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Old June 29th, 2006, 05:44 PM  
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Default Racist prison murder 'avoidable'

'The murder of Asian prisoner Zahid Mubarek by a racist cellmate could have been prevented, an inquiry has ruled.
Naming 19 individuals and 186 failings, Mr Justice Keith's inquiry found psychopathic killer Robert Stewart should have been identified as a risk.

Mr Mubarek died in 2000 after being beaten with a table leg in his cell at Feltham Young Offenders' Institution.

Home Office minister Baroness Scotland has written to his family to apologise for his death, their lawyers said.

Family barrister Patrick O'Connor earlier said: "This report is a devastating indictment of our whole prison system."

Inquiry chairman Mr Justice Keith said politicians must fund jails properly or cut prisoner numbers.

In his 700-page report, the judge called for the Home Office to consider whether it should recognise a new concept of "institutional religious intolerance".

He said improper attitudes towards ethnic minority prisoners, particularly Muslims, was a contributory factor to the tragedy.

However, Mr Justice Keith said Stewart "should have stood out" two years before he attacked Mr Mubarek.

Missed opportunities

The report said clues had been scattered around the jail system that were continually missed as prisons or individual officers either failed to recognise their importance or did not take them seriously enough.

Despite a record for violence and racism and recorded concern that he was a mental health risk, Stewart was placed in the same cell as Mr Mubarek in early 2000 at Feltham Young Offenders Institution.

It had been the only bed available as the jail struggled with huge numbers of prisoners, demoralised staff and pressure from inspectors to improve its performance.

Had there been effective management from the governor down, and within the wider prison system, the death could have been prevented.

Originally Posted by Ripplemagne
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