The former director general of the Prison Service who headed the
organisation at the time of Zahid Mubarek’s death considered
resigning following the teenager’s murder, an inquiry heard
today, writes Maria Ahmed at the
In a statement to the inquiry into Mubarek’s death, Martin
Narey said he had discussed his resignation with the then home
secretary Jack Straw, but decided afterwards to remain in post
following Straw’s encouragement.
The chief executive of the national offender management service
also told the inquiry he had received a death threat and personal
hate mail following his attempts to prioritise race relations
training within the Prison Service.
He said that the Prison Service had failed to convince staff
that race relations should be a priority because he had come across
two prison governors who were hostile to the idea of training.
Under his leadership, the Prison Service became the first
organisation to ban BNP membership.
Mubarek, 19, was battered to death by his cellmate Robert
Stewart then also 19, at Feltham Young Offender Institution in
Narey also told the inquiry that another death like
Mubarek’s could happen again if overcrowding in prisons was
He also criticised the “gross” conditions caused by
Narey admitted cell-sharing risk assessments of prisoners
introduced after the killing were “not fool-proof”.
He also told the inquiry that the “exceptional and
horrifying” attack had been preventable, but said there was
“no guarantee” that a similar incident could not happen
He blamed “harsh” sentencing policies for the rise
in the prison population, including the growing use of custodies
for “relatively minor” offences.
Narey told the inquiry: “Unless we get a more balanced
approach to sentencing, this problem will remain.”
The inquiry continues.