Inmate jailed for six years for helping start prison riot

An "instigator" of a 15-hour riot which caused more than £6 million damage to Birmingham's Winson Green prison has been jailed for six years.

Grant Samed, 30, was one of six inmates whose actions triggered chaos at the jail, leading to "widespread destruction", and saw more than 500 prisoners let out of their cells.

Order was only restored at the G4S-run jail after hundreds of specially-trained "Tornado" team prison officers, backed by riot police, were drafted in to quell the disturbances on December 16 last year.

Riot police in Birmingham
Riot police in Birmingham

It was the worst disorder at a UK jail since the Manchester Strangeways riots in 1990.

Samed had previously admitted prison mutiny but his sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court had been adjourned for reports.

Jailing him on Tuesday, the Recorder of Birmingham, Judge Melbourne Inman QC, told Samed: "This was a sustained mutiny and you, together with the other five, were undoubtedly the instigators of it."

The court heard that Samed joined prisoners on the suicide netting on the top level of his N wing cell, after being unable to get medical help the night before.

Ambulance crew
Ambulance crew

His barrister, Bernard Porter, said: "The night before, on December 15, he was not well and had sought help and rung the bell to attract attention of the prison services.

"For whatever reason, that help wasn't forthcoming, and that was the catalyst for his behaviour thereafter."

Feeling "frustrated and annoyed", Samed joined five other men in ransacking the wing,

Raj Punia, prosecuting, said he was seen by prison staff "cheering" as he threw a table down a stairwell.

He also sprayed a fire hose, while another inmate snatched keys from a senior prison officer's belt - an act that triggered the ensuing riot.

The father-of-five then engaged in what the judge called "mindless destruction", alongside the other instigators.

Riot police
Riot police

Samed, who has 64 convictions, was at the time serving a two-year sentence for burglary and attempted arson on a shop.

Mr Porter said his client was sorry "for his inexcusable behaviour".

Sentencing Samed, who appeared in court via video-link, Judge Inman told him: "You sensibly pleaded guilty at the first opportunity."

Fellow "instigators" Luke Mansell, 24, and John Burton, 39, were found guilty of prison mutiny and jailed for nine years at the same court earlier this year.

The other three - Ross Wilkinson, 24, Robert Smith, 34, and Nathan Weston, 23 - all admitted the same charge and each received six-year terms behind bars.