Family condemns Prison Service over racist killing

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The Independent Online

An Asian family has launched a scathing attack on the Prison Service as the inquiry into the murder of their son by a racist cellmate drew to a close.

An Asian family has launched a scathing attack on the Prison Service as the inquiry into the murder of their son by a racist cellmate drew to a close.

Officials had shown little more remorse than the psychopath who killed Zahid Mubarek and should be ashamed, the Mubareks' legal team told the chairman of the inquiry, Mr Justice Keith.

Mr Mubarek, 19, was battered to death by Robert Stewart on the day he was due to be released from Feltham young offenders' institution in west London after serving a short sentence for theft.

Dexter Dias, for the Mubarek family, said: "The Prison Service's moral blameworthiness arises from the fact that Stewart's behaviour had set off alarm bells about his mental disorder and his dangerousness ­ and these warning signs were ignored. Their responsibility flows from the fact that they quite unnecessarily exposed Zahid to these obvious risks. And for that the Prison Service should be ashamed."

The four-month inquiry into the death has examined how Mr Mubarek came to be placed in a cell with a man who had a string of convictions, had displayed racist and violent tendencies and been diagnosed as suffering from a psychopathic personality disorder. The inquiry has heard that Feltham had many problems, including institutional racism, at the time.

Mr Mubarek's family has sat through evidence from 60 witnesses. But, their barrister said yesterday, they had been greatly distressed by the Prison Service's stance that their son's murder was random and could not have been predicted.

Yesterday, the inquiry heard that two weeks before Mr Mubarek was killed, two officers had access to a file warning that Stewart, 19, was a dangerous racist.