Birmingham prison riots were sparked by protest over dental care, court hears

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Prison riots that lasted for more than 15 hours were sparked by a protest over dental care, a court has heard. Birmingham Crown Court was informed that a prisoner was protesting about a lack of access to dental care and this is believed to have started 15 hours of riots at HMP Birmingham in 2016.

Prosecuting, Simon Davis said that prison officers were forced to flee from four wings of the Winson Green facility in December 2016 after prisoners stole keys and proceeded to unlock the doors and release 500 inmates. Prison officers were attacked with flying objects including snooker balls and paint as they tried to control the situation. A group of men was arrested in connection with stealing the keys from a senior prison officer and triggering the riots, which lasted for several hours.

It is believed that one of the men who was arrested at the time of the incident had been protesting about a lack of dental care, and the situation spiralled out of control. Mr Davis stated that the reasons were not an excuse, but may help the court understand why they felt they had an ‘axe to grind’ and acted accordingly.

Luke Mansell, 24, allegedly claims that he had not been allowed to see a dentist and this is why he joined forces with other prisoners to steal keys and start the operation to release other inmates and cause chaos at the prison. During the riots, TVs were thrown and mirrors, windows and doors were smashed.

The trial is underway at Birmingham Crown Court and the jury is expected to make a decision once legal representatives have made their case.

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