This is the extraordinary moment former English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson exchanges blows with a prison inmate after allegedly being told a bounty had been put on his head. The fight, which lasts just seconds, sees Robinson launch into a fellow prisoner and knock him back with a series of punches to the body and face.

After other inmates scramble out of his way, Robinson then appears to calmly walk off, leaving his target reeling. The altercation, which occurred at Peterborough Prison in July 2015 during the last few days of Robinson's sentence for mortgage fraud, was said by the 33-year-old to be an "act of self-defence".

He claims moments before the fight he had been warned a group of Muslim prisoners had offered a reward for anyone who assaulted the ex-EDL leader. Robinson said: "I'm leaning up against the wall and a bloke comes stand next to me and he says: 'Mate, you're gonna get done with boiling water – £500, half-ounce of Spice [a psychoactive drug] and a mobile phone have been put up to have you done,'

"They put boiling water with sugar and it takes your face off." He adds: "The prison system is plagued with... extremist Islam and Muslim gangs."

His case is to feature in an upcoming episode of Channel 4 documentary series 24 Hours in Police Custody. Viewers will see Robinson, who now helps lead anti-Islam group Pegida UK, being interviewed by Bedfordshire Police after initially being arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault. He was eventually charged with a lesser offence of assault.

While the episode gives a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the criminal justice system works in the UK, it also offers an inside look into rampant prison violence. Peterborough Prison saw over 1,000 prisoner-on-prisoner assaults between 2010 and 2014, according to figures provided by the Ministry of Justice. There have been a further 371 assaults on prison staff over the same period.

The episode is also likely to cause embarrassment for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Despite claims of self-defence, prosecutors took Robinson's alleged prison assault all the way to trial. The case collapsed at Peterborough Magistrates' Court last month, however, after his QC successfully argued the trial could not continue because of failures in disclosing evidence.

Robinson's solicitors, Blackfords, told IBTimes UK the CPS had provided only select footage of the fight for the trial, which left out a clip allegedly showing a prisoner arrive to warn Robinson he was in danger. The rest of the footage is believed to have now been deleted.

His defence also complained prison records, which they said would show he had warned prison staff he feared for his life, were also not provided by prosecutors. Robinson described the charge against him as a "stitch up" and said the case was "state persecution" for his political activism.

The CPS this week told IBTimes UK the case has now been passed to its appeals team, however, which is looking into whether the body "should seek a judicial review" of the judge's ruling. No decision has yet been made but a CPS spokesperson said should it decide to appeal the judge's decision, there could be a retrial.

Channel 4's 24 Hours in Police Custody will air on Thursday (5 May) at 9pm. The episode will feature Robinson as well as other cases which give an insight into policing Luton – one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse towns in the UK. This includes a Muslim woman seeking protection from her husband who threatens to take her to Syria against her will.

tommy robinson
Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, sits in a cell at Luton Police Station after being arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault Channel 4/The Garden