Three men have been sentenced for their part in a large disorder at HMP Erlestoke, in Wiltshire, in 2016.
Ben Sharratt, 26, Luke Needham, 30, and Deno Harrison, 23, all pleaded guilty to prison mutiny and were sentenced during a hearing at Winchester Crown Court today (16 March 2018).
Sharratt, Needham and Harrison were each given a further three years.
The offences relate to disorder, which began on Saturday 11 June 2016, when numerous prisoners become violent towards staff and the following were found guilty of assaults prior to the main disorder.
*Matthew West – was found guilty at Salisbury Magistrates Court on 9/12/16 for assault and was sentenced to an additional six weeks imprisonment and to pay compensation of £115.
*Stephen Coster – was found guilty of assault after throwing a chair at an officer, biting another and throwing urine on another three. He was sentenced to an additional 20 weeks and to pay a surcharge to fund victim services of £115.
*Terry Chambers – was accused of causing criminal damage to the panel in his cell door. He was sentenced to an extra seven days.
*Ben Sharratt – spat on two members of prison staff and caused damage to his cell and bedding following the prison mutiny. He was committed to prison for 18 weeks concurrent and to pay compensation of £200 for assault a constable x 2, criminal damage. This was in addition to his sentence for his part in the mutiny.
*Liam Jones – caused damage to his door. He was sentenced to pay £50 surcharge, £30 of this was to HMPS.
*Khalid Karim – assaulted a prison officer by throwing urine on them. He was sentenced to a further six weeks custodial sentence and to pay the victim £150 surcharge.
*Sean Garrod – assaulted a member of prison staff by striking her to the face. He was sentenced to an additional 12 weeks and to pay compensation of £24.
Approximately £850,000 worth of damage was caused, leaving Alfred and Wessex blocks in a complete state of disrepair.
Although a large number of prisoners did not take part in the disorder, a minority assisted fellow inmates in escaping their cells and caused damage totalling approximately £850,000 leaving the two units in a state of complete disrepair.
Subsequently 130 prisoners had to be relocated to different prisons due to both units being out of action, the cost of the transport alone was in excess of £9000.
Once the inmates got out of their cells prison officers were forced to retreat for their own safety securing the external doors behind them. The prisoners took full control of both wings and forced entry to the staff offices to steal from within and damage CCTV hard drives to conceal their identity.
Individual prisoners were targeted by the escaped prisoners and forced to barricade themselves into their cells for hours in the belief they would be killed.
Sharratt damaged one prisoner’s cell door and flooded his cell with a hosepipe. He also managed to assault the prisoner, striking him to the face with a table leg.
As a result the National Prison Team (Tornado) was called in to deal with the disorder and order was restored after around 10 hours of rioting.
Subsequently 130 prisoners had to be relocated to other prisons due to both units being out of action for around one year, and the cost of the transport alone was in excess of £9,000.
DC Simon Rogers, from Wiltshire Police, said: “The actions of a few prisoners have cost HMPS and the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds and the relocation of 130 prisoners to locations across the country has undoubtedly put extra strain and pressure on HMPS.
“This has been a relatively lengthy investigation and I would like to thank the staff at HMP Erlestoke for their assistance and patience.
“Disorder in prisons across the country has been a prominent talking point since 2016, and prison staff have been put under extreme pressure and are regularly at risk of assault due to the nature of their role.
“I believe that the sentences passed, especially to the three main offenders, send a message to prisoners across the country that if they intend to take part in disorder they will be dealt with and sentenced accordingly.
“I hope that the outcome of this investigation will give a re-assurance to HMPS staff and the public that these offences will not be tolerated.”
DC Anthony Swift said: “The very purpose of prisons is to rehabilitate and punish offenders for the offences they have committed whilst they lived in the community.
“For prisoners to then commit further offences whilst in custody in order to attempt to overthrow the rightful and lawful authority demonstrates a flagrant disregard of the judicial system in this country.
“Such behaviour will always be met by a robust response by both the police and prison service.”