Fifteen year-old inmate’s neck slashed at Leeds young offenders institution

Tashontai Lewis.
Tashontai Lewis.

A TEENAGE prisoner slashed a 15-year-old inmate’s neck in an attack in the exercise yard at a young offenders institution.

Tashontai Lewis, 18, was given a 12-year extended prison sentence over the violence inflicted on the victim at Wetherby Young Offenders Institution.

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At the time of the attack in May last year, Lewis, then aged 18, was on remand awaiting trial for his part in a series of violent robberies in Birmingham, for which he was later given a 10-year prison term in November.

Despite Lewis’s victim refusing to give a statement or support a police investigation, officers from Leeds District Prison Investigation Team were able to progress a “victimless prosecution” that resulted in Lewis being convicted of the attack at court.

He had initially offered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of unlawful wounding, on the basis that he had not intended to cause such a serious injury.

Investigating officers maintained that the more serious charge of wounding with intent was the appropriate offence.

Lewis was convicted following a trial.

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He was given an eight-year jail term with a period of four years of extended licence when he appeared at Bradford Crown Court for sentence.

The jury at his trial had heard how Lewis attacked the victim in an exercise yard with a weapon believed to be a piece of glass.

The victim was taken to hospital for stitches to a deep one-inch slash wound behind his left ear.

When interviewed, Lewis did not give any explanation for his actions and the victim also offered no information.

Detectives from Leeds District Prison Investigation Team carried out comprehensive enquiries into the incident and worked closely with staff at Wetherby YOI who witnessed the attack.

Detective Inspector David Roberts, who heads the Leeds District Prison Investigation Team, said: “Lewis was responsible for attacking a fellow prisoner with a weapon causing him a serious injury.

“Although the victim did not want to make a complaint, we were able to pursue a victimless prosecution that ensured Lewis was convicted of the wounding with intent offence which properly reflected his violent actions that day.

“This case should serve as a clear illustration that we will still investigate serious offences in prisons and progress them to court even if the victim does not want to assist us.

“Violence in prisons is just as unacceptable as it is in society and we will continue to work closely with the prison authorities to ensure that offences such as this are fully investigated and the offenders brought to justice.

“We hope the significant sentence that Lewis has received will serve as a reminder to others of the serious additional penalties they can attract if they commit further offences in prison.”