Upset after Hailsham attacker posts prison selfie

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The family of a teenager stabbed seven times in a church graveyard have spoken of their upset after his attacker posted a prison selfie on social media.

Nineteen-year-old Oliver Dennis was jailed for eight years last month for the attack on a 16-year-old in Hailsham’s St Mary’s Church.

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Ollie Dennis SUS-150810-224149001

Dennis, of Meadow Road, Hailsham, and Eastbourne teenagers Kieran Patrick Zacharias, 17, of Knoll Crescent, and Charlie Saint, 16, of Wordsworth Drive, were convicted of wounding and violent disorder.

The 16-year-old victim suffered head and thorax injuries and was rushed to the Royal Sussex County Hospital.

After his attackers were sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Friday September 11, the victim’s family said that justice had been served.

However, after seeing the photograph on Facebook– which shows Dennis posing in prison with a caption saying he missed people and will see them on “da outside” – the victim’s family said they were upset.

The victim’s family said this week, “So much for him having remorse for his actions.

“Aren’t mobiles illegal in prison?”

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell said she would be writing to the Prisons Minister immediately.

“It’s unacceptable that those convicted of crimes should be able to post Facebook pictures while they are in jail because it brings the justice system into disrepute,” she said.

“Everything must be done to ensure it doesn’t happen again in any jail because it is illegal. I will be expressing my concerns in writing to the minister over the incident.

“It must be remembered he was convicted of a very violent offence, so my sympathy today is with the victim and his family who may have to see this criminal posing on social media.”

Hailsham MP Nus Ghani said, “I’m appalled someone convicted of such a disgusting crime can access social media in prison in this way.

“Forbidding prisoners from accessing mobile phones is an important part of their punishment and a crucial way of preventing them from communicating with criminal networks.

“The coalition government legislated earlier this year, through the Serious Crime Act, to compel mobile phone networks to block phones being used in prison, but this case shows that more needs to be done to protect victims and their families and reassure them that true justice is being delivered.”

A Prison Service spokesperson told the Herald, ”Prisoners are banned from accessing social networking sites. Those found to be breaking the rules can be stripped of their privileges and have time added to their sentence.

“We confiscate mobile phones whenever we find them and are investing in new mobile phone blocking technology. Prisoners are banned from using social networking sites and those found using them can be stripped of their privileges and time added to their sentence. As soon as we discover that prisoners are using social media, we take immediate action to shut down their profiles.‬

“Prisoners are banned from using mobile phones, and those breaking the rules will face tough punishments, including having time added to their sentence.‬”

The victim, from Hellingly, has physically recovered from the incident. After the sentencing, the family said, “We are focusing on helping the victim get his life back on track after such an horrific attack.”

Restrictions on identifying two of the trio because they are still juveniles were lifted by Judge Hayward during the sentencing at Lewes Crown Court. Kieran Zacharias admitted the offences and was jailed for seven years, while Charlie Saint was sentenced to five years.

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