Prisoner, 25, knifed to death in a chapel ‘within the Muslim section’ of a Category C prison in brutal lunchtime attack
- Madala Washington, 25, died after attack at Coldingley Prison, Surrey
- Reports suggest he was stabbed in chapel in ‘Muslim section’ of jail
- Ministry of Justice confirmed death and said investigation launched
- Washington, of Wimbledon, jailed in 2013 for drugs offences
A prisoner was stabbed to death in a chapel ‘within the Muslim section’ of a Category C prison in a brutal lunchtime attack today.
Madala Washington, 25, was named by the Ministry of Justice as the victim of the knifing during lunch period at Coldingley Prison in Bisley, Surrey.
Rumours circulated this afternoon the attack took place in the prison’s Muslim section while staff inside the prison said he was killed in a chapel, believed to be multi-faith.
An air ambulance, police and paramedics rushed to the Category C jail for men after the alarm was raised and warders said that frantic efforts were made to resuscitate Washington before he was pronounced dead almost an hour later.
Police in Surrey confirmed that they had been called to a murder inside Coldingley jail and it was understood that another prisoner had been locked in a solitary cell while a full-scale investigation began.
Washington, formerly of Wimbledon, South West London, was jailed after being one of 13 people to be arrested and charged following a series of dawn raids on a Metropolitan Police operation targeting drug dealers.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: ‘HMP Coldingley prisoner Madala Washington died in prison on Friday 1st April.
‘As with all deaths in custody there will be an investigation by the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.’
Meanwhile, residents living next to the prison speculated that the incident may have been religiously aggravated after rumours spread that the incident took place in the ‘Muslim section’ of the jail.
One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: ‘I have heard that it happened in the Muslim section of the prison.
‘I really don’t know how it is divided up in there, whether they have a mosque area or specific area for prayers like the chapel, but all I’ve heard is it happened in a Muslim area inside.
‘I’m not sure who the people involved could have been, we don’t tend to hear about what goes on in there. It’s very much they have their privacy and we have ours.’
Staff at the jail told how one of the inmates had been ambushed and fatally stabbed in the stomach.
One, who asked not to be named, said: ‘The guy was killed in the prison’s chapel.’
The jail has five wings and was initially hailed as a ‘flagship jail for England’ when it as opened in 1991.
However in later years it has been criticised for a lack of work for inmates although news reports in 2006 said that some prisoners were earning up to £11,000 a year as well as another £1,300 in working tax credits.
The prison now operates a Crime Diversion Scheme in which inmates are employed.
The scheme involves young first time offenders visiting Coldingley to hear inmates there telling them of the harsh realities of losing your liberty in the hope it may stop them offending further.
Neighbours living in red-brick houses lining the road leading up to HMP Coldingley described seeing the Air Ambulance land on the 50 metre square patch of grass directly in front of the dull, greyish building before dozens of police officers flooded the prison.
Police cars were still parked outside the prison more than three hours after the incident took place as officers investigated the shocking death.
A former prison officer, who asked not to be named, said: ‘There’s three squad cars still parked out front. They would not normally be parked there. The air ambulance came down and landed on the grass.
‘I saw an ambulance coming out of the prison as I was staring out the window. All I know is there is something going on. I’ve done 27 years as a prison officer and this is not an exercise.
‘Something has gone on. What it is, I don’t know, but it’s something big.
‘In the 80’s we had a helicopter come in, but it didn’t land, it was just part of an exercise. If this was an exercise the police cars wouldn’t still be here an hour after the helicopter took off again.
‘The ambulance went in. There was a lot of movement and a lot of police. They are probably taking statements at the moment.
‘The prison normally has visits on Friday, I don’t know if these have been cancelled or not.’