Inmates 'victims of gladiator games'

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The Independent Online

Claims that prison officers at Britain's largest young offenders' institution played "gladiator" games with young inmates are to be investigated by an inquiry into the death of an Asian prisoner.

Warders allegedly placed black and white youths into cells together and then bet on how long it would take them to start a fight. Zahid Mubarek, 19, was beaten to death by his psychopathic cellmate, Robert Stewart, on the day he was to be released after serving a short sentence for theft.

Despite warnings on his file that he was dangerous and had written racist correspondence, Stewart - who had "RIP" tattooed on his forehead - was placed in a cell at Feltham young offenders' institution with Mr Mubarek.

On 21 March 2000, he took a table leg and repeatedly attacked the teenager, who died seven days later. Stewart is currently serving life for murder.

This week, the inquiry into Mr Mubarek's death heard that three members of Prison Officers' Association were to be called to investigate the "gladiator" allegations.

Mr Justice Keith, inquiry chairman, announced that Nigel Herring, chairman of the Feltham branch, Duncan Keys, assistant secretary and Tom Robson, national executive committee member, were to give evidence in early March. There is no suggestion any of the men were involved in the alleged contests, only that they may be able to shed light on the claims that have been made so far.