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Jailed YouTuber: 'Not proud' of prank

By Calum Macdonald
BBC Radio 5 live

media captionYouTuber 'not proud' of his part in a fake robbery on a major London gallery

A YouTuber jailed for his part in a prank on the public says he is "sorry if he frightened people".

Daniel Jarvis, 27, is a member of the Trollstation YouTube channel, which has about a million subscribers.

In 2016, he and three others were jailed for a total of 72 weeks after pleading guilty to two counts of threatening behaviour causing fear of unlawful violence.

They staged a fake robbery at London's National Portrait Gallery in 2015.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Stephen Nolan on BBC Radio 5 live, Jarvis said: "I'm not proud. It wasn't meant to be that extreme.

"We were going to go in there and be stupid, dumb, criminals, falling over each other."

The pranksters set off an alarm inside the gallery after carrying in fake paintings, dressed as robbers, causing members of the public to flee.

The video has been viewed nearly one million times on YouTube.

"When the alarm was so loud, it caused too much panic, which was our fault," Jarvis said.

"I can't change the past. I don't like hurting people or making people upset. I do these videos to make people laugh and make them happy."

image captionYouTube Prankster Daniel Jarvis

'Warped' stunt

In court, magistrates warned such "warped" stunts could lead to fatalities.

The prosecutor said the pranksters had caused a stampede in which people had been trampled and one person had fainted.

The prank was also criticised for its timing - just a week after the Tunisian beach massacre, in which 39 people were killed

"A terrorist attack happens in this world every day. This has got nothing to do with terrorism," Jarvis told BBC Radio 5 live.

"I don't like harming people or making people upset. I hate people crying. I like to see people happy and love making people happy. It wasn't a nice feeling to see people scared."

Trollstation has built a reputation for filming staged pranks around London.

In March 2016, a fifth member of the channel was imprisoned following a bomb hoax.

Judge Snow said the men had caused "high levels of fear of violence" and a "risk of death or injury" during the stampede from the National Portrait Gallery, and sought to "humiliate" the victims by "recording their terrified reactions to upload on to the internet".

One of Jarvis's most successful pranks saw him dressed up as a soldier in the Queen's Guard.

He then arranged for his friend to approach him and, uncharacteristically for a soldier in the Queen's Guard, he retaliated.

That video has 25 million views on YouTube.

image copyrightMetropolitan Police
image captionCCTV footage shows the fake robbery in progress

'A lot of pressure' for views

Jarvis said he had felt the burden of providing videos for fans.

"It is a lot of pressure, if you haven't done a good video in a while and if you've not done an extreme video," he said.

In 2015, he disrupted the diving World Series at the London Aquatic Centre - where Tom Daley was participating - by diving from a 10m board.

Speaking about that prank, Jarvis said: "It made a lot of people laugh, it made a lot of people happy."

Jarvis was challenged about the responsibility that comes with having such a massive, and impressionable, online following.

"It's not that anything can go. You've got to be respectful," he said.

In June, a woman from Minnesota was charged over the fatal shooting of her boyfriend, in what authorities say was a social media stunt gone wrong.

Jarvis said he wouldn't do anything that extreme in the chase for YouTube views.

"Even on the news, extreme stuff goes off.," he said. "I'm not into extreme stuff like that. I wouldn't do anything too dangerous."


Follow Calum Macdonald on Twitter @CalumAM

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