Two prisoners accused of murdering convicted Huddersfield child-killer Subhan Anwar seemed “horrendously calm” while locked in a cell with his body, a court heard.
Lifers Gary Smith and Lee Newell are alleged to have tied up and strangled Subhan Anwar while prisoners at HMP Long Lartin in south Worcestershire.
Anwar, whose ankles had been bound with tape, was pronounced dead on February 14 this year after Smith and Newell were removed from his cell following a stand-off with warders.
Giving evidence on the second day of a trial at Warwick Crown Court, prison officer Thomas Smith said he was 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 7.40pm after other prison staff were informed that Anwar was dead.
Describing how he communicated with the defendants by talking through the cell door, the prison officer told the court: “I said ’What’s going on? - what’s caused this situation?’ and he (Newell) said ’I don’t know, I don’t know, I wish I knew myself’.”
Asked by prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith to describe how Newell had seemed, the witness added: “It was calm, it wasn’t loud or distressed.
“He was just quite calm.
“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.
Jurors heard Newell was seen standing near the door, while Gary Smith was sitting on a chair smoking a cigarette.
Anwar, who was serving a life sentence for the murder of two-year-old Sanam Navsarka in Deighton in 2008, was seen to be lying motionless and face down on a bed.
The court heard yesterday how Newell was made a hot chocolate by Gary Smith as the two inmates waited to be taken to a segregation unit.
Mr Grieves-Smith asked prison officer Smith what the mood was like between the defendants as they waited in the cell.
“There was no real tension between them,” the officer said. “They were both horrendously calm.”
According to witnesses, both defendants were compliant as they were handcuffed and taken to the segregation unit on the evening of February 14.
Another prison officer, Mark Smith, was tasked with keeping check on the men every 15 minutes after they were moved to separate cells in the unit.
He told the court he observed Newell to be pacing around his cell after the alleged murder, while Gary Smith made himself a cup of tea and went to sleep.
Gary Smith, 48, and Newell, 44, both deny murdering Anwar.
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.