Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Youth Jail Failures Left Racist Free to Murder Asian in Cell

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Youth Jail Failures Left Racist Free to Murder Asian in Cell

Article excerpt

Byline: LAURA SMITH;HUGH DOUGHERTY

A DAMNING report today reveals a series of failings which led to a young Asian prisoner being beaten to death by his white supremacist cell mate.

Zahid Mubarek was murdered by Ku Klux Klan sympathiser Robert Stewart in the cell they shared at Feltham Young Offenders Institution in a killing which drew comparisons to the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Today the Commission for Racial Equality published its official report into the murder three years ago. CRE chairman Trevor Phillips called it "a shocking catalogue of failure".

He added: "Zahid Mubarek died because of a combination of Robert Stewart's racism and failures by the Prison Service to provide him with appropriate protection. I am convinced that had Zahid been white, he would not have died."

The report revealed 20 specific instances of "failure by management systems", each of which cleared the way for the skinhead with a history of violence to share a cell with Mr Mubarek, 19, from Walthamstow, who was serving a three-month sentence for shoplifting.

Stewart, then 20, shared a cell with Mr Mubarek for six weeks. It was on the morning that the teenager was due to be released that the Nazi sympathiser bludgeoned him to death with a broken-off table leg.

After the killing Stewart, who had 19 convictions and a record of prison violence, wrote: "Mentally ill and out to kill, you don't think I want to, goddamit I will."

The failures identified by the report include: * A security file was not read which detailed Stewart's violent history and said: "Very dangerous individual. Be careful."

* No action was taken on letters in which Stewart said he wanted to kill his cell mate; told of his hero-worship of Adolf Hitler and the Stephen Lawrence killers and his wish to nail-bomb ethnic minority communities.

* The table leg Stewart used to bludgeon Mr Mubarek to death was never found because their cell was never searched.

* Crucial records of the events on the night of the murder have gone missing.

* Stewart, a diagnosed psychopath with a severe personality disorder, never saw a psychiatrist at Feltham. …

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