FOUR men have been sentenced to serve a total of more than 23 years in prison for their role in a mass mutiny at Ford Prison last year, a court has heard.
Prisoners rampaged through Ford, causing £5m worth of damage, during the early hours of January 1, 2011, after becoming outraged over a series of breathalyser tests, in the run-up to the new year celebrations, a jury at the Hove Trial Centre had been told.
Trial judge Michael Lawson QC sentenced Roche Allen, 25, of Cardiff, Thomas Regan, 23 of Northampton and Lenny Franklin, 23, of London, to seven years for prison mutiny, following their convictions, earlier today (Friday, March 2).
Regan received a further three-years-and-nine-months for violent disorder and arson, which he will serve concurrently, alongside his prison mutiny sentence.
Franklin and Allen also received four-year sentences for the same offence, which will also be served concurrently,
Carniel Francis, 25, of London, was given a two-and-a-half year sentence for violent disorder and arson.
The sentencing of Lee Roberts, 41, from HMP Lewell, has been adjourned until a later date.
Speaking after the verdicts, Detective Chief Inspector Pierre Serra who lead the investigation, praised all the witnesses and officers, involved in the case for their courage.
He said: “This has been a complex and challenging investigation, involving over 40 Sussex Police officers and taking over a year from start to verdict. It is certainly one of the largest investigations I have worked on in the last 18 years and even more rewarding by virtue of today’s verdict.”
Justice Minister Crispin Blunt said: “This is a good outcome after the shocking and violent rioting at HMP Ford on 1 January 2011.
“I visited the prison the day after the disturbance and was appalled at the wanton damage and destruction I saw; these tough sentences reflect the seriousness with which society rightly views such actions.”
This morning, Rian Martin, 24, of Eastbourne, was acquitted of all three offences of prison mutiny, violent disorder and arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered and was discharged from the dock.