Submission rejects ‘cell game’ charge

New evidence submitted to the inquiry into the murder of young offender Zahid Mubarek has reignited a dispute between prison officers over the circumstances that led to his death in Feltham Young Offender Institution.

Nigel Herring, chair of the Prison Officers Association’s branch at Feltham, has again denied claims that Mubarek was deliberately placed with his racist killer, Robert Stewart, as part of a “Gladiator” game.

He has accused his association’s national executive committee of circulating the “rumours” despite a lack of evidence.

Duncan Keys, assistant general secretary of the POA, had told the inquiry that Mubarek was killed as a result of the game that involved pitting inmates against each other. He named Herring as the instigator and claimed he had “laughed” about the alleged practice.

But, in an unpublished letter given to the inquiry (news, 17 November) and seen by Community Care this week, Herring has again hit back at the claims.

In his new submission, sent earlier this month, Herring said: “There is not one single person at Feltham or anywhere else who has ever heard me do such a thing.”

Herring’s evidence was sent to Zahid Mubarek’s family, the prison service and the POA for their consideration.

Mubarek, aged 19, was murdered in 2000. The inquiry, which has now closed, is due to report to home secretary Charles Clarke next year.

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