A ‘red mist’ descended over an inmate at Ford Open Prison before he set fire to a building during a riot, a court has heard.
Lee Roberts, 41, said he was upset after being refused parole and at not seeing his family over Christmas when trouble broke out during the early hours of New Year’s Day 2011.
The violence at the prison lasted for more than 12 hours, during which time inmates smashed and set fire to buildings, causing some £5m of damage and putting people’s lives at risk.
Roberts, Thomas Reegan, 23, Ryan Martin, 25, Lenny Franklin, 23, Roche Allen, 25, and Carniel Francis, 25, all deny a charge of prison mutiny.
Five of the men have also pleaded not guilty to a charge of violent disorder. Reegan has pleaded guilty to the charge.
Roberts, Reegan, Martin, Franklin and Allen also deny a further charge of arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered.
Roberts has pleaded guilty to a simple charge of arson, although this is not accepted by the prosecution.
Roberts told the jury at Hove Trial Centre he ‘snapped and saw red’ shortly after midnight on January 1 last year, from building resentment about having to stay in prison.
He started by pulling large plant pots over before walking over to the induction room and smashing panes of glass with a fire extinguisher.
He said he then set fire to blinds in the post room but he had not been involved in any of the other rioting.
He said: “I do not know what was going through my mind. When I lose my temper it’s like there are no consequences. I call it red mist.”
The trial continues.