A female inmate with a growing record for disruptive behaviour told a judge she attacks prison officers due to the “trauma” she claims they give her.

Asked by a judge at Durham Crown Court why she behaves in such a violent way to prison officers, defendant Phoebe Adlard said she had to “protect” herself from the officers.

She made the claim after admitting seven charges, four of them assaults, two for throwing urine at individual officers and one for having an improvised knife - all committed during her stay last year at HMP Low Newton, the women’s prison on the outskirts of Durham.

Appearing via video link from HMP Bronzefield, in Surrey, where she is now detained, the 25-year-old defendant was unrepresented at the plea hearing.

The Northern Echo: Phoebe Adlard facing sentence at Durham Crown Court next month

Given the option to adjourn to seek representation, Adlard said she was happy to carry on without the assistance of a lawyer.

The charges were put to Adlard, who admitted four counts of assaulting an emergency worker, all prison officers, two of administering a noxious substance, relating to the urine-throwing offences, plus one of possessing a knife or bladed article in prison, a self-fashioned sharpened piece of cutlery.

All took place on dates between January and April, last year, with both male and female prison officers being the target of her offending.

The court heard she is currently serving a six-month sentence imposed by magistrates in Cambridgeshire, in January.

The Northern Echo: Phoebe Adlard facing sentence for attacks on prison officers at HMP Low Newton, near Durham

Judge Kidd asked the defendant if she had ever had the benefit of a psychiatric assessment and she said neither in the community nor in a court environment.

The judge then asked her: “Why do you think you behave in the violent way to prison officers?

Adlard replied: “I have to protect myself because I have had trauma from prison officers.”

Asked if she has previously had the benefit of community court orders, backed by the Probation Service, she told the judge: “They didn’t last very long.”

Looking at the 25-year-old defendant’s record, Judge Kidd said: “There was a suspended sentence order in March 2020 for harassment charges.

“Then you committed further offences during that suspended sentence order and what’s been happening since then you have got prison sentences when you have been back before the court.”

The Northern Echo:

See more court stories from The Northern Echo by clicking here

What life may be like for Lucy Letby in Low Newton, Durham

Defendant denies spitting during incident at Low Newton Prison, Durham

Five County Durham thieves, abusers, drink drivers in court

Unlock the stories that matter to you and your neighbourhood. ✨ Get a digital subscription for The Northern Echo at a price that can't be beaten: £4 for 4 months or 40% off annual! Your community, your news, your offer. Act fast! #StayInformed #LocalDeals. For details, click here

Judge Kidd asked for a probation background report to be prepared before passing sentence on Adlard in four weeks.

But she warned the defendant, who is from Lincolnshire, one of the options would be to give her a further period of imprisonment.

Adlard will remain in custody until the sentencing hearing on April 10.