Inmate gets 10 years for stabbing prison officer

A prison inmate serving a long period of detention was given 10 years' preventive detention on Tuesday for attacking a prison officer with a pair of scissors and punching him.

Kennard Sociago, 53, had admitted in January to causing grievous hurt to Assistant Superintendent Jaiy Santosh Annanthan, 26, by stabbing and punching him at Housing Unit Office 2 of Changi Prison Complex on June 26 last year.

ASP Jaiy Santosh suffered life-threatening injuries as a result, and could not carry out his usual daily activities for at least 20 days.

Sociago was last convicted in 2003 for a series of offences such as criminal intimidation and unlawful possession of an offensive weapon and was given 12 years' preventive detention and six strokes.

His expected date of release, which was in about a year, will now be pushed back by another 10 years with the latest sentence.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Ong said on June 22 last year, ASP Jaiy Santosh was making a surprise check on the administrative office where Sociago and two other inmates were working when he found items such as chocolates, soaps and big paper clips which were not supposed to be there. The trio were not around when he told officers to seize the items.

Sociago's fellow inmates got their belongings back after explaining that they had bought some of these items with the money they had earned as "cookies'' - inmates who help with administrative tasks.

Sociago neither approached ASP Jaiy Santosh nor retrieved his items, but remained upset about the incident.

Four days later, ASP Jaiy Santosh was checking his email at the computer desk when Sociago and Huang Shi You, 27, came in to do their work. Huang was in charge of distributing shavers to inmates and took the keys to unlock the tool box.

Sociago decided to teach the prison officer a lesson, said Ms Ong. He grabbed a pair of scissors from the tool box and stabbed the prison officer in the back. He then stabbed the prison officer, who had fallen, on the sides. Huang shouted at him to stop, but he ignored Huang.

Four prison officers rushed in and saw Sociago raining punches on their colleague and shouting "I kill you, bastard'' and "why you disturb me''.

Further investigation showed that Sociago felt that ASP Jaiy Santosh had been giving him a "hard time" since the prison officer started work at the cluster, and he was unhappy with the prison officer's attitude and newly imposed rules.

District Judge Low Wee Ping had called for a preventive detention report, which stated that Sociago had a moderate to high risk of re-offending.