Man charged with assaulting prison officer who died is an Oxford Brookes law student

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By Thomas Connelly on

Humphrey Burke was already looking at arson, attempted robbery and grievous bodily harm charges; now he may now face murder allegations after guard dies


Law student Humphrey Burke — who is currently charged with grievous bodily harm in relation to an alleged attack on a security staffer — is likely to face a murder charge after the 54-year-old guard died in hospital yesterday.

Twenty-two-year-old Burke — who is a registered law student at Oxford Brookes University — is accused of brutally attacking prison officer Lorraine Barwell while being transferred from London’s Blackfriars Crown Court on Monday, where he had appeared on previous charges of attempted robbery, arson and criminal damage.

Barwell — who had worked for private security firm Serco for 10 years — was treated at the scene before being transferred to Royal London Hospital, were she remained in a coma.

The grandmother-of-two’s family opted to remove life support in the early hours of yesterday morning after doctors informed them there was noting more they could do.

A spokesperson for the law school told Legal Cheek:

Oxford Brookes is aware of this very sad case and our condolences go out to the family and friends of the victim at this difficult time. The university can confirm that Humphrey Burke is registered as a student but is not currently studying at Oxford Brookes.

The statement continued:

The university’s procedures allow it to suspend students if they are arrested for serious offences and allow it to expel those who are convicted. The university will not be commenting further on the specifics of this case or the individual involved.

Burke, who failed to complete his studies at Brookes, appeared before Camberwell Green magistrates’ court in London on Wednesday charged with GBH, but he did not enter a plea.

The law school-dropout has been remanded in custody to appear at the Old Bailey on July 15.

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