Child abuser found murdered in cell

A murderinquiry was opened yesterday after a severely mutilated prisoner was found dead in his cell.

Colin Bloomfield, 35, was found in the Vulnerable Prisoners Unit at Cardiff, nine days after starting a six-month sentence for child cruelty, the Prison Service disclosed. The unit is designed to protect prisoners who are at risk from other inmates.

Prison officers were called to the cell at 10pm on Sunday when Mr Bloomfield's cell-mate raised the alarm. Staff found Mr Bloomfield lying on the bed with severe facial and abdominal injuries. It is understood that an eye and his liver had been removed.

Mr Bloomfield, from Newport, South Wales, was pronounced dead by prison medical staff at 10.32pm.

His cell-mate, - a 28-year-old man who was serving a five-year sentence for assault, robbery and breach of a probation order - was arrested.

Mr Bloomfield is the 23rd prisoner to die in England and Wales this year, after a record 91 deaths in jails in 1999.

His death came as the head of the Prison Service apologised to the family of an Asian teenager who died last week after a suspected racial attack in his cell in Feltham Young Offenders' Institution, west London. Zahid Mubarek died the day before he was due to be released. A 19-year-old man has been charged with his murder.

At an inquest last week, police said the attack on Mr Mubarek on 21 March was almost certainly "racially aggravated". Mr Mubarek, of Walthamstow, east London, who was serving three months for being equipped to steal, died in hospital on 28 March.

Mr Mubarek's father, Amin, last week went to Scotland Yard where he was told that Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Grieve, the head of the racial and violent crime task force, would control the investigation.

Suresh Grover, of the National Civil Rights Movement, has written to the Home Office calling for an independent inquiry into Mr Mubarek's death. Mr Grover said: "This murder will send shockwaves in every place where we have black and Asian people kept in prison."

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