosecuting, said the knife was "capable of being a formidable weapon".

He told the court: "Quite suddenly and without warning he used it on another inmate.

"He was not defending himself. It was not an accident. He was seen to do it.

"He admitted what he had done to a fellow inmate in the immediate aftermath. It's as simple as that.

"After his arrest however he would say nothing to the police."

Mr Laws said that on the day of the attack there were a large number of inmates working with a small number of staff in the kitchen.

Prisoners and staff work together in the kitchens at the category C jail with meals for 650 people cooked three times a day.

The jury was told there had been no conversation between Tolcher and Cusworth before the attack and it was believed the victim had said something earlier which Tolcher had taken offence to.

Liverpudlian Tolcher was convicted of murdering a woman in Newquay, Cornwall, in 1996 and was serving a life sentence, the jury heard.

Tolcher also admitted causing actual bodily harm in an attack on a prisoner in 2003, the court was told.

The trial continues.

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