The governor of Feltham Young Offender Institution at the time
of Zahid Mubarek’s death “broke down” following
the murder, an inquiry heard today, writes Maria
Martin Narey, former director general of the Prison Service,
said he had to remove Niall Clifford, then governor of Feltham,
from the jail after Mubarek was killed by his cellmate Robert
Stewart in March 2000.
Narey told the public inquiry into Mubarek’s death:
“I saw Niall on the day of the attack on Zahid and then a few
days after Zahid’s death…Niall broke down with me in
his office and I was extremely concerned that if we left him there
we would have damaged him.”
Narey said he made the decision to remove Clifford from Feltham
“earlier than he would have liked,” because he was
worried about the effect of Mubarek’s death.
He told the inquiry: “Niall is a very robust, pretty tough
character but the effect of having a young boy die and the emerging
feeling that he might have been able to stop it had a very, very
damaging effect on him, and I think it has to this day.”
Clifford left Feltham in April 2000 and Narey appointed William
Payne as his successor, the inquiry heard.
Narey, now the chief executive of the National Offender
Management Service, also told the inquiry that the then chair of
the Prison Officer’s Association at Feltham was
“unsympathetic” to making changes.
He said Andy Darken, who headed the Feltham POA, “was only
interested in his members’ interests”.
Narey told the inquiry: “One has to bear in mind that we
were there for the effective and decent treatment and care of young
people and I do not think he took that seriously and on a number of
occasions I felt he was unnecessarily obstructive.”
The inquiry continues.