Family Tell of Grief
The family of a Birmingham prisoner who had predicted his death in a letter to jail bosses have spoken of their grief after an official report concluded that more could have been done to save him.
22-year-old Adnan Rafiq died from his injuries after he was beaten by a fellow inmate the HMP Hewell in 2013.
The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has found that staff on patrol on the jail should have done more to protect him, especially after a previous attack. Adnan page added: “Inshallah justice will be done!!!” Mr Rafiq, who was from Moseley, had suffered multiple skull fractures when he was punched, kicked and had his head stamped on. He died three days later in hospital.
Barry Mundle was later convicted of his murder and jailed for 23 years. The attack had followed an argument about an alleged theft from a cell five days earlier.
In the letter, Adnan wrote, “I was supposed to have been [transferred] to Birmingham due to conflict [at] Hewell. I have told officers several times that my life is in danger [here] due to me having trouble with Coventry prisoners that are all over this jail but nothing seems to be getting done.
“I was assaulted yesterday [and] suffered a broken nose, broken cheek bone. I have told staff … because next time it could be … fatal.”
The letter was delivered four days before the fatal attack but was not opened because it had been marked ‘confidential’.
Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen wrote in the report, “The letter remained unopened for several days as the Head of Reducing Re-Offending was not on duty and was not due back in the prison until January 30.
“The man’s complaint should have been directed elsewhere or returned to the man. Hewell reviewed its complaints system after the man’s death.
“Misdirected confidential complaints such as his are now returned unopened to the sender with a note explaining the correct process.”
The prison had taken over two-and-a-half hours to inform police of the attack and three-and-a-half hours to inform the family.
His report said, “The man had been assaulted at the prison five days before he was fatally injured.
“Although there is little to connect the two incidents, more could have been done to investigate the circumstances and safeguard the man after that assault.
“It appears the subsequent fatal assault was a result of reprisals against the man, either because of his association with his cell mate or because his assailants suspected him of being involved in the cell thefts.
“While I do not consider the prison could have anticipated such an extreme violent reaction against the man, there appeared to have been little consideration the events that morning might have made him vulnerable to attack.
“It took too long to notify the police of this serious assault.
“The police were also concerned that important evidence was lost in the intervening period before they were called.
“I am also concerned that, in the aftermath of such a violent and tragic death, the man’s family did not believe they were treated appropriately by the prison.
“It is important prison managers deal with bereaved families in such circumstances with sensitivity and respect.”
A spokesperson as the Prison Service said, “We do not tolerate violence of any kind in prison.
“As with all inquests, we will review the findings carefully, and our thoughts remain with Adnan’s family and friends during what must be a very difficult time.”