Barking prisoner admits stabbing fellow Pentonville inmate with contraband knife

Pentonville Prison. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

Pentonville Prison. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A man accused of killing a fellow inmate at Pentonville prison has admitted stabbing the victim’s friend with his own contraband hunting knife.

Basana Kimbembi, formerly of Barking, had been fighting deportation to the Congo at the time Jamal Mahmoud, 21, aka Kaos, was stabbed to death at the north London jail in October last year.

The prosecution has alleged Kimbembi was one of three men who attacked Mr Mahmoud and Mohammed Ali, aka Jimmy, in a dispute over a consignment of knives and phones smuggled on to G Wing.

Giving evidence at the Old Bailey, Kimbembi, 35, said he stabbed Mr Ali with his own knife because he was “trying to stab me”.

He told jurors the large blade in a sheath looked “very similar” to one he had seen come into the prison in a parcel a few days before.

He saw the stash of knives, a knuckle duster, and phones in the cell of a fellow Congolese inmate, Cisse Ewango, 33, who he knew from another jail, the defendant said.

He said: “One knife in particular caught my attention. It was a big knife in a sheath. I was curious. I had never seen that kind of weapon in prison.

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“I grabbed the knife, opened up the sheath and touched it. It cut my finger. When I cut my finger I passed it back.”

Michael Holland QC, defending, asked: “The knife you saw, is it the same knife as the hunting knife Jimmy had?”

Kimbembi replied: “I think it was very similar.”

Following the stabbing, the knife was found discarded on the floor of a cell on the fifth level of G Wing, the court heard.

Asked who had control of contraband on the wing, Kimbembi said it was “the Somalis”, in reference to Mr Mahmoud, Mr Ali and their group.

Kimbembi denied knowing about any trouble with the Somalis before the killing or being a member of any gang in prison.

Ewango, who was “feared” and “respected” because of his size, was also getting contraband and “doing his own thing”, he said.

The court heard Kimbembi has convictions for 15 offences, including a cash-in-transit robbery and carrying a knife, which he said made him “feel protected”.

The defendant, who takes medication for paranoid schizophrenia, told jurors he came to Britain at the age of 11 after civil war broke out in the Congo.

His parents, who were involved in politics, were believed to have since been murdered in the troubles.

After a criminal conviction, he was refused leave to remain in Britain and found himself “stateless” with no opportunity to work or claim benefits as he appealed against the decision.

Kimbembi, Joshua Ratner, 27, and Robert Butler, 31, deny murder as well as wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The trial continues.