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Inmate re-jailed for punching the Prison Governor

Inmate re-jailed for punching the Prison Governor

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Inmate re-jailed for punching the Prison Governor


30 months were added to the prison time of Ian Lewell yesterday by the Royal Court, after he was sentenced for punching the Prison Governor in the head, and another assault.

Lewell, 46, was facing two counts of assault, one on Dave Matthews, the prison governor, following an incident in February, and one on a fellow prisoner, after a separate incident in April.

The incident involving Mr Matthews - the man employed by the States to run the prison - occurred when the two men crossed paths in a Les Nicolles corridor.

The Court heard that Lewell had just been told he was not allowed to speak to another prisoner whom he was close to through a window looking out on to the exercise yard. Previously, he had been allowed to do this, but on this occasion, an officer said he had to stop. 

Ian Lewell

Pictured: Ian Lewell, who struggles with 'entrenched mental health difficulties', which make it difficult for him to control his anger. In this instance, the court heard how his 'emotional regulations abandoned him'. 

This had upset the defendant - who was last before the Court for assaulting another inmate in October last year - so he left the area.

The Court heard that It was around five minutes later when Lewell was walking down a corridor that he passed the prison governor. Crown Advocate Fiona Russell told the Court that Mr Matthews looked around toward Lewell because he heard him swearing under his breath.

It was alleged that the defendant saw Mr Matthews, asked him what he was looking at, and then threw a punch toward his head. After being struck, Mr Matthews "raised his arms, and swung a blow back to protect himself". Lewell then threw more punches, before he was tackled to the ground by a prison officer. 

Mr Matthews suffered grazing to his head following the punch, and Lewell had his elbow broken in three places after he was tackled. He made full admissions to the police about what he did in a written statement, although he contested that he only lost his temper after Mr Matthews told him to 'shut up' as he was walking past. The incident was all captured on CCTV. 

court entrance

Pictured: the case was heard in Guernsey's Royal Court.

While Lewell has a long and complex criminal record, with many similar and serious convictions on it, his advocate, Liam Roffey, told the court how his client had numerous entrenched mental health problems. 

These problems meant he could not control his anger, and struggled to learn from his mistakes of the past. 

Despite failing to maintain control in this instance, Lewell continues to strive to better himself by engaging with as many avenues for help as he has open to him, Advocate Roffey said. He also described the physical price of the pain of Lewell's injuries after he had been tackled.  

Les Nicolles Prison

Pictured: Les Nicolles prison has already been Lewell's home for some time now, but it is not somewhere he wants to be, Advocate Roffey said. 

The second count Lewell faced came after he lunged at another prisoner with his head. He had been wound up by the prisoner because he and others had been chanting all night, meaning the defendant could not get any sleep. It was accepted in court - and reportedly by prison officers as well - that the other inmate had been being annoying, but Lewell's reaction was described as 'wholly disproportionate'. 

During sentencing, Judge Russell Finch said they had tried to be fair with Lewell over his previous appearances, but that this was an 'assault on an official acting in his course of duty', and therefore had to be punished. 

In total, Lewell was sentenced to an additional 26 months for assaulting Mr Matthews - a public servant - and another four months for the other assault.  

Pictured top: The entrance to Guernsey Prison, Les Nicolles. 

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