Bilston prisoner jailed for mutilating teenager ‘using car as weapon’ dies suddenly in Worcester

A Black Country man, jailed for leaving a teenager with life-changing injuries after he intentionally rammed his car into his on the M50, died suddenly at the start of his prison sentence.

Joseph Purcell, formerly of Bilston, had been serving a 14-year prison sentence at the infamous HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire for two years for the horrific attack, just off the M5, when he died.

Prison guards took the 55-year-old to Worcester Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on November 11, it was reported. No cause of death has been given as an investigation is ongoing.

Read more: Inside story – what it’s like overseeing Britain’s worst criminals at HMP Long Lartin prison

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been notified of Purcell’s death as he investigates all deaths in custody. The Worcestershire coroner has also been notified and will compile evidence for an inquest later this year.

Purcell ‘used his car as a weapon’ intentionally ramming his silver Volvo V70 into a blue flowered VW Beetle occupied by two women between Junctions 1 and 2 of the westbound M50 carriageway on the Worcestershire-Gloucestershire border, Worcester said Crown Court.

He drove off without stopping, leaving other motorists to alert emergency services to the 19-year-old passenger who was seriously injured with life-altering injuries at 6:50 p.m. on September 17, 2018. The 37-year-old driving the Beetle escaped unscathed but in shock.

West Mercia police launched a manhunt after the crash, posting a picture of his Volvo and appealing for public help, which resulted in Purcell’s arrest three days later.



Joseph Purcell’s Volvo he ‘used as a weapon’ to crash into a VW Beetle and leave a teenager with life-changing injuries

Purcell, who later lived in Letterston Road, Cardiff, was convicted of grievous bodily harm under Section 18 with intent and admitted dangerous driving causing serious bodily harm in March 2019 which led him ending up in Long Lartin prison, renowned for housing some of the country’s most dangerous criminals near Evesham.

A Prison Service spokesperson said: ‘Joseph Purcell, prisoner at HMP Long Lartin, died in hospital on November 11. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been notified.’

At the time Purcell was sentenced to prison, West Mercia Police Sergeant Jamie Bullock said: “The acts committed by Purcell had a huge impact on two innocent, law-abiding citizens.

“Purcell used his vehicle as a weapon to threaten the lives of the victims, then denied GBH’s wrongdoing, showing no signs of remorse, despite inflicting serious life-altering injuries to one of his victims.



“We welcome the court’s decision to sentence Purcell to 14 years in prison as it demonstrates the seriousness of the case and Purcell’s actions.

“I hope the victims will feel some sense of closure after their ordeal.

“We will not tolerate reckless driving on our roads and will do everything we can to bring offenders to justice.”

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