Considered to be a terrifying criminal lunatic asylum in 1948, Broadmoor Secure hospital has housed some of the UK’s most dangerous hospital patients both today and in its sketchy past.
10 – John Straffen
One of the longest serving prisoners in British history, Serial Killer, John Straffen was found unfit to plead at trial and committed to Broadmoor Hospital after attacking and killing two girls in the summer of 1951.
Straffen is one of the few inmates to have escaped Broadmoor in 1952, managed to scale Broadmoor’s ten-foot wall using a shed during a work detail, having been in the hospital for just one year.
During his escape, he killed again, this time attacking 5-year-old Linda Bowyer who was riding her bicycle in the local area.
Straffen was re-captured and sent to Brixton Prison and the escape led to a system of sirens being setup to warn of any escape from Broadmoor in the future.
He was initially sentenced to death for the third killing, a reprieve later moved through government and he spent time in a number of other British prisons including both Wandsworth and Horfield.
Straffen was secretly transferred to a new 28-cell high-security wing at Parkhurst Prison in 1966 and then later moved to Durham prison’s top security E-wing in 1968.
Straffen died at HM Prison Frankland in County Durham on 19th November 2007 at the age of 77, having never returned to Broadmoor.
He had been in prison for a British record of 20,206 days, the equivalent of 55 years, 3 months, and 26 days.
9 – Haroon Rashid Aswat
Linked to the 7 July 2005 bombings in London, Aswat was born in Yorkshire in 1979, to a Muslim family with roots in India and was raised in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.
He became involved with radical cleric, Abu Hamza at the Finsbury Park Mosque in 1995 and went on too help 200 UK-based Pakistani men to engage in terrorism in both Jammu and Kashmir.
American counter-terrorism officials began investigating Aswat in 2002 after he had called himself a “hit-man” for then al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.
Having come and gone from the United Kingdom in June 2005, he left shortly before the 2005 bombings and was later linked to making over 20 phone calls with the bombers.
Arrested in Zambia on the 20th July 2005, he was deported and re-arrested upon entry to the UK in August 2005.
Held in detention on a U.S. arrest warrant, a British judge approved Aswat’s extradition on 30 November 2006.
He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2008 and transferred to Broadmoor, making any extradition to the States impossible thanks to rulings by the European Court of Human Rights.
8 – Robert Torto
This Ghanaian hate criminal who murdered two Asian men in the London district of Kennington in 2006 was dubbed the “Son of God killer” in the British media.
Suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and having a history of assault, he began a series of hate crimes across London.
These included a petrol bomb, thrown into a newsagents shop, an attack on a South Norwood off licence and the fire-bombing of a food-and-wine shop in Kennington that killed two people.
Laughing as he fled the scene of the attacks, police later caught up with Torto, whom had a list of targets in his home which included hospitals, prostitutes and members of all non-Christian religions.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of arson with intent to endanger life and guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at the Old Bailey in 2007.
He was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act and was sent to sent to Broadmoor Hospital where he remains to this day.
7 – Peter Bryan
Attempting to throw another resident from his sixth-floor window of the Flying Angel, Custom House, East London, Peter Bryan had no action taken against him for this unprovoked attack.
He admitted the murder of 21-year-old shop assistant Nisha Sheth in 1994 and was sent to Rampton Secure Hospital before being moved through several accommodations as staff thought his mental state improved.
Having later been accused of indecently assaulting a 16-year-old girl, he was moved to the open psychiatric ward at Newham General Hospital for his own safety.
Less than one month later, Bryan attacked and killed his friend Brian Cherry on 17th February 2004 in what police describe as a despicable crime that potentially involved cannibalism.
Remanded to Broadmoor Hospital after appearing in court over Cherry’s death, Bryan killed again, this time attacking fellow patient Richard Loudwell while still locked up.
Pleading guilty to two manslaughters on the grounds of diminished responsibility at trial, he was handed a Whole-Life Order, later overturned to a minimum of 15-years.
The Lord Justice stated that it was unlikely Bryan would ever be released.
6 – David Copeland
Responsible for one of the worst terrorist attacks to ever hit London, David Copeland is, today, known as the “London Nail Bomber”.
