Coldingley Prison death: Inmate arrested on suspicion of murder after fatal stabbing

Madala Washington, 25 was pronounced dead an hour after the stabbing

Samuel Osborne
Friday 01 April 2016 17:16
The visitor's centre at HMP Coldingley, Woking, Surrey
The visitor's centre at HMP Coldingley, Woking, Surrey

A prisoner has been arrested after a fellow inmate was stabbed to death at a prison in Surrey.

Madala Washington, 25, died after being attacked at Coldingley Prison, near Woking, at around 1pm on Friday.

Surrey Police said he had been the victim of a “serious assault” at the prison, which houses around 500 inmates, and detectives have launched a murder investigation.

A spokesman said: “A 25-year-old man, believed to be from south-west London, was sadly declared dead at the scene.

“A 23-year-old man, who is also an inmate at the prison, has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody while the investigation continues.

“Officers from the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team are making a number of enquiries to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident and are working with HM Prison Service and the Ministry of Justice.”

Steven Gillian, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association, told Sky News: "We do not comment on ongoing police investigation, but generally there has been an increase in violence, and indeed homicides, in our prisons.

"It is tragic that someone has lost their life."

The category C prison holds 500 inmates, who are not trusted in open conditions but are considered unlikely to make a determined escape.

It has capacity for around 500 prisoners in five wings, where inmates are mainly housed in single cells, and is focused on the “resettlement of prisoners”.

The death comes against a backdrop of concerns about rising cases of violence in UK prisons.

There were 257 deaths in custody last year including eight homicides, more than in any other year since records started in 1978.

In 2015 Coldingley's independent monitoring board wrote to prisons minister Andrew Selous over its concerns about the jail.

Its report blamed an increase in home-made weapons at the prison and illegal drugs on cuts to the number of prison officers and staff.

Steve Gillan, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association, said: “We do not comment on ongoing police investigations, but generally there has been an increase in violence, and indeed homicides, in our prisons.

“We believe that is due to the lack of prison officers - some 7,000 have been made redundant since 2010.

“Our prisons are a more violent place than they have been. It is tragic that someone has lost their life.”

Additional reporting by PA