POA branch chair at Feltham denies ‘Gladiator’ allegations

    The branch chair of the Prison Officers Association at Feltham
    Young Offender Institution has denied allegations that he
    instigated a Gladiator-style game that led to the death of Zahid
    Mubarek at an inquiry today, writes Maria

    Nigel Herring told the public inquiry into Mubarek’s death
    that he had never placed unsuitable prisoners into the same cell
    deliberately in the hope that violence would occur.

    He added: “Nor have I ever witnessed this practice by
    others either.”

    Herring said the allegations had arisen as a result of
    “very bad feelings” between the Feltham branch of the
    POA and the national executive committee.

    He said he had not heard of the allegations until May 2004 when
    he met with the national executive committee.

    In a witness statement to police concerning the
    ‘Gladiator’ allegations Herring made in September 2004,
    he said: “My gripe is not about where it [the allegations]
    came from because nobody seems to know, except the NEC seemed to
    have it first.”

    Herring told the inquiry he was angered by the NEC’s
    decision to go “running off to the press” and give the
    information to The Sun newspaper.

    Zahid Mubarek was murdered by Robert Stewart in the cell they
    shared at Feltham YOI in 2000.

    At the time of the murder, Herring was working at the
    residential unit Kestral at Feltham YOI.

    The inquiry continues.

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