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Buried Alive in a Glass Box

Wakefield prison – a maximum security prison for violent offenders, they have housed Charles Bronson and many others.

Robert John Maudsley had an arguably very difficult start to his life, spending time in an orphanage between the ages of 2 and 8 and due to abuse unfortunately his parents took him back into their home aged 8 and carried on with their awful behaviour. Please understand that I am not justifying his behaviour I am merely giving context. After breaking free from them he travelled to London from Liverpool to take up life as a sex worker in order to fund his drug addiction but was forced to seek help after several suicide attempts.

Once quoted as saying “if I had killed my parents in 1970 none of these people would have died” goes someway to explaining his abhorrent behaviour.

Being erroneously nicknamed ‘hannibal the cannibal’ after someone mistook his love of blood and leaving a spoon in the victims head that he had eaten their brains gives people a false impression of him – clearly he had a penchant for killing abusers in the most unpleasant way possible but was never actually convicted of cannibalism the media have been instrumental in painting a an inaccurate picture of a dangerous psychopath

Maudsley took the title of Britain’s most dangerous prisoner after a cannibalistic killing spree that spanned both inside and outside prison. First kill was at the tender age of 21 was a man that he had picked up for sex his customer had shown him pictures of children he had sexually abused at which Maudsley flew into a rage and garroted him and immediately turned himself into the police advising them he needed psychiatric help. It was decided he was not fit to stand trial and was sent to Broadmoor Hospital.

Whilst at Broadmoor he met David Cheeseman – the two of them locked themselves in a cell with a convicted child molester David Francis. The results were not pretty – tortured to death over a period of 9 hours after which Maudsley was convicted of manslaughter and was sentenced to life imprisonment without release at Wakefield. Unhappy with this result he demanded to be sent back to Broadmoor which was no longer an option for him.

The final two victims (both abusers in one form or another) were quickly dispatched in one day the first garroted and the second stabbed he then immediately went to the wing office placing his dagger on the desk and informing them that next roll call would be 2 short.

1983 saw the decision he was too dangerous to be in contact with prisoners or guards and build a two cell unit allowing him to be monitored from afar through bulletproof glass. When he is allowed out for his daily one hour 6 prison guards are present at all times and he is not allowed anywhere near his fellow prisoners.

Robert was friends with Charles Bronson at one time unfortunately the two parted company over a watch of all things – Charles had given it to Robert as a token of friendship but Robert asked the guards to dispose of it as he didnt want it. Charles Bronson predictably took offence, no violence but Charles went as far as calling Robert ‘ totally mad’ and needs to be back in Broadmoor. Unsettling words coming from someone so troubled.

In March 2000, Maudsley had pleaded for his solitary confinement be relaxed, or be allowed to commit suicide via a cyanide capsule. He also asked for a pet budgerigar, all his requests were denied. At his hearing he asked who he was actually a risk to now? The parole board rightly believe that his is still a risk however there are many who say he should be back in a psychiatric ward getting the help he needs…..some also argue putting him in a clear acrylic cell is cheap solution to an expensive problem.

Aged 68 he will die in prison as there is no chance he will ever be released, surrounded by rats, cockroaches and flies.

‘I am left to stagnate, vegetate and to regress; left to confront my solitary head-on with people who have eyes but don’t see and who have ears but don’t hear, who have mouths but don’t speak. My life in solitary is one long period of unbroken depression.’

Robert John Maudsley

UK Channel 5’s series “Hideous Crimes” highlights his story next month.

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