Five in­sti­ga­tors jailed for up to nine years over £6m prison riot

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - John Bur­ton

THE enor­mous scale of dam­age caused dur­ing a vi­o­lent riot at Birm­ing­ham’s Win­son Green jail has been re­vealed in court.

Dur­ing the sen­tenc­ing of five men, de­scribed by a judge as “in­sti­ga­tors” on Mon­day, it was re­vealed the re­pairs and as­so­ci­ated costs added up to more than £6 mil­lion.

In ex­cess of £1 mil­lion was spent on the re­sult­ing po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to the pros­e­cu­tor at Birm­ing­ham Crown Court.

Luke Mansell, 24 and John Bur­ton, 39, were last week found guilty of a prison mutiny which caused “de­struc­tion on a grand scale”, and saw more than 500 pris­on­ers let out of their cells on De­cem­ber 16, last year, af­ter in­mates seized keys.

Three oth­ers, Ross Wilkin­son, 24; Robert Smith, 34; Nathan We­ston, 23, all ad­mit­ted the same charge be­fore trial.

Jail­ing the five men for be­tween six and nine years, the Recorder of Birm­ing­ham Judge Mel­bourne In­man QC said the jail’s four af­fected wings had been left “un­in­hab­it­able” by the riot, and “there had been de­struc­tion on a grand scale”.

Raj Pu­nia, open­ing the pros­e­cu­tion case, set out the full cost in money, time and the drain on valu­able pub­lic re­sources as a re­sult of 15 hours of dis­or­der.

An as­sess­ment of the costs by G4S, which op­er­ates the jail, found that loss of earn­ings added up to £3.5 mil­lion, while re­fur­bish­ing the dam­aged prison £1.7 mil­lion.

Of those costs, a lock re­fit had to­talled £471,000, the “busi­ness in­ter­rup­tion” added up to £382,000 and the in­ci­dent sup­port costs of bring­ing in Tor­nado teams and other re­sources cost £332,000.

Ms Pu­nia added: “It is dif­fi­cult to quan­tify the cost to the emergency ser­vices, in­clud­ing the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion. But at the mo­ment the cost of the po­lice in­volve­ment is val­ued in ex­cess of £1 mil­lion.”

While no mon­e­tary fig­ure was placed on the cost to West Mid­lands Fire Ser­vice, “it was a sig­nif­i­cant drain on valu­able re­sources” with five fire en­gines and an aerial lad­der unit de­ployed.

The fire brigade also had to give a crash course in put­ting out fires to mem­bers of the spe­cial­ly­trained Tor­nado riot squads sent in to quell the trou­ble, such was the dan­ger posed to the fire­fight­ers sent to the scene. wings cost

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