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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 October, 2004, 18:13 GMT 19:13 UK
Krishna Maharaj's death row diary
Krishna Maharaj
Maharaj rarely leaves his cell because he is too scared to mix with other inmates
Former UK millionaire Krishna Maharaj has served 18 years in a Florida jail - 15 of those on death row - for a double murder he denies committing.

But a Newsnight investigation has unearthed new evidence that suggests he suffered a miscarriage of justice.

Click here to read his account of a typical day on death row

For the last 18 years home for sometime British millionaire Krishna Maharaj has been a 6ft by 9ft cell in Florida's Union Correctional Institution.

Maharaj was born on 26 January, 1939 in Trinidad when it was still subject to British rule, making him a British citizen.

I went from living like a prince, to existing like an animal on a day to day basis. This is the closest thing to hell
Krishna Maharaj
He moved to England in 1960, where he began earning a living by driving a van.

But with a keen eye for business, he started his own company importing fruit - a business which became immensely successful, making him a millionaire.

He is described by his first English bank manager as: "One of the finest businessmen this country has ever seen."

Mr Maharaj lived with his wife Marita in Peckham, south London.

Rolls Royces

At the height of his wealth in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Krishna had a soft spot for Rolls Royces - never owning fewer than four of the luxury cars at a time.

Krishna Maharaj's true passion was horse racing, he was a popular figure on the racing circuit.

It' s shower day, one of three I'm allowed a week, I am handcuffed and taken for an eight-minute shower by two guards
Krishna Maharaj
With more than a hundred horses to his name, he became the second biggest racehorse owner in Britain.

The 65-year-old businessman from London was convicted for the 1986 murder of a Jamaican father and son in a hotel room in Miami, Florida.

Mr Maharaj told Newsnight: "I went from living like a prince to existing like an animal on a day to day basis. This is the closest thing to hell."

He is also unable to leave his cell for exercise or fresh air because, he told the programme, he's too scared to mix with the other inmates.


Awake, brush my teeth, use the toilet, have a sink bath, then make a cup of coffee and wait for breakfast.


Guard passes breakfast through the feeding hole on a plastic tray. Scrambled eggs, grits, two slices of bread, two slabs butter, two packets jelly and half a pint of milk. The eggs are made from powder.


Take my medications, listen to the news, and kneel down to say my prayers.


Start walking up and down my cell, from the back wall to the bars at the front. Some days are faster than others, according to the level of pain in my spine, which I injured falling in the shower.


After walking, I then do 30 minutes of leg raises lying on my back on the bed - to try and keep the strength in my right leg.


Take a sink bath and clean the cell, then read until lunch.


Lunch served on a plastic tray. Shredded cold turkey, baked beans, two slices of bread, fruit cocktail. I eat lunch and listen to the news.


Start walking for two hours.


Have a sink bath. There is no air conditioning. It's extremely hot - over 100 degrees.


Dinner served on a plastic tray. Hamburger casserole, green beans, squash, two slices of bread, canned pear slices.

I am reliably informed that the cost of all three meals per day per prisoner is less than $1.50. Our animals in England are fed better.


Listen to the local news, then the world news.


Shower day; one of three I'm allowed a week. I am handcuffed and taken for an eight-minute shower by two guards, and then handcuffed and brought back to my cell.


Read the mail I've received and write some letters.


Guards come to collect the letters I've written.


Brush my teeth, say my prayers and go to bed.

The only time I leave this cell is either for a shower on shower days, to see the doctor, my attorneys whenever they call or my wife on her regular visits.

With these exceptions, I am in this cell 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Newsnight's investigation into Krishna Maharaj's conviction will be broadcast in two parts on Wednesday, 13 October and Thursday, 14 October, 2004.

Newsnight is broadcast on BBC Two at 10.30pm every weeknight in the UK.



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