A prison officer who worked in one of Britain’s most famous prisons has revealed why he believes a serial killer nicknamed ‘Hannibal the Cannibal’ should be released from solitary confinement.
Neil Samworth, who worked at HMP Strangeways in Manchester for more than a decade, said Robert Maudsley should be brought out of his glass dungeon.
Maudsley, 70, has been held in solitary confinement in a bulletproof glass cell since 1983 after killing three people in prison while serving a life sentence for murder.
The twisted killer is kept in the underground bulletproof box, which measures 18ft by 14ft, for 23 hours a day in the basement of Wakefield Prison.
He is guarded by four prison officers every time he leaves his specially designed cell and holds the world record for most consecutive days in solitary confinement.
Samworth, who is now retired after a career “surrounded” by killers, told MailOnline: “I think the way he has been treated is wrong.” He’s in total isolation and it’s not fair.”
Robert Maudsley (pictured), 68, is being held in a private underground cell below the general population of HMP Wakefield, after killing four men between 1974 and 1978.
The retired guard said it was “not fair” for the 70-year-old to remain locked up alone as he no longer poses a danger to others. Having killed twice before being initially jailed, Maudsley was placed in solitary confinement at HMP Wakefield (above) after killing two of his fellow prisoners.
He added: “I believe his crimes are now historic and he poses no real danger to others.” He’s a bit like Charlie Bronson.
“Yes, he has had many fights in the past, but he is an old man now.”
The violent prisoner has only been photographed once since his imprisonment after being filmed for a documentary about him more than 40 years ago.
Maudsley himself has long urged prison authorities to move him to better conditions.
In letters from more than 20 years ago, he wrote: “The prison authorities see me as a problem, and their solution has been to put me in solitary confinement and throw away the key, bury me alive in a cement coffin.”
‘They don’t care if I’m crazy or bad. They don’t know the answer and they don’t care as long as they keep me out of sight and out of mind.
‘I remain stagnant, vegetated and regressed; I was left to face my loneliness head on with people who have eyes but don’t see and who have ears but don’t hear, who have a mouth but don’t speak.
“My solo life is a long period of uninterrupted depression.”
Maudsley was nicknamed ‘Hannibal the Cannibal’ after false reports that he ate the brain of one of his victims.
In 2022, a Channel 5 documentary revealed that the serial killer had told his nephew that he had promised to kill again if he was freed.
Maudsley’s two-room cell is made of bulletproof Perspex and has compressed cardboard furniture.
The sadistic killer spends 23 hours a day there, sleeping on a concrete slab and using a toilet and sink bolted to the floor.
Maudsley was born in Toxteth, Liverpool in 1953 and was the fourth child of a local lorry driver.
But he had an unhappy start to life and was taken in at a young age with his two brothers and sister after it was discovered they were victims of “parental neglect”.
After several years in care, Maudsley and her siblings returned to live with their parents, but there they were brutally beaten and suffered “physical abuse,” her brother said.
During his final murder trial in 1979, the court heard that during his violent rages, Maudsley believed his victims were his parents.
He said: ‘When I kill, I think I have my parents in mind. If I had killed my parents in 1970, none of these people would have had to die. If he had killed them, then he would be walking around as a free man without a care in the world.
Maudsley committed his first murder in 1974, aged 21, after fleeing to London to work as a prostitute when he was 16.
He brutally murdered Pedophile John Farrell in Wood Green, after showing photographs of children he had sexually abused.
After the murder, he turned himself in to the police and immediately confessed to his crime.
Maudsley was sent to Broadmoor Hospital, home to some of Britain’s most violent criminals, after he was deemed unfit to stand trial.
At Broadmoor he was a “model” prisoner until 1977, when he and fellow inmate David Cheeseman were locked in a cell with child molester David Francis.
After a gruesome nine-hour torture, the callous couple hung Francisco’s lifeless body for prison guards to see.
Maudsley, seen as a child, is serving four life sentences in his glass cell that measures 18 feet by 14 feet.
Last week at HMP Wakefield, pedophile murderer Roy Whiting, 65, was stabbed by another prisoner.
