Nova Scotia

Thomas Barrett, accused murderer, victim in Burnside jail attack

A 39-year-old inmate from the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth, N.S., is in critical condition in hospital after he was stabbed multiple times Saturday evening.

Barrett in life-threatening condition

A 39-year-old inmate from the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth is in life-threatening condition after he was stabbed multiple times Saturday evening.

Sources tell CBC News the victim is Thomas Ted Barrett, who is in custody accused of second-degree murder in the deaths of 21-year-old Laura Jessome and 21-year-old Brett Elizabeth MacKinnon. Sources say Barrett was stabbed multiple times in the chest area. 

Jessome's body was discovered floating on the Mira River near Marion Bridge in May, 2012. MacKinnon's body was found in a wooded area near Glace Bay in Nov., 2008. Barrett was charged with both murders in Feb., 2013. 

Staff Sgt. Barb Saunders of Halifax Regional Police said the victim entered a jail cell and was attacked by inmates already inside. Investigators have not found the weapon.

Five inmates at the jail are facing charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, according to police.

Correctional officials are now looking at whether anything could have been done to prevent the attack.

"I think we’re constantly re-evaluating what we do," said Bill Smith, the executive director of correctional services. "We’re always reviewing our policies and procedures and making changes.

"Correctional services is a very professional organization and we have very dedicated staff, very well trained, who do a very good job under very trying conditions."

The five accused men will appear in Dartmouth provincial court at a later date.

Staff at the jail reported the attack just before 5 p.m., police said.

The victim is being treated at the QEII Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.