THE brother of a prison officer left fighting for his life after being stabbed at a high security jail by an inmate wielding a shard of glass has said his sibling is lucky to be alive.

Craig Wylde, 28, was left with a severed artery in his arm after the incident at Frankland Prison, on the outskirts of Durham City, on Saturday.

Two of his colleagues were also injured in the attack, with one undergoing surgery.

All three were said to have been lucky to be alive after the incident, which has prompted the Prison Officers Association to call for prison officers to be provided with stab vests.

The prisoner attacked the officers as they opened a cell door shortly after 9am.

Mr Wylde, who is originally from Durham, was stabbed in the arm and a female officer in her early 30s was stabbed in the back.

A third officer, also in his early 30s, is believed to have rugby-tackled the prisoner, and was then slashed across the face.

All three officers were taken to The University Hospital of North Durham, in Durham City.

Two were later released, the female officer after undergoing surgery.

Mr Wylde was transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Gateshead, for surgery. He was still undergoing treatment last night.

He is in a critical but stable condition and is expected to undergo more surgery.

Mr Wylde’s brother, Lee, 34, who lives in Durham, told The Northern Echo his brother had almost died.

“He was fighting for his life in hospital,” he said.

“His left arm was nearly severed.”

He said that the attack had happened after the female officer opened the inmate’s cell door.

“Craig saw him coming and instinctively put his arm up to protect himself.

“I don’t know where he was aiming, but if my brother hadn’t put his arm up, he might have been stabbed in the neck.

“He (the inmate) chased the female officer down the landing and stabbed her twice in the back.

“The other officer tackled him to the floor. He (the inmate) managed to slash him across the face.

“I am furious my brother’s been left in this state. He’s served in the Army. He’s served in Northern Ireland, he’s served in Iraq. He’s come home injury-free.

“He’s gone to work in a prison, two miles from his home, and he gets stabbed.

“Prison officers should definitely have stab vests,” he said. “They need more protection.”

A spokesman for the Prison Officers Association (POA) said: “This was a very, very serious attack and but for the grace of God, we could have been looking at murder here.

“The public will want to know why prison officers are not provided with stab-proof vests and other equipment that police officers get.”

He said the weapon had still to be to identified, but was believed to be a shard of glass.

No one at the prison, which houses Category A inmates, including terrorists, rapists and those with a history of extreme violence, would comment on the incident, but a spokesman for the Prison Service said the matter was subject to a police investigation.

He said: “Assaults on prison staff are taken very seriously and depending on the severity will be dealt with internally or referred to the police.”

A Durham Police spokesman said the incident took place on Frankland’s G Wing.

He said: “A police investigation has begun into the incident and detectives from Durham CID have been at the jail this weekend liaising with the prison authorities.”

Frankland has seen a number of high-profile incidents of violence in recent years, leading to HM Inspectorate of Prisons raising concerns about the institution in 2008.

Convicted terrorist Dhiren Barot suffered burns in 2007, when another inmate poured boiling liquid over him.

In 2008, the cell of another terrorist prisoner, Kamel Bourgass, was set on fire.

Weeks later, nine inmates rioted, causing damage worth £20,000, and injuring one officer.

Colin Moses, chairman of the POA, called for an inquiry.

Mr Moses said: “Prison staff seem to be expected to accept assaults as part of their job which wouldn’t happen anywhere else.

“We are facing budget cuts, declining numbers of prison staff and we keep saying to the Government that prisons are becoming increasingly more dangerous. It shouldn’t take an incident like this to prove it.

“How many more incidents are we going to have to see until our prisons are properly funded?