Prison ri­ot­ers locked up

Court: Two men handed nine years and three oth­ers given six years in­side

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - NEWS - BY RICHARD VERNALLS

Prison in­mates who started a 15-hour riot which caused more than £6mil­lion dam­age to Birm­ing­ham’s Win­son Green prison have been jailed for up to nine years.

Luke Mansell, 24 and John Bur­ton, 39, were last week found guilty of a prison mutiny which saw more than 500 pris­on­ers let out of their cells.

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

Order was only re­stored at the G4S-run jail af­ter hun­dreds of spe­cially- trained “Tor­nado” team prison of­fi­cers were drafted in on De­cem­ber 16, last year.

Sen­tenc­ing on Mon­day, the Recorder of Birm­ing­ham Judge Mel­bourne In­man QC told the men: “You were un­ques­tion­ably the ring-lead­ers and in­sti­ga­tors of the mutiny.”

Bur­ton, who had a lengthy record of 89 of­fences, was jailed for nine years, along with Mansell.

Mansell, on re­mand at the time of the riot, was con­victed in Fe­bru­ary 2017 of con­spir­acy to com­mit griev­ous bod­ily harm, for an of­fence in which the vic­tim was tied to a chair, had his pe­nis branded with hair straight­en­ers, was forced to eat fae­ces, and had a front tooth pulled out with pli­ers.

Wilkin­son, a con­victed bur­glar; We­ston, who had been jailed for ar­son, and Smith, with 25 pre­vi­ous con­vic­tions, were each jailed for six years.

The sixth “in­sti­ga­tor”, 30-year-old Grant Samed, will be sen­tenced in Novem­ber.

Trou­ble first flared when the pris­on­ers jumped on “sui­cide net­ting” on N wing’s land­ing.

Smith then snatched a set of keys from a prison of­fi­cer.

As the chaos spread, the gate wit­nessed a stand-off be­tween riot squads on one side, and pris­on­ers armed with pool balls, paint pots, and other makeshift weapons on the other.

A TV was dropped from a win­dow nar­rowly miss­ing a prison of­fi­cer’s head, while one riot of­fi­cer de­scribed “pool balls bounce off his hel­met”.

The im­pact on the jail’s staff had been “harrowing”, with one of­fi­cer stat­ing “I keep think­ing about what would have hap­pened if we hadn’t got out”.

Two other men; Carl Brookes, 33, and 30-yearold Ross Queen will be sen­tenced on Tues­day for tak­ing an unau­tho­rised photo in the prison, dur­ing the riot.

RE­SPONSE: Riot po­lice stand guard out­side HMP Birm­ing­ham back in De­cem­ber last year when a riot be­gan that caused mil­lions of pounds worth of dam­age

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