Leeds inmate's boiling water attack

A PRISONER threw a kettle of boiling water over a fellow inmate in retaliation for being outed as a sex offender. Tommy Hanks, 39, "flipped out" after lies that he was serving time for robbery were uncovered.

Hanks was sent to Armley jail in July this year after being convicted of attempted rape and was handed an indeterminate sentence for the public's protection.

On the day he was moved to the Leeds prison he told inmates that he was a robber in order to avoid putting himself in danger by being identified as a sex offender.

But the next day prisoners became aware of what he had done after reading about his conviction in the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Alisha Kaye, prosecuting, told the court inmates began laughing at him and calling him a liar.


He went back to his cell and emerged with a kettle full of boiling water and threw it at inmate John Surtees.

The liquid hit Surtees directly in the eye and splashed across his face and down his back.

Miss Kaye said Surtees' eye immediately began to blister and he was unable to open it.

Another inmate, Steven Johnstone, was also scalded.

Both men needed medical treatment but did not suffer permanent damage or scarring.

Hanks was arrested and admitted what he had done. He said he "just flipped" after hearing the inmates talking about him.

He said he was about to make a cup of tea and did not boil the kettle with the intention of carrying out the attack.

He pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Hanks has a criminal record of 37 convictions for 143 offences, including burglary, robbery and dishonesty dating back to 1984.

The court heard how he committed a similar attack on an inmate while serving a sentence at Hull prison in 2005. On that occasion he threw a bucket of boiling water over his victim.

Robin Freize, mitigating, said: "He had managed to maintain the lie that he was simply in custody for robbery.

"Given his experience of custody, his feelings were that he knew what was going to come and there would inevitably be attacks on him."

"He doesn't wish to make any excuses for what he did and doesn't wish to blame Mr Surtees in particular for any provocation or violence.

"It was more a case of the defendant feeling from then on his life was going to be extremely miserable or subject to violence."

Judge Kerry Macgill gave Hanks a six year sentence and extended the minimum term before he can be considered for release to three years.

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