Birmingham & Black Country

Inmates sentenced over £6m riot at HMP Birmingham

HMP Birmingham Image copyright AFP/GETTY
Image caption Order at the G4S-run jail was only restored after hundreds of specially-trained officers were brought in

Five inmates who started a 15-hour riot which caused more than £6m damage at a prison have been sentenced.

Luke Mansell, 24, and John Burton, 39, who were found guilty of taking part in the disorder at HMP Birmingham in 2016, were jailed for nine years.

Ross Wilkinson, 24, Robert Smith, 34, and Nathan Weston, 23, who admitted a charge of prison mutiny, were given six-year terms.

Judge Melbourne Inman QC said the men "were unquestionably the ring leaders".

Sentencing the men at Birmingham Crown Court, the judge said the jail's wings were left "uninhabitable" after the riot on 16 December which caused "destruction on a grand scale".

"The destruction you few caused and the hostility showed was replicated by the other hundreds of prisoners," he added.

The judge said the men were the "instigators of the mutiny" and had got "hold of the keys which enabled the release of all the other prisoners on the wings".

Image copyright PA
Image caption At one point only one secured gate stood between the rioters and a possible jail break, the court heard

Repairs and associated costs following the riot added to more than £6m, the court heard.

An assessment of the costs by G4S included £1.7m to refurbish the damaged prison wings and up to £3.5m in loss of earnings.

Grant Samed, 30, who also admitted a charge of prison mutiny, will be sentenced in November.

During Mansell and Burton's trial, prosecutor Raj Punia told the court that at one stage one secured external gate stood between the inmates and a possible jail break.

He said: "Officers got to the gate just in time."

Det Insp Caroline Corfield, of West Midlands Police, said prison officers had been subjected to a "prolonged attack" and inmates had "used whatever was at their disposal to try to force the gates open".

"Some of these rioters were already serving long jail terms for serious offences, but others like Smith and Weston had been released from their original sentences, but are now back behind bars for their actions," she said.

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