INMATES who witnessed a violent prisoner attacking two officers at HMP Berwyn in Wrexham have been praised after going to their aid.

Mold Crown Court heard the potential was there for the incident to escalate to serious violence involving others.

But some prisoners intervened which ensured that the officers were able to get away.

The Alwen community (wing) was isolated and closed down and one officer later told how he felt the intervention of other inmates had made the difference between life and death for them.

Thomas Moustafa – regarded as a dangerous offender who is subject to an indeterminate sentence – a received a two-and-a-half year prison sentence after he admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm on Kai Shaw-Lightman and actual bodily harm on Adam Roughsedge who went to his aid.

Mr Shaw-Lightman suffered a fractured cheek and a broken nose after he was hit with a haymaker boxing style punch.

The attack was said to have come out of the blue.

Judge Rhys Rowlands said there were other inmates in the wing at the time who “behaved very well”. He said they either did not do anything or they assisted.

It meant the officers were able to retreat and the wing was closed for a couple of hours.

“Matters did not escalate but it had the potential for a very serious escalation,” he said.

Mr Shaw-Lightman told in a victim impact statement how he had been in hospital for five days, needed surgery and pain killers on a drip, and had been in horrific discomfort.

He had been off work for some six weeks, had been taken off front line duties for a period and could not believe that he had been subjected to such an unprovoked attack when he was there to help inmates.

Mr Roughsedge said that he believed they were lucky to get out of the wing.

He said that it was the intervention of other inmates which meant the difference between life and death for them.

“If they had not then the injuries would have been a lot worse,” he said.

He believed that but for that the defendant would have continued to assault them.

Barrister Ryan Rothwell, prosecuting, said Moustafa, 33, was seen to be agitated which was not unusual and he was demanding to know what staff were going to do about a prisoner who had died.

He accused officers of killing him and had said: “We will see what will happen.”

No matter what Mr Shaw-Lightman said or did to calm him, he got more and more wound up, then went silent and delivered what was described as a haymaker punch which was so hard it knocked him to the floor and there was an audible thud when his fist impacted with his face.

When his colleague went to assist, Moustafa threatened to knock him out as well and assaulted him, punching his ear.

While the first victim got up in a dazed and disorientated condition, his colleague drew his baton but Moustafa wrestled with him.

“Other inmates intervened and assisted the prison officers to stop the defendant long enough to allow them to leave safely,” Mr Rothwell said.

Moustafa had previous convictions including violence against police officers and in Nottingham in 2011, under dangerousness provisions, he received an indeterminate four year sentence which he was still serving.

Andrew Bennett, defending, said his client struggled with his mental health.

He had asked to see a wing officer because he felt he was going to do something violent and wanted help but there was a delay.

His condition was aggravated by the fact that the previous day a prisoner who should have been under constant observation had died.

It all led to Moustafa losing control and delivering a “proper punch” which, it was accepted, came out of the blue.

He wished to publicly apologise for what he had done to the officers.

Judge Rowlands said Moustafa had assaulted two officers that Sunday in April.

Without warning he punched the first officer very hard to the face with the type of punch which could result in very serious, if not fatal, consequences.

He suffered serious injuries and the second officer was struck, causing an injury to the ear.

“There were other inmates around and some of them to their credit intervened to prevent further assaults,” the judge said.

He said the victims were public servants who were assaulted in the course of their work.

“The risk, which did not materialise, was that your behaviour would have encouraged others to behave in a violent way and it could have caused a major incident and a loss of control could have resulted,” he told Moustafa.