Prison riot inmates back behind bars for 80 years between them

Flashback to the disturbances at Moorland Prison, South Yorkshire. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Flashback to the disturbances at Moorland Prison, South Yorkshire. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Have your say

INMATES who rampaged through a South Yorkshire prison during a three-day riot have been handed jail sentences totalling more than 80 years, it can be reported today.

The last four of 15 men convicted of involvement in the chaos at HMP Moorland were each locked up for 20 months yesterday after admitting violent disorder.

Eleven other prisoners, convicted of rioting, were sentenced to between five and nine years behind bars in August.

Reporting restrictions on the case were lifted yesterday at Sheffield Crown Court.

The court heard prisoners smashed up furniture, armed themselves with table legs and threw pool balls at jail officers during the disturbance, which started at Moorland Young Offenders’ Institution and spread to an adult wing at the Doncaster jail.

A bin was also set on fire and the blaze escalated, with 40ft flames taking hold of the surrounding area and shooting out of the roof.

Dozens of prisoners had to be moved to other jails following the riot in November 2010, which caused damage worth £641,500 and left one inmate in hospital.

It only ended when officers in riot gear known as “Tornado Response” teams were called in.

The prosecution said the disorder was “both pre-planned and carefully orchestrated” and some prisoners went round the jail recruiting others to join in.

At the height of the trouble, prison officers fled for their own safety and locked the wings behind them, effectively surrendering control of three wings of the jail.

There were 166 inmates on the block at the time of the riot. CCTV evidence and testimony from two prison officers helped to identify the troublemakers.

Sentenced yesterday were Jack Millington, 20, and Robert Sawyers, 22, both of no fixed abode; Thomas Beadle, 21, of Sheffield; and Luke Oliver, 20, of Hull.

Prosecutor Timothy Capstick said they were involved in disorder on the first night of the riot.

It began when a fight broke out between two prisoners during “free association” on the ground floor. Officers tried to break it up but the incident acted as a “catalyst” for a full-scale riot, he said.

Millington and Sawyers were seen walking round with table legs smashing windows, Beadle threw pool balls and Oliver falsely claimed to officers there was a hostage situation, the court heard.

Jailing them, Judge Rosalind Coe said: “This incident which formed part of a larger serious incident would have caused significant distress and alarm to the prison officers concerned.”

Of the 11 prisoners sentenced in August, 10 were found guilty of rioting after a trial and one, Douaine Beamont, 37, of Hull, admitted the offence. He was locked up for four years.

Jailed for nine years were: Adam Mendoza, 24, of Rotherham; Lee Pidcock, 32, of Sheffield; Michael Beale, 25, of Bradford; and Mark MacLean, 23, of Nottinghamshire.

The rest, sentenced to six years in prison, were: Aaron Graham, 31, of York; Daniel Hallgate, 24, of Rotherham; Jake Johnson, 23, of Grimsby; Kyle Sherlock, 24, of Billingham; Daniel Baldam, 23, Middlesbrough; and James Kelly, 28, of Stockton-on-Tees.

Detective Inspector Helen Lewis, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “The disorder was clearly organised and appeared to be pre-planned, resulting in extensive damage to the prison and serious injuries to prisoners and prison officers.”

HMP Moorland governor Marian Mahoney said: “This was a very serious incident which had a profound effect on the prison.

“I have a great deal of respect for staff who acted with enormous bravery and professional expertise to bring this situation to a peaceful conclusion.

“The tough sentences reflect the seriousness with which society rightly views such actions.”