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Authorities missed multiple warning signs detainee was dangerous, court hears

Zana Assad Yusif killed fellow detainee Tarek Chowdhury in cold blood at Colnbrook IRC in 2016

A PSYCHOTIC detainee killed a 64-year-old man after authorities missed multiple warnings that he was dangerous, an inquest jury heard today.

Problems with a new custody IT system meant bizarre behaviour by killer Zana Assad Yusif was not relayed to medical staff when he was shuttled between immigration removal centres (IRCs) in 2016.

The chaos culminated in Mr Yusif killing fellow detainee Tarek Chowdhury in cold blood at Colnbrook IRC, next to Heathrow airport, in December that year.

Short-staffing may also have contributed to the killing, with guards absent from his wing in the 40 minutes leading up to the tragedy.

The jury heard evidence that outsourcing giant Mitie assigned just one officer per wing on night shifts at Colnbrook, which it runs for profit under a Home Office contract.

It also emerged that in the days and weeks before the death, Mr Yusif had repeatedly threatened staff and inmates at numerous detention centres across the country.

Witnesses told West London coroner’s court that records of these incidents were not passed on and some had even gone missing.

Six weeks before the killing, Anna-Maria Taylor, a guard at the Verne centre in Dorset, said Mr Yusif “woke up all 20 detainees on his landing” by banging on their doors.

Inmates described him as “crazy” and CCTV showed Mr Yusif “literally dancing down the corridor” at 6.40am on October 19 2016.

The officer referred him for a mental health assessment, but this never took place.

When Ms Taylor later looked for records on Mr Yusif, she said: “Everything seems to have disappeared off the system.”

Barrister Nick Armstrong, representing the victim’s family, asked: “You’ve tried to find out?”

Ms Taylor replied: “Yes, I have.”

The dangerous detainee was then moved to Harmondsworth IRC, where he quickly notched up “three strikes” for bad behaviour.

He had to be put in isolation after touching a female officer and saying she should be “grateful” for his attention.

Shortly after that incident, Mr Yusif was handed over to Colnbrook IRC, where staff soon complained that he was “very verbal, abusive and loud.”

Within days, he had killed Mr Chowdhury, who was described by his family as “gentle and polite.”

The inquest continues.


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