TWO inmates at a high security North East jail were last night charged with the murder of a fellow prisoner who was behind bars for raping a schoolgirl.
Mitchell Dean Harrison, 23 was found dead in his cell at HM Prison Frankland, County Durham, shortly after 10am on Saturday.
A murder investigation was launched by Durham Constabulary and last night two fellow prisoners, aged 32 and 23, were charged with his murder.
They are due to appear before Peterlee Magistrates today.
Harrison, whose last known address was in Cumbria, was found by staff with serious injuries and despite their attempts to save him he was pronounced dead at the scene. A post-mortem examination carried out by Home Office pathologist Dr Nigel Cooper revealed Harrison died from multiple injuries.
The 23-year-old, originally from Wolverhampton, was jailed last year after pleading guilty to two counts of raping a 13-year-old schoolgirl in Kendal, Cumbria, in August 2009.
He was sentenced indefinitely at Carlisle Crown Court in January 2010 and was told he would serve at least four-and-a- half-years before being considered for parole. Carlisle Crown Court heard how the girl accompanied Harrison back to his flat where he said he was going to get money for cigarettes and drink. But once there he told the terrified girl to strip and raped her twice.
She only managed to escape when another man arrived and she fled naked into the street with her clothes in her arms.
Harrison was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life and was told by Judge Peter Hughes QC he had to be locked up for public protection because he posed “a substantial risk” to girls and young women.
Following Saturday’s grim discovery Harrison’s cell at HMP Frankland was cordoned off for a full forensic examination as experts moved in to comb the cell for evidence. Initially three prisoners were detained following Harrison’s death but two men were charged and the third prisoner is not now believed to be implicatede.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman, who is leading the homicide investigation, said: “We are carrying out a full investigation into the circumstances leading to this man’s death and are working closely with the prison service.”
A spokeswoman from the Ministry of Justice confirmed that it had been informed of the incident and said it was a matter that was being handled by Durham Constabulary.