Belmarsh prison death: Murder probe at London jail after inmate battered to death

Anthony France, Ellena Cruse
HMP Belmarsh is one of only three high-security "core" local prisons in England and Wales: PA

A murder inquiry has been launched after an inmate was battered to death inside top-security Belmarsh prison.

Officers were called to reports of an assault at 8pm on Tuesday. Police and paramedics arrived at the category A men’s jail to find the 36-year-old man with head injuries.

He was rushed to hospital in a critical condition but medics were not able to save him and he died the following evening.

There is no indication that the attack was terrorist-related.

The victim was taken to hospital in a critical condition from HMP Belmarsh (PA)

Two inmates, both 28-year-old men, have been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.

Detective Chief Inspector Richard Leonard said: “We are working to establish the circumstances surrounding this incident with the support of Serco and local officers.

“At this stage I am open minded concerning motive, but expect this to become clear as the investigation progresses.”

The entrance to HMP Belmarsh, south-east London (PA)

The Metropolitan Police said the victim’s family have been told and a post mortem examination will be carried out in due course.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “A prisoner at HMP Belmarsh died in hospital on February 19 and our sympathies are with his family and friends. It would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Belmarsh is one of only three high-security “core” local prisons in England and Wales and has housed some of Britain’s most high-profile prisoners.

Julian Assange, 48, is being held on remand there ahead of his extradition hearing, while Tommy Robinson served his sentence at Belmarsh last year after being jailed for contempt of court.

Other inmates known to have been housed in the prison are Michael Adebolajo, one of the killers of soldier Lee Rigby; Finsbury Park terror attacker Darren Osborne; and radical preacher Anjem Choudary before his release from jail in 2018.

An inspection report in 2018 showed that levels of violence had increased at Belmarsh since it was last assessed three years previously.

It opened in 1991 and had an operational capacity of 910 prisoners as of 2008, according to the Ministry of Justice.

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