Adnan Rafiq who died at HMP Hewell in January 2013
A Birmingham prisoner predicted his own murder in a letter sent to jail bosses that was not opened until after the fatal attack.
The shocking discovery was revealed in an official report into the murder of Adnan Rafiq, 22, at HMP Hewell near Redditch, Worcestershire, 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 Moseley, 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 HMP Hewell 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.
“Misdirected confidential complaints such as his are now returned unopened to the sender with a note explaining the correct process.”
Ombudsman Nigel Newcomen CBE has made six recommendations after it emerged that the prison took more than than two-and-a-half hours to inform police of the attack and three-and-a-half hours to inform the family.
His report said: “The man had been assaulted at the prison five days before he was fatally injured. Although there is little to connect the two incidents, more could have been done to investigate the circumstances and safeguard the man after that assault.
“It appears that the subsequent fatal assault was a result of reprisals against the man, either because of his association with his cell mate or because his assailants suspected him of being involved in the cell thefts.
“While I do not consider that the prison could have anticipated such an extreme violent reaction against the man, there appeared to have been little consideration that the events that morning might have made him vulnerable to attack.
“It took too long to notify the police of this serious assault. The police were also concerned that important evidence was lost in the intervening period before they were called.
“I am also concerned that, in the aftermath of such a violent and tragic death, the man’s family did not believe that they were treated appropriately by the prison.
“It is important that prison managers deal with bereaved families in such circumstances with sensitivity and respect.”
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.”