Convicted killer was strangled in his cell, a court heard

Subhan Anwar
Subhan Anwar

A convicted killer was tied up and strangled in his cell by two fellow inmates who were also serving life sentences for murder, a court heard today.

Gary Smith and Lee Newell made themselves a cup of hot chocolate after using a pair of tracksuit bottoms to throttle Subhan Anwar, a trial at Warwick Crown Court was told.

Smith, 48, and Newell, 44, both deny murdering Anwar, who is formerly of Batley and has close Dewsbury links, at HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire on February 14 this year.

Opening the case against both men, prosecutor Peter Grieves-Smith said Anwar’s body was found after Newell told a prison officer: “He’s gone, he’s with Allah.”

One of the defendants is also alleged to have informed prison security staff that Anwar, whose ankles were bound with tape, had been taken hostage because he was bored.

CCTV and DNA evidence showed both defendants had followed Anwar into his cell shortly before 6pm.

The door of the cell was then closed, Mr Grieves-Smith said, and remained shut until prison officers gained access and found Anwar’s body at about 8.20pm.

At about 6.40pm, jurors were told, a call was made from an intercom in the cell to the prison’s security department.

Mr Grieves-Smith said: “The caller did not identify themself but what he did say was that they had taken a hostage.

“He said words to the effect that he was bored and it was something to do. He then said ‘I’m not joking, I think he is dead’.”

Prison staff did not initially know whether the caller was joking, the court heard, and did not seek to force entry to Anwar’s cell, instead talking through the door to those inside.

At 7.40pm, a warder looked through an eye-hole in the cell door and saw Anwar, who was motionless, lying face down on his bed.

Mr Grieves-Smith added: “As Mr Newell and Mr Smith waited to be taken from the cell, they made themselves a drink of hot chocolate.

“They were eventually led from the cell by prison officers and staff found the body of Mr Anwar.

“What was found around his neck was a ligature, a pair of tracksuit bottoms which had been wrapped around his neck, and the ends of the legs pulled until he died.”

Both men, who were found in possession of property belonging to Anwar, were subsequently interviewed by police under caution and chose to make no comment.

Addressing the possible motives for the killing, Mr Grieves-Smith told the jury: “There is no eyewitness who can describe what happened in that cell.

“The case against the defendants depends upon drawing together various strands of evidence but the prosecution suggest you will be sure that both are guilty of murder.

“The prosecution say both went into the cell by design, they had both planned to be there.”

The jury was told that Newell was convicted of murder in 1989. He 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.

Although the court heard Anwar was a convicted murderer, it was given no further information about the crime.