A prison where an inmate was stabbed to death was considered by inspectors an “unsafe and unstable environment”, an inquest has heard.
The inquest into the death of Wayne Reid, 44, stabbed at HMP Rye Hill, in Willoughby, Warwickshire, was told an inspection was being carried out at the time he was killed in April 2005.
The inmate, from Handsworth, was stabbed in the chest by another prisoner after an argument.
Ibrahim Musone, Bisharak Chaudry, and Deedar Syed are serving sentences in connection with his murder, which happened a few days before he was due to be released.
During the first day of the two-week inquest at Rushden and Diamonds Football Club, in Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, the jury heard the inspection in April 2005 deemed the prison unsafe.
Tom Osborne, assistant deputy coroner for Northamptonshire, said the report said: “The prison had deteriorated to the extent we considered it was an unsafe and unstable environment for prisoners and staff.”
He asked witness Prisoner Custody Officer Ronald Lewis, who works at Rye Hill, if he had felt unsafe.
Mr Lewis said it could be interpreted that way, because on Mr Reid’s wing, where he worked, there were only two officers for 70 inmates.
Rye Hill is a category B prison run by private security company GSL.
Opening the inquest, Mr Osborne told the jury Mr Reid had been stabbed after an argument weeks before with fellow inmate Ibrahim Musone.
The inquest heard the pair argued in the prison servery, resulting in Mr Reid throwing Musone’s milk across the room.
Witnesses described another argument where Mr Reid allegedly threatened to stab Musone.
Mr Osborne said the court case heard Musone felt disrespected by Reid and the trial judge said the pretext of Reid’s murder was his killer’s “status” in the prison.
Prison officer Mr Lewis told the inquest on April 13, 2005, he had come out of the office to see Mr Reid clutching his chest.
The inquest heard Mr Reid was killed by a butterfly knife. Mr Lewis said he had been Mr Reid’s ‘personal officer’ but did not know there had been an ongoing dispute between him and Musone.