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Inmate threw boiling water over prison nurse in horrific attack

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A prisoner who threw boiling water through the hatch of his cell - causing a member of staff "excruciating" pain - has had his jail sentence increased by the Court of Appeal.

Three judges in London agreed with Attorney General Jeremy Wright that a custodial term of seven years and eight months handed out to Paul Byrne, 27, was "unduly lenient" - and upped it to 11 years.

Lord Justice Treacy, announcing the decision, ruled that the original jail sentence imposed in February at Burnley Crown Court for an offence of causing grievous bodily harm with intent went "well beyond the lenient".

Byrne, who was serving a sentence for robbery, carried out the attack while on the healthcare wing at HMP Preston, where he had been transferred because of concerns over his mental health.

His victim was 51-year-old nurse Yvonne Manfredi, who went to check on him after he sounded an alarm.

He had used a kettle in his cell to boil water to fill a bowl and waited for a staff member to arrive. He threw the water through the hatch into the nurse's face "without warning".

His victim suffered scalding and second degree burns and has been left with permanent discolouration to her face, neck, chest, breast and arms.

Lord Justice Treacy said she had "felt intense pain as if on fire", and was taken to hospital. After the incident she needed counselling, and because she no longer felt safe at her place of work the attack caused her to "leave that particular employment".

She suffered "excruciating pain at the time, and pain which continued over a significant period, together with significant, permanent psychological consequences".

Byrne, who has a "significant criminal record" said he had no recollection of the incident.

Lord Justice Treacy said the court was "entirely satisfied" that the jail term imposed was "far too low".

Byrne's sentence was originally one of seven years and eight months custody, with an extended licence period of four years. The appeal judges replaced the custodial element with 11 years, and said the licence period would remain the same.

After the hearing, Mr Wright, who presented the case to the Court of Appeal, said in a statement: "Given my previous role as Prisons Minister, attacks against prison staff are something I take extremely seriously, which is why I wanted to present the case personally in this matter.

"Premeditated attacks like that carried out by Byrne against a person serving the public in a difficult job deserve a strong punishment, not least because of the need to set a tough deterrent.

"I am glad that the Court of Appeal has agreed that Byrne should spend longer in prison and I sincerely hope this longer sentence provides some comfort to Ms Manfredi."