Teen inmates left prison officer scarred for life during unprovoked gang attack at Wetherby Young Offender Institution

An officer was left with permanent facial injuries after being attacked by three teenagers at Wetherby Young Offender Institution.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 8:42 am

Leeds Crown Court heard how the officer needed stitches to his face and had to spend more than two months off work after the incident on February 19 last year.

Bilal Saleem, Joshua Elder and a 16-year-old defendant, who cannot be identified, were caught on CCTV footage carrying out the assault which lasted around one minute.

Giles Grant, prosecuting, said the attack happened near to the institution's college department.

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Wetherby YOI

The three defendants were refused entry to college on the day of the incident as their names were not on a list

Saleem launched into the attack without warning as they were being led back to the cell area.

He punched the officer once in the face using full force.

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Elder also joined in the violence for around ten seconds.

A second officer suffered a black eye as he tried to help his colleague.

The defendants were restrained after other officers came to their aid.

Mr Grant said the victim had to spend time in hospital after the attack.

He spent 11 weeks off work and was left badly shaken.

Saleem, 18, of Spencer Street, Keighley, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and affray.

He was serving a five-year sentence at the time of the incident for wounding with intent.

He has previous convictions for dishonesty and a firearms offence.

The court heard both defendants were aged 17 at the time of the attack on the officer and had completed their time in custody.

Peter Byrne, for Saleem, said his client had managed to gain qualifications while in custody, is hoping to begin a career and start a new life free of offending.

Brendan O'Leary, for Elder, said his client did not play a leading role in the violence and joined in the attack out of loyalty to his friend.

Saleem was given an 18-month sentence, suspended for two years. He must complete 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days and do 200 hours of unpaid work

Elder was given a six-month sentence, suspended for 18 months. He must complete 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days and do 100 hours of unpaid work.

The third defendant will be sentenced at a later date.