A LONG-TERM inmate has received a third life sentence following a sudden attack on a prison officer at a top security jail.

James Gilmore, who was already serving a double life sentence over shootings in his native Liverpool, in 2008, grabbed an officer and held an inhaler refill to his throat, at Frankland Prison, Durham, in mid-afternoon, on May 23 last year.

Durham Crown Court heard the officer, one of four escorting Gilmore back to his segregation unit cell, was unaware what was being held to his neck during the brief incident.

Another officer, who saw Gilmore holding what he thought was a blade to his colleague’s throat, threatening to, “cut him”, grabbed the prisoner, taking him to the ground, where he was subdued.

The makeshift weapon was recovered and it was confirmed as a cartridge inhaler refill.

Having examined the implement, which was produced at court, Judge Jonathan Carroll said: “Looking at it, you can see how the other officer thought it was some sort of blade.”

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said the incident arose when Gilmore stopped outside a cell, as he was being escorted from the shower unit, and had words with the inmate inside.

He grabbed the cell door to prevent those escorting him moving him on, and it was then that he took the officer round the neck and produced the “weapon”.

Mr Dryden said although unhurt, the officer is now more wary when on duty.

He added that he felt he had built up a reasonable rapport with Gilmore, so was taken aback that he turned on him.

Gilmore, who appeared via video link from the prison, admitted attempted wounding with intent at a recent hearing.

He was unrepresented, and despite being offered an adjournment to obtain the assistance of a lawyer, he told Judge Carroll: “I’m guilty, I’m nearly 60 and in bad health and I’m doing two lifes anyway. Just get on with it.”

Mr Dryden said a prison report confirmed that 59-year-old Gilmore, from Woolton, on Merseyside, is in poor health, suffering progressive lung disease.

Judge Carroll imposed a further life sentence on Gilmore, but with a recommendation he serves at least four years before he is eligible for release at the behest of the Parole Board.

His two previous life terms, imposed at Liverpool Crown Court in 2010 for attempted murder and wounding with intent, arising from the shootings two years earlier, recommend he serves at least 15 years before he can be considered for release by the Parole Board.

The court heard he has served a previous sentence of 15 years for armed robbery.