Horror as nurse held captive by inmate with razor blade

Lancaster Farms
Lancaster Farms

A “trick or treat” burglar who held a nurse captive with a razor against her throat has been given an extended jail term after a judge ruled he was a danger to the public.

Patrick Cawley, who has committed crimes across the Fylde including burglaries and serious motoring matters, left nurse Naomi Altham fearing for her life when he flew into a rage about medication as she tried to help him.

The 42-year-old held a homemade razor blade weapon to her throat, cutting her lip with it, as he grabbed her in a headlock and pulled her to the floor in a medical room at HMP Lancaster Farms.

Prosecuting, Paul Cummings QC said during the terrifying incident, on July 22, he screamed he would kill her unless the other staff left the room and closed the door.

Judge Graham Knowles ordered that a prison officer, who burst into the medical room minutes later to save the nurse, was commended.

In a statement to the court, the mum, who has been a nurse for 13 years and had worked at the prison for three months, said: “I was petrified and thought he was going to kill me.

“The blade was right by my artery.”

She added she had been left with recurring nightmares about the door closing as Cawley made the staff leave, and said she was a changed person.

Imposing a 13-year extended term - which will comprise of eight years in jail and five years on licence - Judge Knowles said: “What matters here is not the length of time but the horror of those 10 minutes.

“The truth is Nurse Altham could have died by a slip of the hand on your part, a further loss of control, or a movement of panic.

“An attack on a nurse in prison is outrageous.”

Preston’s Sessions House Court heard at the time of the attack Cawley was serving a three-year sentence at Lancaster Farms after burgling a distracted homeowner as Cawley’s wife and children “trick and treated” at the property.

He admitted false imprisonment and actual bodily harm.

Cawley’s family swore at court staff.