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