Page last updated at 14:47 GMT, Monday, 16 June 2008 15:47 UK

Stabbing prison deemed 'unsafe'

Rye Hill Prison
The jury heard the jail had been inspected at the time of the stabbing

Inspectors had described a jail where a prisoner was stabbed to death by fellow inmates as "unsafe", an inquest heard.

Wayne Reid, 44, from Birmingham, was killed at HMP Rye Hill, in Willoughby, on the borders of Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, in April 2005.

Bisharat Chaudry, of Slough, Berkshire, and Ibrahim Musone, of Cricklewood, London, were convicted of his murder.

Reid's inquest at Rushden and Diamonds Football Club, Northamptonshire, is expected to last two weeks.

Deedar Syed, 26, of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, was also jailed alongside Reid's killers in April 2006 for disposing of a blood-stained jacket.

The hearing, in Irthlingborough, was told inspectors visited the prison around the time of the prisoner's death on 13 April 2005, which happened only days before he was due to be released.

'Unsafe and unstable'

Tom Osbourne, assistant deputy coroner for Northamptonshire, said the report said: "The prison had deteriorated to the extent that we considered that it was at that time an unsafe and unstable environment both for prisoners and staff."

Prison custody officer Ronald Lewis, who still works at Rye Hill, was asked by Mr Osbourne if he had ever felt unsafe there.

He said that it could be "interpreted in that way" because on Reid's wing there were only two officers for 70 prisoners.

Rye Hill is a category B prison run by private security company GSL.

Mr Osborne told the jury Reid, who came from the Handsworth area of Birmingham, had been seen arguing with fellow inmate Musone several times previously.

'Stay with us'

Prison officer Mr Lewis told the inquest that on the day of the stabbing he had come out of the office to see Reid clutching his chest.

He said he could not explain why he had called a 'Code 2' instead of a 'Code 1', which was normally used when someone is injured seriously, to inform his fellow officers of the incident.

He said it was the "shock of what happened" which meant he also momentarily left Reid to let another inmate onto the wing.

However, Mr Lewis said he then returned and held Reid's hand and told him to "stay with us".

Mr Reid's mother Joan Winstanley and sister Correna Platt were both at the inquest.

The inquest continues.

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