Tapes sent anonymously
Interview tapes that could hold “valuable” new
information on the murder of young offender Zahid Mubarek have been
given to the public inquiry into his death, it has emerged,
writes Maria Ahmed.
Tapes that allegedly went missing during the Commission for
Racial Equality’s investigation between 2000 and 2003 were
passed on to the inquiry this week by the office of Imran Khan,
solicitor to the Mubarek family.
Under the law, the inquiry cannot listen to the tapes without
permission from the witnesses interviewed, so the tapes have been
returned to the CRE for verification.
It is believed the 53 tapes were sent anonymously.
The inquiry is in the final stages of examining how Mubarek, 19,
came to be murdered by his racist cellmate Robert Stewart, then
also 19, at Feltham Young Offender Institution in 2000.
At the time of the CRE investigation, it was alleged the
publication of the CRE’s final report in 2003 was delayed
because around 60 interview tapes had gone missing before
transcripts of evidence could be made.
It was believed the interviews had to be reconstructed using
notes taken at the time.
The CRE refused to comment on the allegations.
|Stewart who killed
Today Suresh Grover, a spokesperson for the Mubarek family, told
Community Care that the family “no longer had
confidence” in the CRE, and said they wanted the tape
transcripts to be aired in the public inquiry.
He said: “The emergence of the tapes raises central
questions regarding the competence of the CRE investigation. What
was their report based on if it was not based on proper
“I would not be surprised if there was other material. The
CRE needs to tell us if they have more tapes and documentation in
Earlier this year, the inquiry heard how the CRE had
“refused” to give information on what had happened to
the tapes during its investigation.
Patrick O’Connor, counsel for the Mubarek family, told the
inquiry: “It is a matter of concern that the CRE was not open
about what had happened, even though we had an obvious need to
Lucy Bogue, former chair of the Independent Monitoring Board at
Feltham YOI, told the inquiry that the CRE said the transcript of
her interview “had been lost” and the interview tapes
“accidentally recorded over”.
|Chair of the inquiry Mr
Michael Cowan, former head of operations at Feltham at the time
of Mubarek’s murder, said he had never received a copy of his
interview tape, despite requesting it.
Steve Martindale, former senior Feltham officer, told the
inquiry he was concerned about “mistakes” in the
CRE’s draft report when it was first shown to him. “It
appeared that they had taken passages from my various
interviews…and then quoted or referred to them out of
The CRE said they could not confirm as yet whether the tapes
were genuine, but said they had asked police to investigate the
“disappearance” of the tapes.
A spokesperson said: “No one should doubt the
determination of the Commission for Racial Equality to uncover the
truth about the murder of Zahid Mubarek.
“We want to continue to help the inquiry as much as we
can, and if the law allows, we are happy to pass the transcripts of
the tapes to the inquiry.”
A spokesperson for the Zahid Mubarek inquiry said: “The
inquiry takes this matter very seriously and recognises that the
tapes might contain previously undisclosed information of value to
the inquiry’s work.
“If we find out that these tapes do indeed contain new
information relating to our investigation we will ask the CRE to
approach the informants without delay, to request their consent for
us to listen to the interviews.
“If the informants were to refuse such a request we would
then assess what legal action is open to us to enforce full
disclosure of their content.”
See previous Community Care report on the CRE
investigation – witnesses line up to cast doubt on race
body’s handling of inquiry: