A PRISONER has been jailed for a minimum of 23 years for the murder of a fellow inmate at HMP Hewell, between Redditch and Bromsgrove.

Barry Mundle, aged 35 and from the Wolverhampton area, was found guilty after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court for the attack on Adnan Rafiq, who was 22 and from the Moseley area of the city.

Co-defendants Jermaine Christie, aged 28, and from the Telford area, and Jahnel Faure, also 28, and from the West Bromwich area, who had also been on trial for murder, were found not guilty.

The incident took place on House Block 2 at HMP Hewell in the early afternoon on Monday, January 28.

The court heard that, that morning, personal property had been stolen from the cell occupied by Mundle and Christie and this had caused a great deal of tension.

The property was eventually retrieved by prison staff in a cell occupied by the victim Mr Rafiq and his cell mate. After lunch Mr Rafiq was in Mundle and Christie’s cell and the door was shut. Mr Rafiq was assaulted by being punched to the head, kicked to the body, and his head was stamped on. He sustained severe multiple fractures to the skull.

Mr Rafiq was taken to Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital in a critical condition and later transferred to University Hospital Coventry where he subsequently died on January 31.

The court heard the attack was carried out in revenge for the theft.

Sentencing Mundle to serve at least 23 years, Deputy High Court Judge Sir Colin Mackay commented the injuries were the worst he had come across during his career, apart from those sustained by victims of motorway crashes.

Detective Chief Inspector Jon Marsden of West Mercia Police said: “The theft was a relatively minor matter which was blown out of all proportion.  When a group of men live in close quarters, tensions inevitably run high and tempers can flare over small things.

“It was a sustained and ferocious attack, leading to severe head injuries which were to prove fatal.

“Mr Rafiq was a remand prisoner and his death came as a terrible shock for his family. We hope they will take some comfort from the sentence imposed by the court.

“We also hope this case sends a clear message to other prisoners that violence will not be tolerated, and that the police and the prison service are working together to ensure all incidents are fully investigated and appropriate action taken.”

HMP Hewell governor Stephanie Roberts-Bibby said: "We have zero tolerance to violence at HMP Hewell and always take action against anti-social and violent behaviour. We are pleased an offender has been convicted of this atrocious act of violence and our thoughts remain with Adnan's family and friends during what must be a very difficult time."

In a statement, Mr Raqif’s family said: “Adnan Rafiq, a loving son and brother, will forever be missed. The death has devastated the family and some 10 months later, the family are still trying to come to terms with what has happened, and why.

“The family have been through hell and back as the death has had a devastating effect on all the family.

“Described as a ‘nice guy’ by all who knew him, gentle, caring and loving, this was a mindless, senseless, ferocious attack, which took his life. He was described in court as defenceless and a helpless victim.

“Finally the family would like to thank West Mercia Police and all the officers involved in this case for their efforts, the legal team, in particular prosecutor Stephen Linehan QC, and the Crown Prosecution Service for their work to achieve justice for this horrific crime.”