Life of Britain’s ‘most dangerous prisoner’ who spends 23 hours a day locked inside a glass box

A notorious killer, too dangerous to mix with other prisoners, spends 23 hours a day

A notorious killer, too dangerous to mix with other prisoners, spends 23 hours a day locked inside a glass box.

Robert Maudsley is thought to be one of Britain’s most dangerous inmates.

The Liverpool man made a name for himself after a harrowing string of deadly attacks on child molesters, which earned himself the nickname Hannibal the Cannibal.

Maudsley, now 68, has been locked up since 1974, and has spent nearly 40 years living in a 5.5 metres by 4.5 metres bulletproof glass box, the Liverpool Echo reports.

His specially constructed cage beneath Wakefield Prison contains a concrete slab to sleep on, a table and chair made of compressed cardboard, a toilet and a sink.

Maudsley was the fourth of 12 children and spent his early years in a Catholic orphanage at Nazareth House before his parents reclaimed him at the age of eight, after which he suffered years of violent abuse at the hands of his father.

He once spent six months locked in a room, where his father would go to beat him several times a day.




Maudsley murdered his first victim when he was 21, a few years after he started taking drugs and turned to sex work to earn money.

In 1974, he garrotted his client John Farrell to death after he showed him photos of children he had abused.

Maudsley was declared unfit to stand trial for the crime and sent away with the recommendation that he never be released.

He was locked up in Broadmoor Hospital, home to some of Britain’s most dangerous criminals.

Three years later, he and David Cheeseman, a fellow prisoner, barricaded themselves inside a room, where they had tied up child molester David Francis.

The pair tortured Francis to death before dangling his body for prison guards to see.

Maudsley was charged with manslaughter and moved to the Wakefield Prison in Yorkshire.

This is where he found his final two victims.

On July 29, 1978, Maudsley strangled and stabbed Salney Darwood, a 46-year-old who was locked up for killing his wife.

After hiding Darwood’s body under a bed, he then creeped into the cell of Bill Roberts, 56, who had sexually abused a seven-year-old girl.

He stabbed Roberts, hacked his skull with a makeshift dagger and smashed his head against a wall.

Reports at the time of the murders claimed he’d left a spoon in the skull of his second victim, who was missing part of his brain, although an autopsy report later showed that the story was incorrect.

Nevertheless, Maudsley acquired the nickname Hannibal the Cannibal, and it stuck.

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During his final trial in 1979, Maudsley claimed he was thinking of his parents during his vigilante violence, wishing he had killed them in 1970.

Robert Maudsley’s older brother Paul once said: “I’ve always thought ‘There but for the grace of God go I . . .’ I could easily have turned out like Bob.

“But I was lucky. I ended up with someone who loved me and showed me affection. Kevin, who now lives in Bradford, was the same. We’re both married with four kids.

“But for Bob, the chain of abuse was never broken; he’s been abused all his life.”



Maudsley was originally kept in Broadmoor Hospital

Maudsley’s decades of solitary confinement have been criticised as possibly infringing on his human rights by risking further mental breakdown.

During a brief spell at Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight in the 1990s, Maudsley met with psychiatrist Dr Bob Johnson, who believed he was making progress with reducing Maudsley’s latent violence.

But the sessions were suddenly stopped after three years and Maudsley was returned to Wakefield Prison, where he has remained since.

Dr Johnson tried to contact Maudsley several times, but his letters went mostly unanswered, until he received a three-word message in the post: “All alone now.”

In 2000, Maudsley begged the courts to allow him to die before writing a series of letters.

He wrote: “What purpose is served by keeping me locked up 23 hours a day? Why even bother to feed me and to give me one hour’s exercise a day? Who actually am I a risk to?”

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