A convicted Corby murderer killed a paedophile in prison after he was urged to talk about violent fantasies by jail therapists, an inquest jury has ruled.
It concluded that child rapist Robert Coello, 44, was killed when Lee Foye stormed into his cell and viciously attacked him at HMP Grendon, a category B prison which functions as a “unique” therapeutic community.
Coello, a former bus driver, was serving a life sentence after admitting four counts of rape, 11 counts of indecent assault and one other count.
Foye, formerly of North Cape Walk, Corby, had been encouraged to talk about his violent fantasies by prison therapists and even told a group session that Coello should be “put down” after he had shared his dark past with fellow inmates.
Despite the warning signs, prison authorities said they did not foresee the tragic events that unfolded in Coello’s cell on the Buckinghamshire jail’s G wing in August 2010.
After nine days of evidence, an inquest jury in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, reached the verdict that Coello had been unlawfully killed.
Foye was already serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of Lauren Strachan, 19, from Eastbrook, Corby, in August 2005.
He was handed a further life sentence with a minimum tariff of 31 years for murdering paedophile Coello, from Reading, who had been in prison since 2006.
Foye, then aged 27, had fantasised to therapists about attacking people and told a therapy group that Coello should be “put down” for his vile crimes.
The inquest heard Foye had expressed his twisted thoughts in group therapy sessions with seven other offenders on the 40-man G wing at Grendon.
Patrick Mandikate, head of psychotherapy and G wing therapist, said: “He talked about having violent fantasies about people he didn’t know. There were people throwing stones at his mother’s house and hurling insults.
“He felt at the time that he had violent fantasies of harming these people.”
The inquest also heard that Mr Mandikate had been told that Foye had muttered “he should be put down” about Coello, during a another group session two days before he murdered him.
Despite this, Mr Mandikate said Foye’s fantasies were noted but not viewed as a serious problem as it was encouraged behaviour.
“In therapy, if someone begins to talk about fantasies it is seen as a good thing as they are alerting us to thought processes,” he said.
“As long as they then sign up to not acting on those thoughts.”
The inquest heard that Foye and Coello were never in the same small therapy group but both lived on G wing, so would be together in larger feedback sessions.
Mr Mandikate did admit he was “uneasy” with the decision to place Coello on G Wing last year, and said: “It was made clear to me in no uncertain terms that we needed to fill these beds no matter who was available.”
The prison opened in 1962 as an experimental treatment prison for psychiatric disorders and is now a unique therapy centre in the UK prison system.
Grendon houses 238 prisoners separated into wards of around 40 people, who attend daily therapy sessions in groups of eight as well as larger feedback sessions.
Around 90 per cent of the prison’s population are serving indeterminate sentences for serious sexual offences, murder and violent crimes.
Inmates must apply and be accepted to move to Grendon, after which point they undertake up to 16 weeks of probation on a new inmates wing and another three months on regular wings.
The inquest heard Coello’s murder was the first violent death in the prison’s history and that violent attacks were very rare as prisoners knew that violence would mean they were forced to leave.
The paedophile was described as “unique” in his behaviour on the wing in that he would openly discuss his crimes with inmates he didn’t know very well.
There had been concerns about Coello’s behaviour and he had various meetings with therapists, who deemed he was not at risk of being attacked by fellow prisoners 10 days before his death.
Geraldine Ackerman, a forensic psychiatrist on G wing, said: “We suggest people get to know them first before they talk about their offences as prisoners, and people on the outside, find it very difficult to listen to details of sexual offending against a child.
“We likened it (Coello discussing his crimes) to his offending, as he was forcing something that wasn’t ready to happen.”
Recalling the moment she heard Coello had been murdered, Ms Ackerman said: “I guessed who the victim was straightaway but I couldn’t guess the perpetrator.”
Richard Hulett, senior coroner for Buckinghamshire, made no recommendations to the Ministry of Justice following the inquest jury’s verdict.