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'Nobody gave a toss': Ex prisons boss, Sir Martin Narey, says no one cared about suicides


The former director general of the Prison Service, Sir Martin Narey, has spoken of his frustration in trying to make reforms to stop suicides in jails – claiming “nobody gave a toss”.

Sir Martin, who later became chief executive of the children’s charity Barnardo’s and is now the Government’s adoption adviser, told The Independent of his devastation at the death of 19-year-old Zahid Mubarek at the hands of his racist psychopath cellmate Robert Stewart in Feltham Prison in March 2000.

“It was a catastrophe,” said Sir Martin, who later offered his resignation over the murder and is widely respected for his time in charge. “It captured a little bit of what sort of a place Feltham was,” he added. “Do you know, 594 people killed themselves on my watch; 19 of them were children. And nobody gave a toss.”

Sir Martin said the Prison Officers Association “resisted any balance in terms of making things better for the young people” there. But the body’s former chairman, Andy Darken, said Sir Martin was “entirely wrong”.

An inquiry later found 189 failings had led to the death of Mr Mubarek, leading to 88 recommendations – of which 77 have been implemented.