According to a guard, the man was discovered with his head “open like a boiled egg,” with a spoon hanging from it and part of his brain missing.
Maudsley was then sent to HMP Wakefield, nicknamed ‘Monster Mansion’, after being found guilty of manslaughter.
In 1978, at HMP Wakefield, Maudsley strangled and stabbed Salney Darwood, 46, who had been jailed for killing his wife.
He hid Darwood’s body under the bed before sneaking into the cell of pedophile Bill Roberts, 56, who had sexually abused a seven-year-old girl.
He stabbed Roberts, slashed his skull with a makeshift dagger and slammed his head into a wall.
Only then was the brutal murderer of ‘Hannibal’ sentenced to life in prison.
In 2000, Maudsley launched a legal action in court asking to be allowed to die.
He wrote a letter asking: ‘What’s the point of keeping me locked up 23 hours a day?
‘Why even bother feeding me and giving me an hour of exercise a day? Who am I really a risk to?
In the letter he described that his current treatment and confinement had led him to expect a “psychological breakdown”, mental illness and “probable suicide”.
He went on to ask why he couldn’t have a pet parakeet, promising to love it and “not eat it.”
Also questioning why he couldn’t have a television to ‘see the world’ and get information or music tapes.
He ended the letter by saying: “If the Prison Service says no, then I ask for a simple cyanide capsule which I will gladly accept and Robert John Maudsley’s problem can be resolved easily and quickly.”
Director of the Channel 5 film Elliot Reed said: ‘West Yorkshire’s famous HMP Wakefield prison is known in the prison system as Monster Mansion.
‘It’s a garbage can, a warehouse for the worst Category A prisoners.
“The home of some of the most terrible men in British criminal history, including Roy Whiting, Jeremy Bamber, Charles Bronson and Robert Maudsley.”
Samworth said that while he had not worked at HMP Wakefield, he had heard about why it was such a difficult environment.
“There is no segregation in Wakefield, so most of the wings are full of sex offenders, rapists and child murderers,” he said, “they’re all in there together.”
‘An offender with a gang or drug history would ask to be expelled immediately. The problem would be that the longer you stay there, others might think you are a sex offender by association.
Last week, pedophile murderer Roy Whiting was stabbed by another prisoner in ‘Monster Mansion’ prison..
Whiting murdered Sarah Payne, an eight-year-old schoolgirl, whom he snatched off the street in July 2000.
The 65-year-old man is said to have been covered in blood after the stabbing, but only suffered minor injuries.
It was just the latest attack on the inmate who has been repeatedly attacked by other inmates over the years.
However, Samworth suspects it was the result of a minor disagreement, rather than the nature of his conviction.
He said: ‘Whiting has already been in prison and everyone knows what awaits him.
The attack could be linked to a small fight in Wakefield. So-called prison conflicts abound and can suddenly erupt for no apparent reason.
‘Some of the worst offenders are people you’ve never heard of. At Wakefield Whiting it won’t be much.
Samworth also said that while Whiting’s crimes were shocking, in Wakefield he would be seen as just another convict.
Pictured: Notorious inmate Charles Bronson leaves Woodhill Prison chapel in 2001.
Retired prison officer Neil Samworth has revealed why he believes serial killer Robert Maudsley (pictured) should no longer be held in solitary confinement.
Whiting (pictured), 65, murdered eight-year-old schoolgirl Sarah Payne, whom he snatched off the street in July 2000.
The former prison officer suspected that the attack on the child killer was more the result of a fight than the reason for his conviction.
The former prison officer spoke of the form of vigilante justice found in prisons, where retaliation is doled out on “black-eye Fridays.”
He added thatThose in debt could be ordered to carry out violence on behalf of their creditors.
But, perhaps surprisingly, established criminals, effectively acting as leaders of their wings, could be used to keep the peace.
“There is always a wing boss,” Mr Samworth explained, “for example at Strangeways we had people like Paul Massey and Paul Doyle from Salford.
‘You could ask them to talk to the people who were causing problems. You would simply ask them to speak quietly and use their influence to fix things.