Prisoner zapped with 100,000 volts in hospital showdown

Police used Taser stun guns today on a prisoner holding scissors to the throat of a hostage during a dramatic showdown at a hospital.

The inmate was hit with a combined shock of 100,000 volts during the stand-off at a hospital in Co Durham, according to a police spokesman.

The drama began at midnight when the prisoner from Low Newton Jail, near Durham City, grabbed a pair of scissors while awaiting treatment at the Durham University Hospital.

She had become agitated and suddenly grabbed the female prison officer to whom she was handcuffed.

The 22-year-old held the scissors to the officer's throat and threatened to injure the woman unless doctors gave her drugs.

Stand-off

As the stand-off continued, police arrived and managed to trick the prisoner by offering her a tub containing aspirin.

The moment she reached for the tablets, Pcs David Morgan and Claire Reed fired their Taser stun guns - which each deliver a five-second 50,000-volt charge - at the prisoner.

Police said the inmate had been taken to the hospital's accident and emergency ward with wounds that were thought to have been self-inflicted.

After treatment she was returned to Low Newton. A Durham Police spokesman said the prison officer was shaken but otherwise unharmed.

Assistant Chief Constable Michael Banks praised the officers, adding that it highlighted the dangerous and difficult situations faced by firearms officers.