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Prison death inquiry 'fair'.

Byline: BY DEBORAH JAMES Daily Post Staff

THE Liverpool solicitor who represented prison officers in the inquiry into the racist murder of an Asian teenager by his cellmate last night said he thought the findings that his death could have been prevented were "fair"

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

Naming 19 individuals and 186 failings yesterday, a major inquiry into the death found psychopathic killer Robert Stewart should have been identified as a risk.

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.

He said Stewart, who spent a month in Altcourse in Liverpool in 1999, "should have stood out" two years before he attacked Mr Mubarek.

Liverpool solicitor Anthony Marriot, senior partner in union law at Merseyside firm Lees Lloyd Whitley, represented 38 prison officers in the investigation out of a total 143 witnesses.

Twenty-one of those were called to give verbal evidence, and some were among those named as having failed Mr Mubarek, by the inquiry.

Mr Marriot said: "I think the findings are fair, overall the problems we found were of overcrowding and low staffing levels in the prisons.

"The problem of information not being passed on about Stewart was also a major issue that needs to be addressed."

He said: "For some of the individuals identified in the report, some of them accept they could have done better. But they feel they were working in a chaotic prison system.

"While with hindsight they realise things could have been done differently, they believe they were working in an impossible situation."

The report said clues had been continually missed as prisoners or officers failed to take them seriously enough.

Some people accept they could have done better
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 30, 2006
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