Ford prison riot trial starts

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The prosecution has opened its case in the trial of seven men accused of rioting at Ford Open Prison on New Year’s Day last year.

Inmates Roche Allen, 25, Lee Roberts, 40, Lennie Franklin, 23, Paul Hadcroft, 25, and Ryan Martin, 24, have denied taking part in a prison mutiny, violent disorder and arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

Thomas Regan, 23, denies taking part in a prison mutiny and arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, but today changed his plea for violent disorder to guilty.

A seventh man, Carniel Francis, 25, is accused of taking part in a prison mutiny and violent disorder. He denies the charges.

A jury of eight women and four men were sworn in. Today (January 19) the jury along with the prosecution and defence counsels visited the prison.

Trouble flared at the category D prison on January 1 last year when buildings were torched after a bid to crack down on contraband alcohol. Buildings were set alight, causing extensive damage.

The trial at Hove Trial Centre is expected to last until March 1.