A LONG-TERM inmate launched a sudden hammer attack on a fellow ‘lifer’, fracturing his skull, during group work activity at a top security prison.

Although he never gave a reason for the unprovoked assault in a furniture upholstery workshop, it is thought Terence Fullard wanted to be transferred to solitary confinement at Frankland Prison, Durham.

Fullard was using a claw hammer in the session on March 8 when for no apparent reason he thrust it into the head of the other inmate, who was sitting with his back to him listening to the radio, during a permitted break.

Durham Crown Court was told the hammer claw stuck into the victim’s skull, but Fullard pulled it out and launched a further three blows before instructors in the workshop shouted to him to stop and he backed away

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said one of those instructors described Fullard as being almost, “in a trance”.

The victim was taken to hospital in Durham for treatment for three wounds to the scalp, including a depressed skull fracture.

On his return to Frankland he spent a further three days in the hospital wing.

Mr Dodds said the defendant refused to be interviewed about the incident or to engage in preparation of a probation pre-sentence report.

A statement read to the court outlined the effect on the victim, who now lives in fear of further attack and is frightened to turn his back on other inmates.

He has also asked to be moved from his workshop job and still suffers headaches, tingling in the skull and regularly has nightmares.

Mr Dodds said there was no history on animosity between the victim and the defendant, but it was thought Fullard may have been trying to secure a move to a cell in isolation or even to extend his prison term.

Asked to give his version of events, 44-year-old Fullard, who was representing himself, merely said: “No.”

The court heard although he was given a life sentence with a minimum seven-year tariff in 1996 for arson, he has continued to offend in custody since.

Judge James Adkin said, given he is already subject to a life sentence, there appeared little point in imposing a further life term.

He passed an eight-and-a-half year prison sentence, further extending Fullard’s time behind bars.