A murdered prison inmate predicted his own killing in an unopened letter to jail bosses.
Adnan Rafiq, 22, sent the letter shortly before he was attacked in his cell over a row about an alleged theft.
But prison chiefs at HMP Hewell, near Redditch, Worcestershire, didn’t open the letter and have now been criticised for missing warning signs ahead of the incident in January 2013.
The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman found that: “Staff should have been aware of the potential risk to the man and more should have been done to protect him.”
Mr Rafiq, from Birmingham, was waiting to stand trial over burglary allegations when he suffered multiple skull fractures after being punched, kicked and his head stamped on. He died three days later in hospital.
Barry Mundle, 36 and from Wolverhampton, was later convicted of his murder and jailed for 23 years.
The brutal attack had followed an argument about an alleged theft from a cell. It came just five days after an earlier assault which had prompted Mr Rafiq to make the chilling prediction in a letter to prison bosses requesting a transfer.
An extract of his letter said: “Basically, I was supposed to have been [transferred] to Birmingham due to conflict [at] Hewell. I have told officers several times that my life is in danger [here] due to me having trouble with Coventry prisoners that are all over this jail but nothing seems to be getting done.
“I was assaulted yesterday [and] suffered a broken nose, broken cheek bone. I have told staff … because next time it could be … fatal.”
The report added that the letter had been put in an envelope addressed to the Head of Reducing Re-offending at the prison and posted in the wing complaints box on January 24 – four days before the fatal attack.
But because of the ‘confidential access marking’ on the envelope it was not opened.
The report added: “The letter remained unopened for several days as the Head of Reducing Re-Offending was not on duty and was not due back in the prison until January 30.
“The man’s complaint should have been directed elsewhere or returned to the man. Hewell reviewed its complaints system after the man’s death.
A Prison Service spokesperson said: “We do not tolerate violence of any kind in prison. As with all inquests, we will review the findings carefully, and our thoughts remain with Adnan’s family and friends during what must be a very difficult time.”