His home-made nail bombs were detonated in Brixton, Brick Lane, and at the Admiral Duncan pub in Soho in the West End over three successive weekends between 17th and 30th April 1999.
Each bomb contained up to 1,500 4-inch nails which killed three people and injured 140 others.
A Neo-Nazi militant and a former member of two political groups, the British National Party and the National Socialist Movement, Copeland was charged with murder.
Aiming the bombings mainly at the black, Bengali and LGBT communities of London, Copeland was convicted of murder and given six life sentences.
Diagnosed by five psychiatrists as having paranoid schizophrenia and by one as having a personality disorder while at Broadmoor, he was eventually moved to Belmarsh Prison on a fifty year sentence.
Another three years was added to this after he attacked an inmate, meaning he will not be due for release until 2052 when he will be 76 years old.
5 – Gregory Davis
This English spree killer and former art student was convicted of the double manslaughter of Dorothy Rogers and her son Michael Rogers in 2003.
The attacks were carefully planned, even creating a work of art in school with the names of his favorite serial killers.
Five psychiatrists diagnosed him with major depressive disorder, social anxiety disorder, alcohol dependence and to be suffering from a psychotic episode at the time of the crimes.
The court accepted a guilty plea to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility taking into account the results of the mental health findings.
One of the very few people to be released on this list, he was initially transferred to Littlemore Hospital in 2009 before being granted release in 2011, before having all release conditions removed in 2014.
4 – Kenneth Erskine
Abandoned by both parents during childhood and attended various special schools, Erskine’s parents separated when he was just 12-years old.
He first attempted to kill when he was just 13-years old, having tried to drown his peers while on a school field trip.
Becoming more violent as he grew up, he became homeless and later carried out a number of burglaries.
Opening ten separate bank accounts with the proceeds of his crimes he served time in Feltham prison, before his serial killing began.
By the time he attacked his elderly victims, of whom there were seven in total, Erskine was a homeless drifter and solvent abuser and thanks to his previous convictions was linked through fingerprints.
Found guilty of seven murders in January 1988 and sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommended minimum term of 40 years.
He is due for release from Broadmoor in 2028, although it is unlikely he will ever see the light of day due to the nature of the crimes.
3 – Daniel Gonzalez
Inspired by horror films such as A Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th to become a “famous serial killer”, Daniel Gonzalez eventually became known as the “Freddy Krueger Killer”.
A British spree killer who murdered four people and injured two others during two days across London and Sussex in September 2004, he mainly attacked the elderly in a drug-fuelled rage.
Gonzalez’s mother, Lesley Savage had even written a letter to her local MP before the murders begging for help and even envisioning a terrible scenario.
After his arrest, he attempted suicide at Broadmoor hospital and had to be accompanied everywhere by officers in riot gear, such was his violent behaviour.
He was given six life sentences, with the trial judge recommending that he should never be released from Broadmoor.
Gonzalez died in 2007 while still confined to the halls of Broadmoor.
2 – Robert Napper
Convicted of two murders, one manslaughter, two rapes, and two attempted rapes, Robert Napper is considered to be one of the most dangerous people locked inside Broadmoor.
Napper has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia as well as Asperger syndrome and has been linked with the possible attacks on 70 other women in the “Green Chain Rapist” case.
Sentenced to indefinite detention at Broadmoor Hospital, In his summing up at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Griffiths Williams said to Napper: “You are on any view a very dangerous man”.
Many parts of the crimes are simply too disturbing to reveal here, however, one police photographer was forced to take two years leave.
1 – James Kelly
Confined to Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital in 1883 for the murder of his wife, Sarah Brider, Kelly was regarded as a model inmate.
Using a key he fabricated himself by modelling a piece of metal, he escaped the hospital and a fugitive arrest warrant to return him to the hospital was distributed.
The timeline of his escape coincided with the unsolved ripper murders in Whitechapel and as such, Kelly is one of many suspected of being Jack the Ripper.
Kelly is also thought to have committed a number of murders in the United States, which occurred soon after the murders in London stopped.
He unexpectedly turned himself in at Broadmoor and begged to be re-admitted, stating, according to a local newspaper: “I am very tired and I want to die with my friends”.
He told staff he had been on a crusade against evil while abroad and lived at the hospital for the remaining two years of his life.
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