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Pentonville prison murder trial: Trio not guilty

Jamal Mahmoud was fatally stabbed on G wing in October 2016

05 December, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

THREE men accused of killing a fellow inmate in Pentonville prison have been cleared of murder.

Jamal Mahmoud, 21, was fatally stabbed in the Caledonian Road jail on October 18 last year, allegedly over a row over control over the supply of drugs into the prison.

Today (Tuesday) at the Old Bailey, Basana Kimbembi, Robert Butler and Joshua Ratner were found not guilty of murder and manslaughter by a jury after a week-and-a-half of deliberations.

But Kimbembi was found guilty of unlawfully and maliciously wounding Mohammed Ali, a friend of Mr Mahmoud’s, with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Jurors were told the victim, nicknamed Kaos, was leader of a gang of mostly Somali men which came into conflict with Kimbembi over the delivery of contraband into G wing.

It was alleged that the defendants armed themselves to confront Mahmoud.

A fight broke out but Kimbembi and Butler both denied delivering the fatal wound to Mahmoud and said their co-accused, Ratner, was not involved.

The area was not covered by CCTV at the time.

Earlier in the trial, a key witness prosecution, who was granted anonymity, pulled out of giving evidence after his identity was compromised.

Commenting on the issues raised by the trial, Peter Dawson, director of the Prison Reform Trust said: “This trial has shed an uncomfortable light on the reality of life in one of our oldest and most overcrowded prisons. Attention will inevitably focus on the actions of some individuals and the prison’s management.

“But in the 21st century it is an indictment of successive governments that we still have a prison like Pentonville at all.

“Every week an endless procession of the weak, disadvantaged and unwell pass through the same gates as the seriously dangerous. Inside, staff struggle to build the relationships that will both protect the vulnerable and identify those who pose the most risk. Every day, the Governor’s ability to deliver a safe and decent way of life is compromised by the mismatch between the prison’s physical and human resources and the job it is being asked to perform.

“The operational problems are plain for all to see, but they require a political solution.”

Judge Richard Marks QC adjourned Kimbembi’s sentencing until Monday.

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