Prisoner “boiled alive” by cellmate

James McPhee had a kettle emptied on his face

A PRISONER has been left “barely recognisable” after a cellmate emptied a boiling kettle over his face.

James McPhee, 38, was left in ‘mortal agony’ after the attack as he was resting in his bed at the weekend.

He was rushed to hospital from Saughton prison, Edinburgh, suffering severe burns to his to his face, neck and hands.

A family member, who wished to remain anonymous, said McPhee would have to go through an operation to remove his teeth and repair his jaw because ‘his whole face is out of shape.’

A relative said: “He’s badly depressed says he keeps getting flash-backs from it.

“He was sound asleep and woke up thinking his face and hands were freezing cold but they were actually burning.

“When he woke up he tried to punch the guy away from him but he can’t remember much more than that, but the prison guards had burst in.

“He just remembers the terrible pain and not much more. He was screaming in pain.”

The family member said he would have to go through several skin grafts before he could recover.


“He is having an operation to take his teeth out and try to repair his jaw, which is out of shape, like it’s been moved, because the burns are so bad.

“How whole face is out of shape, his nose, eyes and jaw, it’s horrendous. His ear is also badly damaged.

“He just keeps crying all the time.”

The family said he had only been given a handful of co-codemol tablets before being released from from Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

They claim he went into shock when he was back in jail, and was then rushed to St John’s Hospital in Livingston, where he is still being treated.

It is understood Mr McPhee had been returned to Saughton Prison after breaching bail conditions following a shoplifting conviction.

A police spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police are investigating  after a 38-year-old man was assaulted within Saughton prison.

“The victim suffered burns to his face during the incident, which happened on Saturday, December 3.

“Officers are currently following a positive line of enquiry to identify the individual responsible for this attack.”

Responding to allegations the Royal Infirmary had released Mr McPhee prematurely and without proper medical attention, Jackie Sainsbury, chief operating officer of NHS Lothian said: “We do not have permission to discuss this individual case and we have not been contacted by the patient involved or his family.

“However, NHS Lothian takes all complaints very seriously and I would urge them to get in touch if they wanted to discuss the case.”

A police spokesman said a man was expected to be reported to the procurator fiscal imminently in connection with a serious assault.