HM Prison Belmarsh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

HMP Belmarsh
2017 Thamesmead aerial view 02b.jpg
Aerial view of HM Prison Belmarsh (centre).
To the left is HMP Isis, to the right is HMP Thameside
London, SE28 0EB
Security classAdult Male/Category A
Population910 (as of July 2008)
Opened1991; 31 years ago (1991)
Managed byHM Prison Services
GovernorJenny Louis
WebsiteBelmarsh at

Her Majesty's Prison Belmarsh is a Category-A men's prison in Thamesmead, south-east London, England. The prison is used in high-profile cases, particularly those concerning national security. Within the prison grounds there is a unique unit called the High Security Unit (HSU) which is a 48 single-cell unit regarded as the most secure prison unit in the United Kingdom. It is run by Her Majesty's Prison Service.


Belmarsh Prison was built on part of the East site of the former Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, and became operational on 2 April 1991. It is adjacent to and adjoins Woolwich Crown Court.

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".[1] 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.[2]

It is often used for the detention of prisoners for terrorist related offences. In September 2006, the number of such prisoners was 51.[3]

In May 2007, there was a violent disturbance in the prison, Sky News reported. At least four prison officers were injured.[4]

In 2009, an archaeological dig on site led to the 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.[5]

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.[6] The report also stated that an unusually high number of prisoners had reported being intimidated or victimised by staff at Belmarsh.

In 2010, HMP Isis Young Offenders Institution was opened within the perimeter wall of Belmarsh Prison.[7]

The prison today[edit]

Car park and main entrance

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 (Old Bailey) and Magistrates' Courts in South East London. It also 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 four residential units.[8]

Inmates at Belmarsh are offered access to education, workshops[9] and two gyms. One gym focuses on physical education courses and the other gym focuses on recreation, with use of a sports hall and a fitness room. The gym staff have a partnership with Charlton Athletic F.C. to deliver FA accredited coaching courses for prisoners.[10]

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.[11]

Notable inmates[edit]

Current inmates[edit]

Former inmates[edit]


  1. ^ "Belmarsh – Britain's Guantanamo Bay?". BBC. 6 October 2004. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  2. ^ "Data". The Times Online. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  3. ^ Tony McNulty Written Answers, 8 September 2006 col. 1701W Home Department – Terrorism
  4. ^ Staff hurt in jail disturbance | Metro News
  5. ^ Anon (12 August 2009). "London's earliest timber structure found during Belmarsh prison dig". News. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  6. ^ "'High levels' of force at prison". BBC News. 27 November 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  7. ^ "HMP/YOI Isis – improving prison with many young men which must address violence and force".
  8. ^ "Belmarsh Prison".
  9. ^ "Belmarsh Prison".
  10. ^ "CACT Over 25 Years". Archived from the original on 19 September 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Belmarsh Prison".
  12. ^ "Michael Adebolajo 'attacked in jail'". BBC News. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale plead not guilty to Woolwich". London Evening Standard. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Ali Harbi Ali appears at Old Bailey over murder of Conservative MP Sir David Amess". Sky News. 22 October 2021. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  15. ^ Rebaza, Claudia; Siad, Arnaud; Britton, Bianca (13 April 2019). "British MPs urge government to extradite Julian Assange to Sweden". CNN. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  16. ^ Kirk, Tristan (14 July 2021). "Motorist admits killing two people in Romford pile-up". Evening Standard. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  17. ^ Casciani, Dominic (28 October 2015). "Soho nail bomber David Copeland sentenced for prison attack". BBC News.
  18. ^ "What happened to the 'Night Stalker' depicted in Manhunt after he was caught by Colin Sutton". 30 September 2021.
  19. ^ "Wembley park killings: Danyal Hussein jailed for life for murdering sisters". BBC News. 28 October 2021. Retrieved 29 October 2021.
  20. ^ Hill, Patrick (26 November 2016). "Serial killer Stephen Port's jail letters include boasts of bedding TV star". Daily Mirror.
  21. ^ "Reading stabbings: Terror suspect Khairi Saadallah appears at Old Bailey". BBC News. 1 July 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  22. ^ Scheerhout, John (23 March 2020). "Fights, revenge and jihadi neighbours - what life is like for Arena killer Hashem Abedi in Britain's toughest prison". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  23. ^ "Manchester attack plotter Hashem Abedi refusing to participate in prison deradicalisation programme". ITV News. 28 July 2021. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  24. ^ "Michael Adebolajo 'attacked in jail'". BBC News. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  25. ^ "Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale plead not guilty to Woolwich". London Evening Standard. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2016.
  26. ^ "Lee Rigby killer Michael Adebowale in hospital with Covid-19". BBC News. 25 January 2021. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  27. ^ "Abu Hamza: from Soho bouncer to hook-handed cleric of hate." The Daily Telegraph. 10 April 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  28. ^ De Simone, Daniel (3 February 2020). "Sudesh Amman: Who was the Streatham attacker?". BBC News. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  29. ^ a b c d e f Rajani, Deepika (10 July 2020). "HMP Belmarsh inmates: from Tommy Robinson to Ian Huntley, the high-profile convicts detained at the London prison". inews. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  30. ^ "Radical preacher Anjem Choudary to stand trial on terror charges". BBC News. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 28 August 2015.
  31. ^ "Richard Huckle filmed himself abusing children and shared videos and pictures with fellow paedophiles on the dark web". Sky News. 1 June 2016.
  32. ^ "Prolific Paedophile Gets 22 Life Sentences". Sky News.
  33. ^ Evans, Martin; Bird, Steve; Wilford, Greg (30 November 2019). "Who was Usman Khan? The attacker who hoodwinked authorities to fulfil his terrorism dream of targeting London". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  34. ^ "Ex-inmate MP condemns UK prisons". BBC News. 12 August 2014.
  35. ^ Cobain, Ian; Taylor, Matthew (23 November 2016). "Far-right terrorist Thomas Mair jailed for life for Jo Cox murder". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2021.
  36. ^ Aspden, Kester (6 December 2019). "The making of a bedsit Nazi: who was the man who killed Jo Cox?". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  37. ^ Ross, Alice (27 June 2017). "Finsbury Park accused Darren Osborne appears at Old Bailey". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  38. ^ "Finsbury Park mosque attacker fears eye loss after prison stabbing". BBC News. 11 September 2021. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  39. ^ Moore, Steven (29 December 2020). "Essex lorry deaths: Truck driver Mo Robinson 'haunted' by memory of his crime". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 23 October 2021.
  40. ^ Pennink, Emily (18 November 2021). "Migrant deaths driver to sell 4×4 and watch to compensate victims' families". Evening Standard. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  41. ^ Norton-Taylor, Richard (15 March 2007). "Renegade ex-MI6 officer will not be prosecuted". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  42. ^ "Sarah Everard murder: Wayne Couzens given whole-life sentence". BBC News. 30 September 2021. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  43. ^ 1999: Liar Aitken jailed for 18 months BBC

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°29′47″N 0°05′34″E / 51.4964°N 0.0929°E / 51.4964; 0.0929