Prisoner tells Leeds Crown Court he was "bullied" after being caught using mobile phone in cell at HMP Wealstun

An inmate caught with a mobile phone in his prison cell told Leeds Crown Court he was "bullied" into using it.

Leeds Crown Court

Prison officers searching for mobile phones heard Luke Patrice speaking in hushed tones while alone in his cell at HMP Wealstun near Thorp Arch at Wetherby, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Jessica Randell, prosecuting, said Patrice was searched and tried to move items from his pocket into his boxer shorts during the incident just before 2pm on January 13.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Officers found a mobile phone, and sim card while an improvised charger was found in an Xbox computer game in his cell.

Appearing via video link from HMP Leeds, Patrice, 33, apologised and said: "I didn't have a choice. I was getting pressured and bullied into using the phone."

A Leeds Crown Court judge had jailed Patrice for 34 months in November 2019 for wounding, possession of cannabis, assaulting an emergency worker and failing to surrender to bail.

Andrew Dallas, mitigating, told the court Patrice had been victimised by other inmates in the prison because of his surname.

Mr Dallas said the Patrice is a name "not unfamiliar to judges" and said the name was known to inmates he met by chance at HMP Wealstun.

Mr Dallas said: "He left Huddersfield several years ago and is only distantly related to the more well-known Patrices.

"That is of no interest to others who had problems with Patrices and he is singled out as a result in a rough and ready prison culture.

"The owner of the phone had a motive for wanting him (Patrice) to speak to his girlfriend, which is what he was doing - to do with some business which had nothing to do with criminality.

"He was talking to his girlfriend when he was caught."

Mr Dallas said Patrice had been attacked twice at HMP Wealstun because the phone had been seized.

Patrice, of no fixed abode, admitted possessing a mobile phone in prison.

Judge Simon Phillips QC handed him a six month prison sentence to start after his current sentence ends.