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Case Study

G4S admits breach in care of prison guard left brain damaged

Dushal Mehta secured a substantial settlement for a young prison officer left with permanent brain damage after being attacked by youths at Oakhill secure training centre near Milton Keynes. Ryan Goodenough, who was 21 at the time, was assaulted by inmates while supervising outdoor activity in the grounds of the centre. He was taken to hospital and found to have a serious brain injury after being hit on the head with a radio.

One of the inmates tried to climb a fence. When Ryan attempted to talk him down and then pull him back, some of the group started to punch and kick him. Ryan tried to keep his attackers at arm’s length, waiting for assistance from colleagues, which was slow to arrive.

In hospital, Ryan was placed into an induced coma for two-and-a-half weeks and emerged with permanent brain damage, which continues to affect his memory and balance. He spent two months in Oakleaf rehabilitation centre in Northampton.

Dushal instructed expert medical witnesses to assess Ryan’s injuries and served proceedings against G4S, which runs Oakhill.

G4S admitted liability for Ryan’s injuries and for breaching its duty of care to him by allowing him to be in charge of six inmates on his own, rather than the stipulated ratio of one to three. Ryan, who had been at Oakhill for three months, should not have been in charge of six people alone.

The company agreed to pay Ryan a settlement which included that he could not return to the job he loved and is unlikely to be able to return to similar work on medical grounds, which include loss of memory and problems with his balance.

Ryan is currently a trustee for the charity Headway in Milton Keynes, which offers support to people who suffer brain injury.

Dushal said: 

“It somehow makes matters worse that Ryan was so badly injured because he truly believes that young offenders can turn their lives around with the right support. He is exactly the type of officer the prison service needs so it’s particularly harsh that he can no longer do the job he was so pleased to have earned and done so well at.”

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