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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 February, 2005, 13:46 GMT
Experts doubt race killing motive
Robert Stewart
Robert Stewart: Serving a life sentence for the killing
Two top psychiatrists have said the murder of an Asian inmate by his cellmate was not racially motivated.

The experts told the Zahid Mubarek Inquiry that the teenager's March 2000 death happened because killer Robert Stewart was a psychopath.

The conclusions of Professors John Gunn and Anthony Maden contradict findings in a report for the Commission for Racial Equality.

Its own report concluded Zahid would not have died had he been white.

Robert Stewart, now 24, attacked Zahid Mubarek hours before his cellmate's planned release from Feltham Young Offenders' Institution in west London.

Now serving a life sentence for the murder, he has since been identified as a psychopath. Before the attack, wardens intercepted a racist letter he tried to send from jail.

Experts commissioned

The inquiry, chaired by Mr Justice Keith, commissioned Prof Gunn, of the Institute of Psychiatry, to review the Prison Service's handling of Stewart. Prof Maden, professor of Psychiatry at Imperial College, London, was separately commissioned to do the same work for the Prison Service itself.

Stewart complains bitterly [after the murder] of the injustice of a false allegation of racism, ignoring the fact that he has just killed someone in cold blood - there is no better example of psychopathic reasoning
Professor Anthony Maden
In his statement, Prof Gunn told the inquiry: "There are many areas of agreement between Prof Maden and myself.

"Each of us believes that Robert Stewart killed Zahid Mubarek impulsively in an abnormal state of mind. Neither of us believes that the killing was premeditated or racist."

He said both experts believed Stewart should have been psychiatrically assessed three years before the killing after wardens at a previous jail raised concerns about the inmate's behaviour.

A missed opportunity to act included a court's failure to order a psychiatric assessment of Stewart after he and a friend were convicted of setting fire to their own cell in 1998.

In his evidence to the inquiry, Zahid's father, Amin, said his son had wanted a cell transfer and that family members got the impression the teenager thought Stewart was a racist.

'Moment of shame'

This tallied with the Commission of Racial Equality's report.

Zahid Mubarek
Zahid Mubarek: Died later from massive injuries
"I am convinced that had Zahid been white, he would not have died," said CRE chair Trevor Phillips in 2003, adding the murder was a "moment of shame" for the Prison Service.

But in his statement, Prof Maden said that psychopathy was "very important" in Stewart's decision to attack Zahid Mubarek.

"The killing would not have happened if Stewart had not been a psychopath," he said.

"Murder is such a terrible crime that we expect it to flow from strong feelings or other powerful reasons but the motivation of a psychopath may be trivial, unknown or impossible to understand.

"Stewart's letter after the event illustrates this point. He complains bitterly of the injustice of a false allegation of racism, ignoring the fact that he has just killed someone in cold blood. There is no better example of psychopathic reasoning.

"I do not believe the victim's ethnic origin was very important," he said. "I would say that, if all other circumstances had been the same, the outcome may well have been the same if the sleeping cellmate had been of the same ethnic origin as Stewart."

The inquiry continues.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Zahid Mubarek's family give their views on the inquiry



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