Lewes Prison wing in ‘chaos’ during violent mutiny, court hears

The incident happened at HMP Lewes in 2016
The incident happened at HMP Lewes in 2016

Five prisoners smashed ‘anything and everything’ during a six-hour rebellion that left an entire prison wing unusable, prosecutors say.

C wing at Lewes Prison descended into ‘chaos’ with glass smashed, floors flooded and a pool table lifted up and thrown over the railings during a mutiny on October 29, 2016.

Lewes Prison can hold more than 600 inmates

Lewes Prison can hold more than 600 inmates

Five men appeared at Hove Crown Court today charged with taking part in prison mutiny, violent conduct and damaging the wing.

Prosecutor Kris Berlevy said two of the men – Ross Macpherson, 28, and Steven Goodwin, 29, of Fairlight Road in Hastings – started the mutiny, while David Carlin, 26, from Derby, John Udy, 38, of Leominster Road, Portsmouth, and Shane Simpson, 30, of Arundel Road, Totton, Southampton joined in after it started.

They all deny the charges.

Mr Burlevy told the court: “The defendants were originally out of their cells for morning recreation.

The atmosphere was becoming heated. The defendants became aggressive and volatile.

Kris Berlevy, prosecuting

“Prison staff instructed all prisoners to return to their respective cells. These five defendants refused.”

The court heard how Macpherson, lying on a pool table, threatened to hit a prison officer around the head with a pool cue he was holding.

Mr Burlevy said: “All of the defendants refused to cooperate or obey the officers’ requests.

“The atmosphere was becoming heated. The defendants became aggressive and volatile.

The prosecution say the incident left a wing of the prison unusable

The prosecution say the incident left a wing of the prison unusable

“Mr Simpson was waving his crutches around aggressively being very vocal in his objections to the prison staff and the prison regime.

“Macpherson told officers that he would gouge their eyes out with [the pool cue].

“Goodwin told that senior officer ‘unless you are going to unlock everyone don’t even bother speaking to us’.

“Macpherson started to smash the small glass viewing panels in each cell door with the pool cue.”

The trial took place at Hove Crown Court

The trial took place at Hove Crown Court

Things quickly escalated and prison officers began to fear for their safety, the jury heard.

The decision was taken to withdraw all staff from C wing, leaving the five defendants outside their cells, the court heard.

Mr Burlevy said: “The defendants proceeded to smash anything and everything that they could on three separate levels.

“Macpherson was seen going to a number of cell doors indicating other prisoners to flood their cells.

“One of the cells was flooded, causing water to flow into the lower levels.”

Goodwin was seen carrying a large metal object which he was swinging around, the jury heard, and used fire extinguisher to smash glass in the communal shower unit.

The prosecutor described what occurred as ‘chaos’.

After six hours specialist ‘Tornado Force’ officers entered the wing and restored control of the prison.

Five men were arrested.

The court heard that the defendants had ‘destroyed whatever they could’ and rendered the wing unusable.

The jury were shown a video taken shortly after order was restored, showing the full extent of the damage.

Macpherson, and Goodwin deny attempting to overthrow lawful authority at the prison.

Carlin, Udy and Simpson deny failing to submit to lawful authority while a prison mutiny was taking place.

All defendants deny charges of violent conduct and damaging property.

The trial continues.