Inquiry into death of Zahid Mubarek finds witnesses failing to co-operate

Two key witnesses have failed to co-operate with the public inquiry
into the murder of Asian young offender Zahid Mubarek by his racist
cellmate, the inquiry heard last week.

James Farrell, a manager at Altcourse prison, and Geoff Humphrey,
head of health care at Feltham at the time of Mubarek’s death, have
so far failed to provide a “full account” of their actions, counsel
for the inquiry Nigel Giffin QC said.

The inquiry is examining the events leading up to the murder of
Mubarek, 19, at Feltham young offender institution in March 2000 by
Robert Stewart, then also 19.

Altcourse was one of the establishments where Stewart was held
before the murder. Farrell met Stewart there in November 1999,
where he regarded him as “out of the ordinary” and asked a nurse to
speak to him, Giffin told the inquiry.

Chris Kinealy, a registered mental health nurse, told Farrell that
Stewart was a “psychopath” with a long-standing personality
disorder, but “recommended no further action”, the inquiry

Giffin said Farrell needed to explain a “surprising failure” to act
on the medical assessment.

He told the inquiry: “This is an important episode in the history,
and I suggest that Mr Farrell owes it to Zahid’s family to provide
a full account of what happened.”

Giffin also said the evidence suggested Stewart was not seen by
health care staff on his arrival at Feltham prior to the

Files, including Kinealy’s note, may not have been read by staff,
who noted Stewart appeared “fit and well”.

Giffin said that while Humphrey had provided a short witness
statement dealing with some general issues, he had failed to answer
“detailed” questions.

As Community Care went to press, an inquiry spokesperson said
contact had been established with Humphrey, but Farrell was still
not co-operating.

The inquiry was established without statutory powers of compulsion,
although inquiry chair Mr Justice Keith said he would seek powers
from the home secretary “if it proved necessary to do so”.

The inquiry will last until March.

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