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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