HMP Long Lartin murder accused inmates 'horrendously calm'

Subhan Anwar
Image caption The men are alleged to have tied up and strangled Subhan Anwar

Two prison inmates accused of murdering a man seemed "horrendously calm" while locked in a cell with his body, a trained siege negotiator told a court.

Gary Smith, 48, and Lee Newell, 44, deny murdering convicted killer Subhan Anwar at HMP Long Lartin, in Worcestershire in February.

They are alleged to have tied up and strangled Anwar while in the cell.

Prison officer Thomas Smith told Warwick Crown Court there was "no real tension" between the defendants.

Ankles bound

The men were removed from Anwar's cell after a stand-off with warders, the court heard.

The victim, whose ankles had been bound with tape, was pronounced dead on 14 February.

Mr Smith said he had originally been sent to Anwar's cell to establish whether the 24-year-old had been taken hostage.

The trained negotiator, who knew both defendants, went to the cell at about 19:40 GMT after other prison staff were informed Anwar was dead.

Asked by prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith to describe how Newell had seemed, Mr Smith added: "It was calm, it wasn't loud or distressed.

"He said 'He's gone, he's with Allah'."

After making the comments, Newell then removed a piece of cardboard covering an observation hatch, the court heard, allowing prison officers to see into the cell.

Anwar, who was serving a life sentence for murder imposed at Bradford Crown Court, was seen to be lying motionless and face down on a bed.

'Made tea'

Mr Grieves-Smith asked prison officer Mr Smith what the mood was like between the defendants as they waited in the cell.

"There was no real tension between them," he said. "They were both horrendously calm."

Another prison officer, Mark Smith, was tasked with keeping check on the men every 15 minutes after they were moved to separate cells in a segregation unit.

He told the court he observed Newell to be pacing around his cell after the alleged murder, while Smith made himself a cup of tea and went to sleep.

Newell, who was convicted of murder in 1989, denies stealing a watch, prayer beads and a metal earring belonging to Anwar.

Smith, who the jury heard was convicted of murder in 1999, has admitted a charge of theft.

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