Deerbolt YOI officer doctored footage of attack on inmate

Deerbolt YOI
Image caption Deerbolt holds more than 500 inmates

A prison officer attacked an inmate at a young offender institution then doctored CCTV footage he knew would be used in an investigation.

Michael Ambrose, 44, kicked and stamped on the 18-year-old at Deerbolt Young Offender Institution in County Durham as he moved wings in August 2016.

Ambrose, from Hetton-le-Hole, admitted assault at Teesside Crown Court.

He was given a three-month jail term, suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

The court heard Ambrose launched the "vicious and gratuitous" attack after a "melee" developed at the centre near Barnard Castle, as the teenager was moving wings and attempted to use a telephone without permission.

Ambrose, a married father-of-two, pushed past colleagues and kicked, stamped and then kicked the inmate's legs again as he was being restrained on the floor, the court was told.

Image copyright MOJ
Image caption Michael Ambrose had worked as a prison officer for 18 years

In a panic afterwards, the court heard how he then went to the command centre and cut a disc of the CCTV, stopping it short of his involvement in the incident.

The court heard he intended the edited disc to be used in any investigation into what had happened.

However, the inmate's mother challenged the authorities in the days after the assault and a full investigation was carried out.

Recorder Eric Elliott QC said it had been a "close call" not to impose an immediate jail sentence on the "disgraced" officer.

He told Ambrose: "You clearly suffered a loss of self-control in what can only be described as a vicious, unnecessary, unprovoked and gratuitous attack on a young man who was on the ground."

Ros Scott-Bell, defending, said Ambrose had no explanation for what he did, and she said although it was no excuse, his was a stressful role.

Ambrose, who has worked as a prison officer for 18 years, will be dismissed, the court heard.

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