HM Prison Belmarsh
|Location||Thamesmead, London, England|
|Security class||Adult Male/Category A|
|Population||910 (as of July 2008)|
|Managed by||HM Prison Services|
|Website||Belmarsh at justice.gov.uk|
Belmarsh Prison was built on part of the East site of the former Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, and became operational on 2 April 1991. Belmarsh is adjacent and adjoined to Woolwich Crown Court, as such the prison is used in high-profile cases, particularly those concerning national security.
Between 2001 and 2002, Belmarsh Prison was used to detain a number of people indefinitely without charge or trial under the provisions of the Part 4 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, leading it to be called the "British version of Guantanamo Bay". The law lords later ruled in A v Secretary of State for the Home Dept that such imprisonment was discriminatory and against the Human Rights Act.
It is often used for the detention of prisoners for terrorist related offences. In September 2006 the number of such prisoners was 51.
In November 2009, an inspection report from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons criticised the "extremely high" amount of force used to control inmates at the prison. The report also stated that an unusually high number of prisoners had reported being intimidated or victimised by staff at Belmarsh.
The prison today
Belmarsh is a Category A Prison holding prisoners from all over the United Kingdom. In addition Belmarsh is a local prison, accepting different categories of prisoners from primarily the Central Criminal Court and Magistrates' Courts in South East London. In addition the establishment serves Crown and Magistrates' Courts in South West Essex. Accommodation at the prison is a mixture of approximately 60% multi-occupancy cells and 40% single cells, distributed mainly across 4 residential units.
Inmates at Belmarsh are offered access to education, workshops, two gyms, one focusing on Physical Education courses and one recreational, with use of a sports hall and a fitness room. The gym staff also have a partnership with Charlton Athletic F.C. to deliver F.A. accredited coaching courses for prisoners.
A listener scheme for prisoners at risk from suicide or self-harm is in operation at Belmarsh. There is also a support group for foreign national prisoners, providing advice on immigration law.
- Anjem Choudary, 2015
- Denis MacShane
- Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale -Extremists convicted of the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby
- Abu Hamza al-Masri
- Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, 2005
- Jeffrey Archer, 2001 - Archer wrote about his stay in Belmarsh in the first volume of A Prison Diary and used the setting extensively in his novel A Prisoner of Birth.
- Ian Huntley - Psychopathic paedophile and child killer who was held there during his trial involving the Soham Murders, prior to being moved to HMP Wakefield.
- Dhiren Barot
- Ronnie Biggs
- Andy Coulson - Former editor of News of the World and press secretary to Prime Minister David Cameron, convicted in June 2014 of conspiracy to hack phones.
- Barry George
- Jonathan King
- David Copeland
- Chudi Ajufo
- Jonathan Aitken
- Paul Magee
- Lotfi Raissi, 2001
- Richard Tomlinson
- Steven Gerald James Wright
- UK DrinkOrDie Members, 2005
- Charles Bronson
- John Gilligan Irish Criminal
- Curtis Warren - Removed from HM Prison La Moye in Jersey due to security risks. Will return to Jersey in December 2015 for sentencing.
- Stefan Williams-Dennis 
- Rachid Ramda
- Stuart Hazell
- Asil Nadir - Former CEO of Poly Peck PLC and billionaire businessman
- Gary Dobson and David Norris - Both convicted of the Murder of Stephen Lawrence
- Colin Gunn
- Karl Bishop - A sociopathic murderer serving 20 years for murdering Harry Potter actor, Robert Knox, as well as wounding his friends outside a bar where the murder took place
- Jake Fahri - A sociopathic killer serving 14 years for murdering Jimmy Mizen
- John Worboys
- Ramzi Mohammed
- Muktar Said Ibrahim
- Yasin Hassan Omar
- Richard Huckle - One of Britain's worst paedophiles who was convicted of 71 serious sexual offences against children ranging from 6 months to 12 years old.
- Belmarsh - Britain's Guantanamo Bay?
- Terror suspects to be freed from Belmarsh
- Tony McNulty Written Answers, 8 September 2006 col. 1701W Home Department - Terrorism
- "'High levels' of force at prison". BBC News. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
- "Radical preacher Anjem Choudary to stand trial on terror charges". BBC News. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
- BBC News - Michael Adebolajo 'attacked in jail'
- Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale plead not guilty to Woolwich murder of Lee Rigby - Crime - News - London Evening Standard
- "Abu Hamza: from Soho bouncer to hook-handed cleric of hate." The Daily Telegraph. 10 April 2012. Retrieved on 5 June 2013.
- Dominic Casciani, 'Soho nail bomber David Copeland sentenced for prison attack', BBC News, 28 October 2015
- "He murdered his enemies. Now from his cell, Colin Gunn is murdering British justice by insisting on his 'human rights'". Daily Mail. 12 December 2011.
- "Richard Huckle filmed himself abusing children and shared videos and pictures with fellow paedophiles on the dark web.". Sky News. 1 June 2016.