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Inmates jailed over £170,000 Oakwood Prison riot

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Prisoners used brooms as spears, threw TVs and even tried to tunnel out as they ran amok for nine hours during a riot at Britain's biggest jail.

Officers fled as inmates caused £171,000 damage as they rampaged through the £160 million HMP Oakwood in Featherstone.

The prisoners took over two levels of Cedar wing, barricading themselves inside and putting glue in locks to prevent them from working. Windows were smashed and booby-traps set up using fire hoses, while a pool table was tipped over and large flat-screen TVs chucked down the stairway.

Adam Bates, Daniel Donovan, Daniel Rust, Mark Russell, Matthew Williams and Ryan Harris
  • Daniel Jeffrey Rust, aged 23, from Telford, currently at HMP Dovegate, was sentenced to 28 months, plus eight months for an unrelated assault at HMP Birmingham.
  • Ryan John Harris, aged 33, from Merthyr Tydfil, currently at HMP Dovegate, was jailed for 28 months.
  • Matthew Lloyd Williams, aged 27, from Cardiff, currently at HMP Dovegate, received a 24-month sentence.
  • Adam Richard Bates, aged 24, from Sheffield, was sentenced to 24 months.
  • Mark Anthony Russell, aged 25, from Ebbw Vale, was jailed for 28 months.
  • Daniel Patrick Donovan, aged 29, from Walsall, currently at HMP Hewell, received a 28-month sentence.[/breakout]

In one room, prisoners removed washing machines and tried to tunnel through the prison walls into a lobby.

One inmate even managed to call the Express & Star newsdesk to boast about how they had taken over the prison. He then went on to demand a McDonald's takeaway. A similar call was also made to Sky News saying they had taken a hostage.

At Stafford Crown Court yesterday, six of the men were jailed after pleading guilty to violent disorder.

The violence was described by the prison's deputy director Andy Sleight as the most serious he has dealt with in his 27-year career.

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Prison officers lost control of the privately-run G4S jail at 5pm on January 4 last year.

A group of inmates became aggressive when Daniel Donovan from Walsall was locked in his cell after threatening a female member of staff, Mr Darron Whitehead, prosecuting, told the court.

"At 5pm the officer went to lock up the wing and she said she could feel a tense atmosphere," he said. "Some of the inmates started shouting at her and blocked her path. She said she was instantly fearful for her own safety and that she would be taken hostage. It became hostile and loud.

"She took the decision to retreat and raise the alarm.

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"A TV was thrown from level four down to level three and officers left and went to an observation post.

"Chairs were broken with the legs used as weapons.

"They started smashing CCTV cameras to render them useless and bedding was used to block the officers' view from the observation points. One broom was turned into a spear."

Gym equipment was also used as a battering ram to free Donovan from his cell and made into improvised metal weapons.

Mr Whitehead said a specialist Tornado riot squad of 62 officers and dogs arrived on the scene at 11.30pm to intervene.

When they entered the prison the inmates made no attempt to fight back.

Normal order was restored at 2.20am – nine hours after trouble broke out.

Mr Whitehead told the court that he estimated around 10 prisoners were involved – while many others stayed in the cells and wanted no involvement.

This was met with an outcry from the defendants in the dock. Judge Mark Eades conceded that CCTV shown to the court suggested that in the region of 20 prisoners were involved. The wing was out of order for two weeks and the 59 prisoners had to rehomed, the court was told.

Sentencing, Judge Mark Eades said: "The fact is that the latent danger was large. No one knew what was going to unfold. For those who did not want to engage in this violent disorder it must have been a terrifying incident."

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