Mum pays tribute to ‘caring’ custody officer killed outside court

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 July 2015 | UPDATED: 10:13 17 July 2015

Prison guard Lorraine Barwell from Romford died after being attacked outside Blackfriars Crown Court

Prison guard Lorraine Barwell from Romford died after being attacked outside Blackfriars Crown Court


A grieving mother has paid tribute to her daughter, a hardworking and devoted custody officer, who died after she was assaulted outside a court earlier this month.

Vera Rothon, 74, of Bellflower Path, Harold Hill, said her daughter, Lorraine Barwell “lived for her family and job”.

The 54-year-old grandmother had worked for Serco for more than 10 years when she was assaulted at Blackfriars Crown Court on Monday, June 29.

“My granddaughter called me and we got in a taxi to go to the hospital to be told she was critical,” explained Mrs Rothon.

Lorraine died two days later when her family agreed to turn off the life support machines.

“To lose her this way is really hard,” said Mrs Rothon. “To have her go into work one day and not come home is absolutely horrible.”

Humphrey Burke, 22, is accused of murdering Lorraine. He appeared at the Old Bailey by video link on Tuesday.

Lorraine was working alongside her team when the assault took place.

Her mother said: “We still don’t exactly know what happened to her and that is very hard to deal with.

“I did fear for her, she had her nose broken at work once, but she said I would worry over nothing.”

Lorraine earned the nickname Rocky “because she didn’t take any crap” said Mrs Rothon.

“She was a bit like me in that way – what you see is what you get and if you don’t like it then you know where to go.

“You would have to be in that job, but she also had a caring side too.”

If Lorraine was ever guarding someone who was on suicide watch she told her mother she would give them a cup of tea or take them out for a cigarette and be there to talk to them while they got through it.

“I hope the five people who got her organs end up living their life like she did,” Mrs Rothon added.

The family was already grieving when Lorraine died as her sister, Mrs Rothon’s youngest daughter, Lisa Jaeger, 46, was found dead in her bed on Easter Monday.

“We’ve been close to death many times in this family but always survived it until this year,” said Mrs Rothon.

A hearing for Mr Burke is set for September 29 with a provisional date for a trial of January 4.

No application for bail was made and he was remanded in custody.

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