Zahid Mubarek’s killer Robert Stewart was just one of an
“overwhelming” number of prisoners with mental illness who did not
receive psychiatric care, an inquiry heard this week.
Martin Narey, director general of the prison service at the time
of Mubarek’s death, said 90 per cent of inmates had “one or more”
forms of mental disorder in the period leading up to the
Stewart, then 19, killed his cellmate Mubarek, also 19, at
Feltham Young Offender Institution in March 2000.
Testifying at the public inquiry into Mubarek’s murder, Narey said:
“Robert Stewart’s behaviour before this catastrophe would not have
singled him out. The fact is, a number of people surrounding him
would have presented as just as dangerous or more dangerous.”
Narey highlighted that the number of prisoners coming into
custody who showed evidence of “profound or medium psychosis” had
risen seven-fold since the introduction of care in the
Bobby Cummines, adviser to the inquiry, asked: “If we looked at
our records today… how many people are there who would be
described, like Robert Stewart, as ‘a disaster waiting to happen’,
a ‘dangerous man’?”
Narey replied: “Thousands”.
Narey, now chief executive of the National Offender Management
Service, told the inquiry that
prison staff were “not remotely equipped” to deal with mental
illness at the time of Mubarek’s death.
He said that Feltham had been “starved of resources” during the
period leading up to the murder.
While the inquiry heard that “substantial” resources went into
the juvenile side of Feltham between 1999 and 2000, Narey said “no
such investment” was available for 18- to 21-year-old prisoners
like Stewart and Mubarek.
Narey told the inquiry it had not been possible to relieve
overcrowding of the 18 to 21 age group at that time as new
financial investment was still anticipated.
Narey also revealed he had considered resigning after Mubarek’s
murder, but stayed on with the encouragement of the then home
secretary, Jack Straw.