Ring-leaders of HMP Birmingham mutiny given more time behind bars

Updated: 

Prison inmates who started a 15-hour riot which caused more than £6 million 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 caused "destruction on a grand scale", and saw more than 500 prisoners let out of their cells after inmates seized keys.

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 to quell the disturbances 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.

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

"It was your direct action in allowing you to get hold of the keys, enabled the release of all the other prisoners on the wings."

He added that there had been "graphic evidence" of the violence faced by prison officers, which had "a profound impact" on staff.

The judge said the jail's wings were left "uninhabitable", and "there had been destruction on a grand scale".

Rioting prisoner
A rioting prisoner at HMP Birmingham (West Midlands Police/PA)

He added that "a clear message had to be given to anyone considering this type of action".

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 "unpalatable" 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.

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