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Long Chats & Back Massages: Sharing A Prison Cell With Salim

A 40-year-old ­alleged jewellery thief has spoken about his experience sharing a prison cell with controversial property developer Salim Mehajer.

In an exclusive interview with The Australian, Alex Arnold has told of Mr Mehajer's fragile state of mind after spending four days with him in a cramped, smelly prison cell.

Mr Arnold, is currently on bail and denies any wrongdoing, said that after being arrested over an alleged break and enter of a Kings Cross jewellery store he was moved into a cell opposite Mr ­Mehajer’s.

“A senior Corrective Services officer said, ‘Do you want to share with Salim over there’,” Mr ­Arnold said.

“I said ‘I’d rather not’. But then I thought this guy might be some good conversation.”

“He was really, really lonely,” Mr Arnold said.

“He said he was going to neck himself if they didn’t move someone in. “I don’t know if it was a figure of speech but he had some serious depression.”

Mr Arnold said he was annoyed by Mr Mehajer not cleaning up after himself, and for getting around half naked.

“He was lying around in just a towel with no underwear,” Mr ­Arnold said.

Mr Arnold said the toilet in the cell, smelt strongly of urine and faeces, but Mr Mehajer had made no attempt to clean any mess.

“He should have done what he could to clean it but he was sleeping around half-nude so I cleaned it with bedsheets and two towels.”

“I’m pretty down to earth and I said: ‘The wedding, streets blocked off ... that was the beginning of this.’ And he said ‘Yeah, 100 per cent’,” Mr Arnold said.

“We talked about building. He said he’s got 15 houses but they’re all highly leveraged.’’

Mr Arnold said Mr Mehajer complained of a bad back, which he attributed to a car accident.

“We swapped a back massage for a back massage,” Mr Arnold said.

“I don’t think he’s got it in him to do any serious jail — he’s too polite and too feminine,” Mr Arnold said.

The Australian

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