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Prisoner beat cellmate to death with TV after taking 'spice', court hears

Prisoner beat cellmate to death with TV after taking 'spice', court hears

A prisoner accused of murdering his cellmate with a flat screen TV was suspected to have taken the synthetic cannabis drug 'spice', a court heard.

Jordan Palmer, 26, who had the top bunk in his cell at HMP Peterborough, admits killing 42-year-old Terrence Ojuederie, who had the bottom bunk.

But the defendant, whose address provided to the court was HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes, denies that it was murder.

Prison officer Mohammed Abubaker told the trial at Peterborough Crown Court that Palmer had called him to his cell in the early hours of December 9 last year, stating that he felt sick.

Mr Abubaker walked to the cell, opened the observation hatch on the cell door and noted Palmer had a line of sweat on his forehead under the hairline, and was dressed only in boxer shorts.

He said he made eye contact with Mr Ojuederie, who was awake on the bottom bunk and he "seemed fine".

"I asked him [Palmer] if he had taken any 'spice', which is like a drug that's taken in prison," said Mr Abubaker. "He replied 'I don't know'.

"It did make me quite suspicious. Normally, if they have not taken it, they would reply 'no'."

Mr Abubaker contacted a prison nurse and, when he returned to the cell, he passed on her advice - for Palmer to drink plenty of water "to flush himself out".

Palmer called Mr Abubaker back to the cell a third time at about 1.30am using the prison intercom system, stating: "I don't know what I've done, I don't know what I've done."

Mr Abubaker went to the cell to find Palmer swaying from side to side, holding his palms upwards and with his cellmate lying on his back on the floor, the trial heard on Tuesday.

"I looked straight in the face [of the man on the floor] and the face had swollen," he said. "I remember there was foam coming out of the mouth.

"All he [Palmer] was saying was 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry'."

In a video played to the jury, Mr Abubaker is heard making a code red call, telling colleagues over the prison radio system: "You need to hurry up please and bring as many staff as you can."

Prison officers entered the cell and handcuffed Palmer, who remained compliant throughout. When Palmer was met by police, he told them "I don't know what happened", the court heard.

Cross-examined by Abbas Lakha QC, defending, Mr Abubaker said there was nothing to suggest there had been any fighting or arguing in the cell before the incident.

Senior prison officer James Gilbert, who was also on shift on the night of the incident, said there were "excessive amounts of blood" in the cell.

In a statement read to the court, he said Palmer "gave the impression of someone who had seen something traumatic but could not put two and two together".

After Palmer was arrested on suspicion of murder and read his rights, he was heard on a police body camera video played to the jury asking: "Is he dead?"

Jurors previously heard from William Hughes, prosecuting, who said Palmer allegedly murdered Mr Ojuederie in a "frenzied" attack using a flat screen TV.

Mr Lakha, defending, said it was not disputed that Palmer killed Mr Ojuederie, but it was possible Palmer had involuntarily used the drug 'spice' and the effects of this might have led him to launch the attack.

The trial continues.