Three inmates cleared of holding a North Yorkshire prison officer hostage after murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

Full Sutton

Full Sutton

First published in News

THREE inmates have been cleared of holding a North Yorkshire prison officer hostage days after the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby.

The prisoners were accused of seizing Richard Thompson in a well-planned operation on May 26 last year and demanding the release of radical preacher Abu Qatada.

But Feroz Khan, 26, Fuad Awale, also 26, and David Watson, 27, were found not guilty at the Old Bailey of the false imprisonment at HMP Full Sutton near York.

Khan was also cleared of assault occasioning actual bodily harm against another officer, Rachel Oxtoby.

Khan was found guilty of making a threat to kill Mr Thompson and inflicting grievous bodily harm on him, while Awale was also convicted of making a threat to kill the officer.

Prosecutor Sally Howes QC told jurors that relations between prison staff and some of the Muslim inmates became strained in the days after Fusilier Rigby was murdered.

The court heard that Awale said to Mr Thompson: "I've killed two people. I'll kill you."

The defendants were alleged to have called for the release of Abu Qatada and Roshonara Choudhry, a student who attempted to stab MP Stephen Timms to death in 2010.

They were also accused of demanding to be flown to Afghanistan, the jury heard.

Khan and Awale are expected to receive sentences for their guilty verdicts on April 7.

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