Armed inmate at Doncaster prison sparked fracas to avoid notorious "Pitsmoor Shotta Boys" gang

An armed prisoner who barricaded himself into a cell with another inmate claimed he had wanted to get away from the notorious “Pitsmoor Shotta Boys” gang.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 9:30 am

Sheffield Crown Court heard on March 2 how Byron Dearnley, aged 37, had been a serving prisoner at HMP Moorlands, in Hatfield, Doncaster, when he armed himself with a shank and barricaded himself into a cell with another inmate.

Prosecuting barrister Elizabeth Noble’s statement revealed prison officers were aware Dearnley was not in his cell and after locking up all the inmates and carrying out a headcount they became concerned about another missing inmate.

Dearnley and the missing inmate were found locked in a cell with the observation hatch obscured, according to Ms Noble, and the defendant told officers not to come in or he would cut him.

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Pictured is HMP Moorland prison, at Hatfield, Doncaster, where an armed inmate claimed he caused a fracas to avoid notorious "Pitsmoor Shotta Boys" gang members.

Ms Noble’s statement, read out by Recorder David Kelly, stated: “The defendant was confrontational and said he was going to slice the other prisoner’s throat.”

Dearnley allowed a supervising officer to see through the hatch, according to Ms Noble, to make sure the other inmate was not harmed before the defendant said he wanted to go into segregation.

Dearnley who was found with a shank made out of plastic cutlery told officers he was sorry, according to Ms Noble, and claimed he had been telling them for months he could not be on the prison wing due to threats from the “Pitsmoor Shotta Boys”.

He admitted he had taken another inmate into the cell for about 30 to 45 minutes and he had made a shank out of a plastic cutlery knife and had felt it was his only option to get moved.

Dearnley, who has previous convictions and was not due for release until 2026, pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon and to affray after the incident on February 1, 2019.

Francis Edusei, defending, said: “He knew there was a gang, a street gang, who were in Moorland prison and he resisted going there because he knew they would try to get him to commit offences on their behalf which is what they tried to do.

"He made plain to officers time and time again his difficulties with the Pitsmoor gang and in frustration he decided to take matters into his own hands.”

Mr Edusei added Dearnley who had mental heath issues claimed he had no intention of harming the prisoner and the shank was blunt.

Dearnley has since moved to HMP Dovegate, in Utoxeter, and his behaviour has been good, according to Mr Edusei.

Recorder David Kelly acknowledged Dearnley was being pressured by a gang who were attempting to recruit him to commit offences which he did not want to be involved with and he had asked to be removed from the wing.

But he told Dearnley: “You followed that person into the cell and made them face the wall and barricaded yourself in. Prison officers noticed you were missing immediately and your captive was missing and immedately they tracked you down.”

Recorder Kelly sentenced Dearnley to 16 months of custody to be served consecutively to his existing sentence.

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