AN IT expert says he was “treated like a terrorist”, had boiling water thrown over him and was sexually assaulted by other inmates while on remand in prison.

Tariq Elmughrabi spent 10 days in Lewes Prison accused of bombarding Sussex Police with thousands of emails in October and November last year.

The 27-year-old, who runs cyber security firm Uberex, is due to stand trial for computer misuse in July – but spent a “hellish” period in jail with “serious criminals” when the courts denied him bail in November.

He claims he was initially put in a cell with a “lifer” – an inmate who was serving a life sentence for shooting a police officer in the face.

He claims he was beaten up and had boiling water thrown over him, causing severe burns to his hand, which he claims went untreated.

He said when he complained he was moved to a cell with a convicted paedophile.

During his stay he also alleges that one inmate, a convicted paedophile, sexually assaulted him.

Mr Elmughrabi, who has Aspergers syndrome, told The Argus: “It was a nightmare, I didn’t know how I was going to survive.

“Because of my name I was treated like a terrorist. I was asked in the police interview where the missing Air Malaysia plane was and all sorts.

“One minute I’m living a normal life and then I’m in a cell with a lifer and then a paedophile. I was scared.

“My life has been turned upside down because of the charges and I just remember thinking ‘I’ll never get out of here alive.”

Mr Elmughrabi was eventually granted bail. He left Lewes Prison on December 4 and was ordered not to use the internet until the conclusion of his trial in July. He registered an official complaint with the Prison Service and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman – but neither organisation would confirm or deny the details.

However a Prison Service spokesman said: "We do not tolerate violence in prison and have systems in place to take swift and robust action against perpetrators, with serious incidents referred to the police for prosecution.

“An inspection report last year found HMP Lewes to be a safe, decent and secure prison.”

A spokesman from Sussex Police said: “Tariq Elmughrabi, self-employed, 27, of, Hove, appeared in custody at Brighton Magistrates' Court on Friday November 21 charged with unauthorised acts with intent to impair the operation of or prevent/hinder access to a computer, contrary to Section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act 1990.

“The court further remanded him in custody to make an initial appearance at Lewes Crown Court on 18 December. He was granted bail on December 4 at Lewes Crown Court.”