HM Prison Belmarsh
|Security class||Adult Male/Category A|
|Population||910 (as of July 2008)|
|Managed by||HM Prison Services|
|Governor||Rob Davis OBE|
|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 to and adjoins Woolwich Crown Court: it 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 2009 an archaeological dig on site led to discovery of a 6,000-year-old trackway in the prison, the second oldest known wooden trackway in Northern Europe after the Sweet Track near Glastonbury.
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 FA 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.
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- Tommy Robinson (activist) - Former leader of the English Defence League and European Defence League
- Julian Paul Assange - Wikileaks founder
- Aidan James, on remand from February 2018 for fighting against ISIS
- Anjem Choudary, from 2016 Released on probation October 2018 to north London bail hostel.
- Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale – Islamic terrorists convicted of the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby
- Abu Hamza al-Masri Serving a life sentence at ADX Florence in Colorado.
- 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.
- John McAvoy - now an athlete who competes in the Ironman Triathlon and has attracted sponsorship from Nike.
- Ian Huntley – Psychopathic 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 – Spent 7 years incarcerated in Belmarsh Prison after being wrongfully convicted of the 1999 murder of Jill Dando
- Jonathan King
- David Copeland
- Jonathan Aitken
- Paul Magee
- Lotfi Raissi, 2001
- Richard Tomlinson
- Steve Wright
- Charles Bronson
- John Gilligan Irish Criminal.
- Curtis Warren – Removed from HM Prison La Moye in Jersey due to security risks.
- Stefan Williams-Dennis
- Rachid Ramda
- Stuart Hazell – jailed for life after pleading guilty to the murder of Tia Sharp
- Asil Nadir – Former CEO of Poly Peck PLC and billionaire businessman
- Gary Dobson and David Norris – Both convicted of the Murder of Stephen Lawrence
- 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
- Richard Huckle – Described as one of Britain's worst paedophiles; he was convicted of 71 serious sexual offences against children ranging from 6 months to 12 years old and subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment.
- Momcilo Krajisnik – political leader of Bosnian Serb in period of Bosnian war
- Denis MacShane – Labour Member of Parliament jailed for expenses fraud
- Thomas Mair – far-right extremist sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order for the Murder of Jo Cox
- Stephen Port – sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order for raping and murdering four gay men
- "Belmarsh – Britain's Guantanamo Bay?". BBC. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
- "Data". The Times Online. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
- Tony McNulty Written Answers, 8 September 2006 col. 1701W Home Department – Terrorism
- Anon (12 August 2009). "London's earliest timber structure found during Belmarsh prison dig". physorg.com News. PhysOrg.com. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- "'High levels' of force at prison". BBC News. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
- Rebaza, Claudia; Arnaud Siad; Bianca Britton (13 April 2019). "British MPs urge government to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden". CNN. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
- "Radical preacher Anjem Choudary to stand trial on terror charges". BBC News. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
- "Michael Adebolajo 'attacked in jail'". BBC News. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
- "Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale plead not guilty to Woolwich". London Evening Standard. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
- "Abu Hamza: from Soho bouncer to hook-handed cleric of hate." The Daily Telegraph. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- Dominic Casciani, 'Soho nail bomber David Copeland sentenced for prison attack', BBC News, 28 October 2015 
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- "Richard Huckle filmed himself abusing children and shared videos and pictures with fellow paedophiles on the dark web". Sky News. 1 June 2016.
- "Prolific Paedophile Gets 22 Life Sentences". Sky News.
- "Ex-inmate MP condemns UK prisons". 12 August 2014 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Jo Cox's PITIFUL killer Thomas Mair on jail suicide watch with Rigby monsters". 24 November 2016.
- Hill, Patrick (26 November 2016). "Serial killer Stephen Port's jail letters include boasts of bedding TV star". Daily Mirror.