Convict smiled as he caused £36,000 damage to prison roof during six hour stand-off

Jonathon Smith - picture from West Midlands Police
Jonathon Smith – picture from West Midlands Police

*A case from Birmingham Crown Court featured in The Express & Star

A convict had ‘a smile on his face’ as he caused nearly £36,000 of damage to tiles and windows during a rooftop protest at G4S run Birmingham Prison.

Jonathon Smith scaled the roof of the library at the Winson Green unit sparking a six-and-half hour stand-off last November.

Birmingham Crown Court heard ‘jovial’ Smith, 22, tore up tiles, smashed skylights and chimneys during the protest over an adjourned parole hearing.

The thug, jailed for causing grievous bodily harm in October 2012, even threatened to start a fire with torn up wood.

Witnesses at the time described how he threw the torn up tiles from the roof onto the ground below.

He was only talked down after specialist officers from the National Tactical Response Group were called to the G4S prison.

Previously of Bilston, Smith, a dad-of-one, pleaded guilty to a single count of criminal damage.

Jailing him for three years, Judge Nicholas Cole said; “You caused extensive damage to the library roof for reason only you ultimately know.

“It seems you were dissatisfied because you thought you should be paroled earlier.

“You behaved in a childish and infantile manner, going on to the roof to protest about it.

“You cause damage, I am told, with a smile on your face.

“At one stage you threatened to have a barbecue, that was taken as a serious threat because you gathered wood together.

“It is an aggravating feature this offence was committed in prison, to prison property causing significant disruption.”

The court heard Smith had an extensive record which began when he was just 11 years old when he committed a robbery.

At the time of the protest he was serving a five year sentence for causing GBH in 2012 when he threw a brick into another man’s face.

Dean Kershaw, prosecuting, said; “He was moving from A Wing to the exercise yard.

“He was able to find a roof hatch, he made his way through the roof hatch and onto the roof.

“He started to remove slates and smashed a skylight.

“Officers described while he was committing the criminal damage he was jovial throughout and seemed to be enjoying the destruction.

“At one stage even other prisoners were trying to coax him down.

“This lasted six-and-a-half hours.

“A national team were deployed and it came to an end.”

The library was left inaccessible to inmates for several days as roof repairs took place.

Labour costs were high the court heard because workers had to be escorted by prison guards at all times.

It was estimated around 136 hours of work were needed to repair the damage caused by Smith.

Charles Crinion, defending, said Smith suffered a bi-polar type disorder as well as ADHD.

He said; “He was not abusive or threatening to staff or encouraging others to join in.

“It is likely it was an impulsive offence given he went out in November in t-shirt.”


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