Suspensions led to staff shortages

    Up to five staff at Feltham young offender institution were
    suspended “at any one time” for alleged assaults on inmates in the
    period preceding Zahid Mubarek’s death.

    Clive Welsh, governor of Feltham between 1997 and 1999, told the
    public inquiry into Mubarek’s death: “A top priority was to try and
    ensure that we have our full complement of staffÉthere were
    staff shortages due to some suspensionsÉusually for alleged
    assaults on inmates, including three staff awaiting trial.”

    Welsh also said the Prison Officers Association at Feltham
    “resented” the introduction of different diets to meet religious
    and cultural needs of inmates from ethnic minorities.

    Earlier, probation officer Joyce O’Mara, who met Stewart at Hindley
    young offender institution in Wigan on three different occasions
    between 1997 and 1999, said he was a “known racist”. Stewart killed
    Mubarek at Feltham in March 2000.

    In her statement O’Mara said: “Although there were no direct racist
    comments made in my company, it was known in the prison that he was

    It was also revealed at the inquiry that Stewart wrote a letter to
    a friend saying he could commit “the first murder of the
    millennium” just months before killing Mubarek.

    Meanwhile, former chair of the Prison Officers Association Andrew
    Darken was due to appear in court this week over allegations he
    threatened another member of the association outside its London
    offices last year.

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