TWO prison officers have been jailed for carrying out a brutal “punishment beating” on a 17-year-old inmate at a Young Offenders Institution.
A judge described how the teenager was taken out of view of CCTV cameras at Wetherby YOI and subjected to a “frenzy of violence” by Mark Burnett and Daniel Scott.
Burnett was given 15 months and Scott was handed a ten-month sentence after a jury found them guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily. The court heard the inmate was restrained after assaulting one of the defendants’ colleagues.
He was taken into a corridor before Burnett said to him: “Do you think it’s funny to assault a prison officer?”
Burnett then delivered a series of punches and upper cuts to the teenager’s face as his arms were held. Scott joined in and threw punches.
The violence ended when other prison officers went to protect the inmate.
Recorder Ben Nolan, QC, told the pair: “This was an assault in the course of your duties as prison officers. It was a gross dereliction of those duties. He was 17. In law, he was a child in your care.”
Recorder Nolan described the assault as a “frenzy of violence” that was “downright brutal.”
“It was not only a breach of trust and a breach of power, but it undermines the work of the prison service.”
Recorder Nolan added: “The integrity of the prison estate requires discipline.”
The trial at Leeds Crown Court heard Burnett, 51, and Scott, 28, approached their colleagues after the attack, December 7, 2016, and said “they should get their stories straight”.
The defendants denied the offence at trial, claiming the inmate had suffered the injuries when he was initially restrained.
Recorder Nolan described their defence cases as “pathetic”.
Lawyers for the two men asked Recorder Nolan to consider suspending the prison sentences.
Patricia Doherty, for Burnett, said he was in a position to pay compensation to the victim.
Robin Freize, for Scott, said: “This appears to be a one-off and he was not somebody who had difficulty controlling his temper.”
After the case, Detective Inspector David Roberts, who heads the Leeds District Prison Investigation Team, said the pair “abused their positions of trust”.
“This incident was the subject of a thorough and comprehensive investigation by detectives from the Leeds District Prison Investigation Team which has resulted in both men being convicted and sentenced.
“At the heart of the prosecution case was the evidence provided by other prison officers who were understandably appalled at these men’s actions and at their attempts to cover up what they had done.”