Leeds prison murder: inquest starts amid race claims

An inquest into the death of an Asian prisoner who was murdered by his cellmate at Leeds prison is due to begin today.
Peter McCann slashed Shahid Aziz’s throat in April 2004 because Aziz and an Asian cleaner were speaking together in a foreign language.
McCann pulled Aziz around the cell by his prayer beads and then struck him on the head with an object.
McCann, who is serving life for the murder, had a known history of carrying sharp objects and fighting with other prisoners when he was placed in a cell with Aziz.
Before the killing, Aziz had led other prisoners in complaining about racism in the jail. The inquest, at Leeds Coroner’s Court, will consider whether disputes between ethnic minority prisoners and staff were connected with his murder.
The inquest will also consider an incident between a prison officer and Aziz in March 2004 and look at whether a risk assessment for cell-sharing was put in place after the previous prison murders of Christopher Edwards and Zahid Mubarek
by their cellmates.
The case of Aziz has been compared to that of Mubarek, who was killed by his racist cellmate Robert Stewart at Feltham Young Offender Institution in 2000.
Parveen Mahmood, Shahid’s widow, said: “I hope that the many questions which I’ve had for over three years will finally be answered at the inquest – otherwise I will have been cheated of justice.”
Deborah Coles, co-director of campaign group Inquest, said: “The prison service must be properly scrutinised as to what lessons they learned after the brutal murder of Zahid Mubarek and whether individual and systematic failing contributed to Shahid Aziz’s death.”

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