• Monday, December 11, 2023


Racist who killed teenage cellmate set for release on licence

Robert Stewart was sentenced to life after fatally hitting Zahid Mubarek with a table leg in 2000

Representational image (iStock)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

A PSYCHOPATHIC racist who has been serving life imprisonment for bludgeoning a British Pakistani teenager to death is set for early release from prison on licence.

Robert Stewart showed an inclination to reform and “live a pro-social life,’ a Parole Board panel report seen by MailOnline said.

In March 2000, Stewart hit Zahid Mubarek, 19, with a table leg in a cell they shared at the Feltham Young Offenders’ Institution in London. Mubarek, whose grandparents had migrated from Pakistan, died in hospital a week later.

At the time of the attack, Mubarek had been just hours from release, having served a three-month sentence for a shoplifting offence.

After hitting Mubarek, Stewart scratched a swastika on the cell wall along with a celebratory message saying he had “just killed” his cellmate.

Stewart, a repeat offender who was diagnosed as a psychopath during his trial, was jailed for life a year after the killing.

A three-member panel of the Parole Board recommended in its report that Stewart be freed on licence, saying the offender, now aged 43, demonstrated a “motivation to move away from his previous behaviours and live a pro-social life”.

The report, coming weeks after his third parole hearing last month, said he had “undertaken accredited programmes to address his use of violence and to learn about and develop victim empathy.”

Stewart’s release plan, provided by his probation officer, included a requirement to reside in designated accommodation as well as strict limitations on his contacts and activities.

The panel said it examined the plan and “weighed its proposals against assessed risk”.

A Parole Board spokesperson confirmed the panel’s direction to release Stewart following an “oral hearing”.

The board’s decisions were focused “solely” on the risk a prisoner could pose to the public if released and “whether the risk is manageable in the community”, the spokesman said.

The recommendation for parole came about a year after the board declined to release him saying he was still considered a danger to the public.

In 2006, a judicial inquiry led by Justice Sir Brian Richard Keith blamed prison officials for Mubarek’s murder.

He pointed out “systematic” failures which allowed Stewart to attack Mubarek and recommended the introduction of a new concept of “institutional religious intolerance” to help combat prejudice against Muslim inmates.

The Home Office accepted 55 out of 88 recommendations made by Justice Keith.

Eastern Eye

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