Prison inmates covered CCTV camera then attacked music teacher who was there giving them a lesson

HMP Parc in Bridgend exterior view
HMP Parc in Bridgend -Credit:Wales News Service

A serving prisoner attacked a music teacher by repeatedly punching him after he was refused permission to upload music to a computer. The attack was planned with another prisoner placing his hand over a CCTV camera.

Shakeil Malcolm-Erskine, 18, assaulted his teacher Adam Kemble at HMP Parc in Bridgend on January 6 last year. The victim was left with injuries to his elbow, neck and his lower back.

A sentencing hearing at Newport Crown Court on Tuesday heard the defendant was sentenced to seven years detention in a young offenders' institute after being convicted of robbery and possession of a firearm. Mr Kemble had been working as a music teacher for five years and had been teaching Malcolm-Erskine.

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A couple of days before the assault, the defendant was seen to take three CDs from a cupboard and refused to return them. On January 6, Mr Kemble was teaching English when Malcolm-Erskine asked to go back to his cell and returned with a piece of paper. Prosecutor Gareth James said the defendant asked to put music on the computer but the victim respectively refused to do so as the CDs had not been returned.

Shortly later, Malcolm-Erskine began punching Mr Kemble with heavy blows to the left side of his face, head, neck and torso. The victim tried to shield himself, but feared for his life due to being locked in the classroom. He continued to be struck by blows to the back of his head and body. Mr Kemble was able to stand up and pressed his personal alarm. He tried to get to the back of the classroom but the defendant held on to him with his left hand and punched him with his right hand as they crashed into a bookshelf.

The assault came to an end when Malcolm-Erskine realised the victim had pressed his alarm and custody officers came to restrain him. Mr Kemble locked himself in another room until he was assisted by officers. The victim stated the attack lasted 60 seconds. It was later discovered a hand had been placed over the CCTV camera in the room, which suggested the attack was premeditated.

The victim was taken to the Princess of Wales Hospital where he was treated for redness to his face, a laceration and swelling to his left elbow, pain to his neck and an abrasion to his lower back. In a victim personal statement, Mr Kemble said: "People put themselves in really dangerous situations for a small wage. I did not believe I was in any danger and did this to support young people who I believed had a difficult upbringing and background and strongly believed they are entitled to as many opportunities as possible...

"I did not deserve to be assaulted on that day. I had supported Shakheil throughout this time and felt he made excellent progress, both musically and socially. I feel incredibly disappointed, frustrated and betrayed to be assaulted by Shakheil. To learn he has not only assaulted me but conspired and planned this with another person made me feel so much worse." Mr Kemble said it is his "deep regret" he no longer wishes to teach in a prison, and will work in a different environment.

Malcolm-Erskine, of no fixed abode, later pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The court heard he has previous convictions for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, battery, assaulting an emergency worker, robbery and possession of a bladed article.

In mitigation, Peter Donnison described the "devastating account" of his client's childhood, with him becoming involved in "areas of life no one would want their child to be involved". The barrister said the defendant was exposed to all sorts of criminality from an early age and it reached a point where "none one was able to assist him". He said it was "deeply upset and deeply sad" the defendant had reverted back to his previous behaviour towards a person who was trying to help him.

Sentencing, Recorder Mark Powell KC said: "You were the leader of a targeted gang, I regard it as a serious assault for no justification whatsoever. You have a uniquely appalling record for someone who has just turned 18."

Malcolm-Erskine was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment. The sentence will be served concurrently with his seven-year sentence for robbery.

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