Hannibal the Cannibal
Serial killer Robert Mawdsley, known as Hannibal the Cannibal, recently marked a grim milestone by spending his 50th consecutive Christmas behind bars, making him the longest-serving inmate in the UK penal system. At 70 years old, Mawdsley has been in solitary confinement for an astonishing 45 years, a record believed to be unmatched worldwide.
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Mawdsley’s criminal journey began in 1974 when, at the age of 21, he was incarcerated for murder. His violent tendencies escalated in 1978 when he killed three fellow inmates, prompting the authorities to make special provisions for him at Wakefield prison in West Yorkshire. His cell, often referred to as a “glass cage in the cellar,” features bulletproof windows and a concrete slab for a bed.
Former detective Paul Harrison, who specialized in interviewing mass murderers, shared his surprising experience with Mawdsley in 2018. Despite the killer’s notorious reputation, Harrison found him to be an intelligent and even affable individual. Mawdsley’s ability to discuss everyday topics set him apart from the stereotypical image of a serial killer.
Mawdsley’s disturbing past includes a troubled childhood in Liverpool, leading him to London where he turned to prostitution. In 1974, he killed a child sex offender, resulting in his ruling that he was unfit for trial. Subsequently sent to Broadmoor, a high-security hospital in Berkshire, Mawdsley committed another gruesome act by taking a fellow inmate hostage, torturing him, and ultimately killing him with a cut-down plastic spoon.
The sensationalized claim that the victim was found with the spoon blade in his ear fueled false rumors that Mawdsley had consumed part of the victim’s brain. This led to Mawdsley being dubbed Hannibal the Cannibal, drawing parallels to the infamous character portrayed by Sir Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 film “The Silence of the Lambs.”
Mawdsley’s nephew, Gavin Mawdsley, revealed on a Channel 5 show, “Evil Behind Bars,” that his uncle harbored a deep-seated animosity towards sex offenders. Gavin stated that if placed with rapists and paedophiles, Robert Mawdsley would seek to eliminate as many of them as possible.
The Ministry of Justice, however, denied the existence of solitary confinement in the prison system, clarifying that some offenders may be segregated if they pose a risk to others. The spokesperson emphasized that segregated individuals have access to daily outdoor time, visits, phone calls, legal advice, and medical care, similar to other inmates. The Ministry of Justice declined to disclose the current location of Robert Mawdsley.
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