RODEO riders have to be tough, but prisoners have to be tougher.
Turning to drugs after a career-ending shoulder injury, champion cowboy Daniel Jeremiah Malone quickly went from life in the saddle to life behind bars.
Within months of his incarceration the 27-year- old, who once held so much promise, brutally assaulted a fellow inmate at the Capricornia Correctional Centre.
During Malone's sentencing in the Rockhampton District Court yesterday, defence barrister Ross LoMonaco alluded to a disturbing prison culture, one full of fear.
The court heard Malone and another prisoner entered the cell of the complainant about 2.30pm on May10, 2013.
The 40-year-old victim was asleep at the time, but not for long.
Malone delivered four punches to the man's face.
The attack left the victim bleeding and dazed. He was transported to the Rockhampton Hospital with a swollen eye, tenderness and minor fractures.
Mr LoMonaco said he tried to find out the reason behind the attack, but was unsuccessful.
"My client was not willing to say anything for his own safety," he said.
The court heard Malone was brought up by his aunty.
Mr LoMonaco told the court he attended the Emerald Agricultural College, before starting his own mobile butcher business.
He said Malone was actively involved in rodeos, until an injury left him unable to work or compete.
"He lapsed into depression, got into speed to help with pain relief and became helplessly addicted," he said.
Malone and his girlfriend were both jailed last year for producing the dangerous drug in their Blackwater home. The couple's child was born in jail and remains behind bars with the mother.
The court heard Malone is now drug-free.
Judge Brian Devereaux said this was a very serious example of assault.
He sentenced Malone to 15-months' jail.
He will be eligible for parole on November 23, to take into account time already served.