‘Gladiator game’ charge denied

    Allegations that Zahid Mubarek was placed in a cell with his
    killer Robert Stewart as part of a gladiator-style game were
    dismissed as a “malicious” smear campaign last week.

    Prison Officers’ Association branch chair at Feltham Nigel
    Herring, who allegedly instigated the practice, told the inquiry
    into Mubarek’s death the allegations were “a fairy tale”.

    Herring said “rumours” of the game had surfaced during a period
    of “bad feeling” between the Feltham POA and the POA National
    Executive Committee last year.

    He described the allegations as “a malicious act to cause
    trouble”.

    Herring’s denial came after Duncan Keys, the assistant general
    secretary of the POA, named Herring on the basis of information he
    had allegedly received from an NEC member.

    The inquiry heard that Keys anonymously telephoned the
    Commission for Racial Equality in May 2004 saying Mubarek was
    placed in a cell with a known racist “for other people’s perverted
    pleasure”.

    But the Metropolitan Police found no evidence to back up the
    allegations following an investigation last year, and Keys admitted
    he had no direct proof.

    In his statement given to the police investigation, Herring
    said: “I think it was… an attempt to attack me or this branch
    [Feltham POA].”

    No more witnesses are expected to be called on the gladiator
    game allegations.

    The inquiry continues.

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