AN inmate carried out “bullying and cowardly” attacks on his cell-mate shortly after being admitted to prison on remand.

But the three assaults on his captive victim in their shared cell at Durham Prison cost defendant Nathan McGuire a seven-month extension on his existing three-year jail term.

Durham Crown Court was told McGuire had only been “padded up” with the complainant for around a week when the attacks took place over a five-day period in September, last year.

McGuire appeared short tempered and the first attack came in the wake of a row over a comment made by the victim during a television programme both were watching in their cell.

Lewis Kerr, prosecuting, said McGuire commented to his “pad-mate”: “I told you I was going to get you,” before tying his legs with a towel and repeatedly punching him about the head and body, causing bloodied lips.

McGuire also said: “I can break them if I want to,” referring to the other inmate’s glasses, while he also advised him not to go to sleep that night or he would have his jaw broken.

But he later recanted and told the fearful cell-mate the assault would not take place.

Mr Kerr said two days later McGuire was in a mood over lack of phone access to his family and took it out with another similar ten to 15-minute attack on his cell-mate, who was assaulted again, “totally out of the blue”, after another two days.

The victim suffered blood loss from his mouth plus bruising to his head and body.

He said he felt he was “walking on egg shells” in his cell as McGuire displayed mood swings, losing his temper at “the flick of a switch”, behaving in a “cowardly and bullying” manner.

McGuire, 26, of Tenth Street, Horden, admitted three assaults causing actual bodily harm.

Steven Reed, mitigating, said the offences took place shortly after his first admission to prison on remand and he reacted badly due to the adhd he suffers.

He has since received a three-year prison sentence for burglary and handling offences.

Mr Reed said while in prison McGuire has earned drug rehabilitation certification.

Judge Ray Singh said they were “serious offences”, unprovoked attacks committed for no “fathomable, justifiable reason”.

He imposed the seven-month sentence to be served consecutively to the three-year sentence given to McGuire, in May.