London - An inmate serving 12 years for possession of a sawn-off shotgun and ammunition broadcasted a tour of his ‘comfortable’ cell to hundreds of viewers online.
Despite a prison ban on mobile phones, Yusuf Ademola spent nearly 20 minutes chatting to a blogger in a video call – which was broadcast live on social media site Instagram and watched by 700 of her followers.
Ademola, 27, who was jailed last year, showed off watches, jewellery, a Playstation, stacks of DVDs and a TV, as well as a haul of tobacco and foodstuffs.
He produced a certificate apparently naming him ‘HMP Pentonville Strong Man 2017’, then proudly displayed designer trainers and a well-stocked larder including ice cream, noodles and tinned fish.
During the chat with Aliyah Maria Bee, who has more than 112 000 followers on Instagram and more than 150 000 subscribers to her YouTube channel, Ademola boasted of his ‘comfortable’ lifestyle. ‘Of course I want to come out. Hey listen, I’m just trying to live comfortable,’ he said.
Ademola had a previous gun conviction, and when he was sentenced again in December the judge noted he had appeared in a music video showing him and other gang members making reference to firearms.
just a casual tuesday night instagram live with a couple prisoners, s/o my followers in pen 😂🤙🏾
(instagram: aliyahmariabee) pic.twitter.com/tqgOM02Nfd
Despite this, he says he is an ‘anti-gangs worker’ campaigning against violence in the north London prison.
In the video call, he and his cellmate urged youngsters not to follow their path of crime, with Ademola adding: ‘Every morning I get disturbed by an officer telling me to come down stairs and work.’ He warns viewers: ‘The best thing I can say to you is, don’t come to jail, number one. And number two, if you come, just be yourself.’
Ademola called his broadcast ‘HMP Cribs’, a reference to an MTV show in which music stars take a camera crew on a tour of their luxury homes.
Police arrested Ademola, of east London, last March after they recovered a sawn-off shotgun and two rounds of ammunition from a house.
Following a four-day trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court, he was found guilty of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life. At the time of the offence, Ademola was on licence from prison having served part of a five-year jail term for possession of a firearm.
He did not reveal his identity during the call but his sister confirmed it was him. ‘He hated living here and was happy to go to jail,’ she told The Daily Telegraph. ‘People in this country don’t have compassion of his situation.’
There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing on the part of Miss Bee, who did not know who would join her in the live chat. The video was uploaded to YouTube by another user in March.
More than 20 000 mobile phones and SIM cards were found in prisons in England and Wales in 2016 – double the number found in 2014.
A Prison Service spokesman said: ‘This behaviour is completely unacceptable and the content is being removed from social media. We are investing £2million to find and block mobile phones in prison and anyone who breaks prison rules can face extra time behind bars.’