Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Four jailed over riot at prison

An inmate looks on as a fireball consumes an accommodation block at HMP Ford near Arundel, West Sussex, after prisoners rioted

Four men have been jailed after a riot at an open prison.

Trouble flared at Ford Open Prison, in Arundel, West Sussex, when inmates became angry over alcohol breath-testing carried out by prison staff in the run-up to New Year's Day last year.

Shortly after midnight, masked inmates torched and smashed up the prison, causing more than £5 million-worth of damage.

Thomas Regan, 23, Lennie Franklin, 23, and Roche Allen, 25, were jailed for seven years after being guilty of prison mutiny by a jury at Hove Crown Court.

Carniel Francis, 25, received a two-and-a-half-year sentence for violent disorder. Roberts, 41, Franklin and Allen were also found guilty of violent disorder. Regan had already pleaded guilty to the charge.

Roberts was also found guilty of arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered. His sentencing was adjourned for reports to assess his mental health.

Ryan Martin was acquitted of all three offences.

Jurors were directed by Judge Michael Lawson QC to find fellow inmate Paul Hadcroft, 25, not guilty of all three charges part-way through the case because of insufficient evidence.

The mutiny saw inmates running amok, looting, smashing and torching buildings and property during the early hours of January 1, 2011. Prosecutor Ian Acheson told the court it was a case where violent chaos and arson ruled.

Judge Lawson told the defendants that their behaviour as they advanced towards the five staff on duty that night, threatening to kill them and cut them, must have been terrifying.

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