A WOMAN serving a long sentence for a serious stabbing incident at her home was found in possession of an improvised knife in her prison cell, a court heard.

Victoria Louise Lagan was involved in an altercation with another inmate at Low Newton Prison, Durham, on January 19 this year.

Durham Crown Court heard she was put in her cell to prevent further disorder.

But Laura Miller, prosecuting, said, “acting on information”, prison staff returned to her cell and told her she was suspected of being in possession of a weapon.

She produced a prison issue tooth brush from her pocket, which was found to have a blade attached to one end.

Lagan asked: “Who has grassed me up?”

When interviewed later she made no comment, but, appearing before magistrates last month, she indicated a guilty plea to a charge of unauthorised possession in prison of a knife or weapon.

Miss Miller said Lagan, 37, has 33 previous convictions for 53 offences, culminating in wounding with intent and battery, for which she received an eight-year prison at Carlisle Crown Court, in March last year.

It related to the repeated stabbing of a long-time friend who intervened when she attacked a woman at a Boxing Day party at her home in Whitehaven, West Cumbria, in December 2019.

Kim Whittlestone, for Lagan, said her earliest release date is December 2023.

She said the defendant, who has mental health issues, used the home-made knife to self-harm at the time.

Since the incident, has been disciplined internally, having been put on segregation for a week as well as losing her cleaning job.

“But she has taken positive steps since January and is due to be moved to New Hall Prison, in Wakefield, in August for a specific programme for two years for female offenders, who have mental health problems and who have committed serious violent offences.

“She was due to go in January and this offence delayed her admission, so she has had to regain trust in her and that move has now been pencilled in for mid-August.

“She doesn’t believe any sentence she receives today will affect her taking part in that programme.”

Judge James Adkin said although it appears Lagan is, “making real progress” since the stabbing, such an offence involving a knife in prison, had to be met with a further punishment.

He imposed an extra eight months to begin when her existing sentence expires.


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