A TRIPLE murderer who was beaten unconscious in prison has had a £100,000 damages claim thrown out.

Michael Steele - one of the “Essex Boy” killers jailed in 1998 - was attacked in a kitchen at HMP Whitemoor, near Peterborough, in 2010.

He suffered a bad cut, damaged teeth and a fractured eye socket in the assault.

Steele, originally from Great Bentley, was jailed for life for the murders of three drug dealers in Rettendon in 1995, blamed the prison for the attack.

Southend Standard:

Scene - the Range Rover in which the three drug dealers were murdered. Picture: PA

After a four-day county court hearing, Judge Simon Freeland QC refused the 75-year-old’s damages bid against the Ministry of Justice.

Steele was convicted with Jack Whomes for shooting dead Tony Tucker, 38, Pat Tate, 37, and Craig Rolfe, 26, who were in a Range Rover.

Steele claimed staff should have known he was at risk and more should have been done to protect him.

He claimed inadequate staffing in his part of the jail had left him open to attack.

But Mr Freeland, QC, told Steele he failed to establish the Ministry of Justice did not take reasonable care for his safety.

The wing which housed Steele was fully staffed at the time of the attack, which was carried out by a Muslim inmate named “Miller” who he had rowed with a day before over whether he had jumped the queue to use the telephone.

The killings have featured in a number of well-known films.