Prison officers face jail sentences after being found guilty of violent attack on teenager at Leeds Young Offenders Institute
TWO prison officers have been told to expect to go to jail after being found guilty of carrying out a violent attack on a 17-year-old inmate at a Young Offenders Institution in Leeds.
Prison officers Mark Burnett and Daniel Scott "exacted their own revenge" on the teenager after the inmate assaulted one of their colleagues at Wetherby YOI.
Jurors heard the inmate suffered fractured nasal bones and severe bruising to his face after being taken into a corridor and attacked out of view of CCTV cameras.
The attack ended when other prison officers forced open a door and went to protect the victim.
The teenager was spitting blood after the incident and a healthcare nurse was left "shocked and upset" when she saw his injuries.
Leeds Crown Court heard the officers tried to lie and cover up the attack.
A jury of six men and six women found Burnett, 51, and Scott, 28, guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm after a week-long trial.
Katy Rafter, prosecuting, said the attack happened on December 7, 2016, when both defendants were serving officers at Wetherby YOI.
Jurors heard the incident took place around 4.30pm after the inmate attacked prison officer Jack Harper.
The teenager was taken to the ground and restrained by a number of officers, including Burnett and Scott.
He was then taken into a corridor known as the control and restraint stairwell.
Miss Rafter said Burnett locked an exterior door to the prison yard.
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She said there was "no operational reason" for closing the door and it meant they could not been seen by cameras.
The prosecutor said: "(The inmate) was punched to the face by Burnett and his head was pushed down by Scott.
"He was subjected to multiple punches to the face by both defendants.
"(The inmate) was unable to defend himself and was scared.
"He soon began spitting blood and began to feel his face swell up.
"He was inside the corridor for exactly a minute."
The door to the corridor was forced open by an officer who went to protect the inmate.
He said to Burnett: "What the **** are you doing?"
The court heard the officers kept the inmate bent over as they walked him through the prison yard so that his injuries were not visible to others.
A healthcare nurse was so concerned about what she was seeing that she asked them to stop so she could check the inmate's injuries.
Miss Rafter said: "Burnett told them to leave them so they could do their jobs."
"The nurse was shocked and upset when she saw the injuries."
The jury heard the inmate was later stripped and given fresh clothing.
Miss Rafter said: "The prosecution say that was an attempt to hide the extent of his injuries."
He was assessed by the nurse who said he needed immediate hospital treatment.
The teenager suffered bruising to the left side of his face, swelling to the right side of his jaw and fractures to his nasal bones.
Miss Rafter said Burnett later approached a prison officer who had been standing outside the door when the attack happened and said to him: "How are we going to get out of this?"
The officer replied to Burnett that he had played no part in the incident.
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Both defendants approached another officer the following day ahead of a debriefing and said they "should get their stories straight."
That officer was initially too scared to give a true account of the incident.
A week later the officer spoke to another colleague and they agreed to go to the governor and give a true account of the attack.
Burnett and Scott were interviewed and claimed the inmate must have suffered his injuries as he was restrained after attacking officer Harper.
Miss Rafter said: "The prosecution case is that they exacted their own retribution on behalf of their colleague who was assaulted and tried to lie and cover up what happened."
Both defendants appeared shocked in the dock as the jury returned unanimous verdicts.
The pair were granted bail until a sentencing hearing in December but were told to expect prison sentences.
Recorder Ben Nolan, QC, said: "The circumstances, I am sure you will agree, are extremely serious because of the positions you were both in and the position of the victim.
"You should prepare yourselves for a prison sentence and the Prison Service should prepare for a prison sentence."
He added: "I suspect that this is the end of their careers."
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