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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 April 2007, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Cell killer was deemed 'low risk'
Shahid Aziz
Shahid Aziz died at the hands of a violent cellmate
A prisoner who cut his cell-mate's throat was believed to be "low-risk" for cell-sharing despite a history of violence and knives, an inquest heard.

Shahid Aziz, 30, was on remand at Armley prison when he was killed by his cell-mate Peter McCann in April 2004.

McCann, 28, slashed Mr Aziz' throat with a makeshift knife, Leeds Coroner's Court has heard.

The killer was not deemed a threat, but had lied about previous convictions and no checks were carried out.

The men, who had not previously known each other, were put in the same cell on the morning of 2 April.

At midday, minutes after they were locked up, Mr Aziz was found unconscious on the floor of the cell.

On the second day of the proceedings, Det Insp Scott Wood, from West Yorkshire Police's criminal investigation department told the jury: "McCann was regarded as low risk both to himself and in regards to cell-sharing."

McCann had also told staff at the jail he did not object to sharing a cell.

He also claimed to have no previous convictions for assault - but this information was not verified.

Det Insp Wood told the coroner David Hinchliff that McCann had two previous convictions for assault, including one at a young offenders institute where he hit another inmate over the head with a mallet.

Three weeks before the murder McCann had been arrested for shoplifting and was seen disposing of a knife.

He was sent to a bail hostel in Leeds, but a probation officer saw him hiding a sharpened knife and he was moved to the prison for breaching bail conditions.

A probation officer phoned the jail to tell them McCann could pose a risk.

That type of information was common and not regarded as high priority, the inquest heard.

Another inmate said McCann constantly stared at him in their shared cell and wanted to get behind him.

McCann admitted the murder. He was jailed for life at Bradford Crown Court in July 2004 and told he must serve at least 12 years before he is considered for release.

West Yorkshire Coroner David Hinchliff said the inquest, which is expected to last five weeks, will look into concerns raised by Mr Aziz's family.




SEE ALSO
Family fears are focus of inquest
16 Apr 07 |  West Yorkshire
Man is arrested over jail death
02 Apr 04 |  West Yorkshire

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