A JUDGE was kept waiting for more than an hour yesterday after a man accused of murder became accidentally handcuffed to a guard.

Firefighters had to be called to the cells at Oxford Crown Court after prison officers could not find any keys to unlock the restraints holding Wayne Cattell and his guard together.

Barristers suppressed laughter in court as the situation was outlined to Judge Anthony King.

Firefighters had to be called to get the cuffs off using bolt croppers.

Cattell, of Mortimer Road, Rose Hill, Oxford, was about to appear in court on a murder charge when the incident led to a hour’s delay to his case.

The 36-year-old was cuffed as he was led from the prison van to the cells below the court. But the handcuffs used did not match the guard’s keys or those of any of his colleagues.

Firefighters from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service were called in at about 12.15pm to cut Cattell and the officer free. They had been cuffed together for about 90 minutes.

A spokesman for security firm GEOAmey, which runs custody services, said: “I can confirm that a GEOAmey officer handcuffed to a defendant had to be cut free.”

Cattell was appearing with co-defendant Daniel McCollin, of Blay Close, Blackbird Leys, Oxford, charged with murdering homeless Denis Witney, 39.

The case was adjourned to a date to be fixed.