".. A prison officer has been jailed for eight months after attacking an inmate in his cell.

Matthew Waldron, 31, punched Thomas Smith, 57, six times in the face and body in a moment of 'red mist'.

Smith, who had pre-existing weakness to one arm and limited movement, suffered bruising to his eye and face.

The attack at the segregation unit at Strangeways Prison was captured on CCTV.

Waldron, a prison officer for 10 years with an unblemished record, will now be sacked.

Manchester Crown Court was told Waldron and a second officer, Stefan Wickham, entered Smith's cell to confiscate a radio cable which they believed he might use to harm himself or others.

Fifteen minutes later Smith urinated in the cell and mouthed an obscenity at the CCTV camera which was on 24 hours a day as there were concerns he might harm himself.

It was also seen that he still had part of the cable. The two officers went back to the cell and Waldron walked directly towards Smith while Wickham stood at the door.

Smith moved to the back of the cell and put his arm over his face.

Prosecuting, Andrew McIntosh, said Smith swore at Waldron and spat in his face.

“The red mist descended and he assaulted him. He was disgusted with himself and went straight home.”

The incident came to light three days later when the governor for the segregation unit asked Smith how he had got his injuries. He had initially told a nurse he had fallen in his cell.

John Banasko, defending, said Smith, a serial offender, had continually embarked on a dirty protest in his cell and on another occasion had set fire to his cell.

He said Waldron had spent five consecutive years on the segregation unit when national guidelines suggest officers should only work for a maximum of three in such units.

“One could argue this was an incident waiting to happen,” said Mr Banasko.

His Honour Judge David Hale told Waldron: “I have immense sympathy for people that have to do jobs that no one else wants to do.

“But there are lots of situations in life where people have to maintain professional standards.

“Whether the man did spit at you or not, you hit him a few times quite hard. I am prepared to accept that you bitterly regretted it immediately. You admitted it, knowing your career would be in tatters.”

He said he also accepted Waldron may have spent 'far too long' on the segregation unit.

But he added that Smith was a vulnerable prisoner and he had no option but to pass a custodial sentence.

He said Waldron, who had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, would serve four months of the sentence.

After the case, Richard Vince, Governor of HMP Manchester, said: “This is a totally unacceptable but isolated incident, committed by a single member of staff and it should not overshadow the great deal of good work that our staff deliver.

“The vast majority of staff work hard to provide a safe and decent environment for all prisoners.

“Violence in any form is not tolerated and we take any incident seriously. We have robust local procedures and will assist the police to investigate criminal acts.

“We do not seek to hide wrongdoing, and that is why on discovering this crime we reported it to the police and separately asked for an internal prison service investigation.”

Mr Wickham remains suspended on full pay pending an internal investigation. No decision has been made on whether he will face criminal proceedings.

A prison manager has also been suspended .."