A notorious underworld gang leader serving a life sentence for orchestrating the murder of an innocent couple has won the right to be addressed as “Mr” by prison staff.
The ruling in favour of Colin Gunn by the Prisons Ombudsman was made public in a letter in which the crime boss advised other prisoners to demand similar treatment.
Gunn, from Bestwood, Nottingham, was jailed for at least 35 years in 2006 for conspiracy to murder John and Joan Stirland, who were shot in Lincolnshire to gain “revenge” on their son.
In the letter to the Mailbag section of prisoners’ newspaper Inside Time, Gunn revealed that he had made a successful complaint about staff at HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman last December.
Under the headline Call Me Mister, the gangster wrote: “I have read letters to Mailbag from prisoners complaining about prison staff not adhering to the policy of the decency agenda, in regards of them being called by their surnames only.
“You do not have to accept this, far from it. I won my case with the Ombudsman in December 09 against Whitemoor refusing to address me as ‘Mr Gunn’.”
Gunn also used his letter to accuse officials at Whitemoor of “trying everything in their power” not to adhere to Prison Service policy, before advising other criminals to complain to the Ombudsman.
The 43-year-old informed fellow inmates: “The law is on your side so do not give in. You will win the case and your prison knows this but will try anything to get out of it. Although there is no national policy that stipulates how prisoners should be addressed, all prisons have been given clear guidance on it.
“It is no longer acceptable to address prisoners by surname alone.”
The Prison Service declined to comment on the claims made by Gunn, but issued a statement confirming that staff are asked to call prisoners by the first name or use the title “Mr”.