HM Prison Wakefield

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HMP Wakefield
Wakefield skyline - - 969212.jpg
HM Prison Wakefield dominates the skyline of Wakefield.
Location Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England
Security class Adult Male/Category A
Population 751 (as of November 2007)
Opened 1594
Managed by HM Prison Services
Governor Susan Howard

Her Majesty's Prison Wakefield is a Category A men's prison, located in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England. The prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service, and is the largest high security prison in the United Kingdom (and western Europe). The prison has been nicknamed the "Monster Mansion" due to the large number of high-profile, high-risk sex offenders and murderers held there.[1][2]


1944: "A view of an inmate's room at Wakefield Prison. Clearly visible are the bed, a chair, several small shelves, and slop bucket. The rest of the inmate's belongings, such as a pair of shoes and a comb, have been set out neatly, ready for inspection. Chalked on a small blackboard are the words 'soap please'."
In the engineering works, inmates are trained in a new trade as part of their rehabilitation and preparation for their return to society, 1944

Wakefield Prison was originally built as a house of correction in 1594. Most of the current prison buildings date from the Victorian times. The current prison was designated a ‘dispersal' prison in 1966 (the longest of the remaining original group).

"Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush"[edit]

The exercise yard at Wakefield has a Mulberry tree around which female inmates used to exercise. This has been linked to the nursery rhyme 'Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush' by the erstwhile prison governor, RS Duncan in his book 'Here we go round the mulberry bush' The House of Correction 1595 / HM Prison Wakefield 1995 (published by author 1994). This origin of the song is also propounded on the prison's website. There is no corroborative evidence to support this theory.

Recent history[edit]

In 2001, it was announced that a new Supermax security unit was to be built at Wakefield Prison. The unit was to be built to house the most dangerous inmates within the British prisons system, and was the first such unit of its kind to be built in the United Kingdom.[3]

In March 2004, an inspection report from Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons criticised staff at Wakefield prison for being disrespectful to inmates. The report claimed that the prison was "over-controlled", and a third of the prison's inmates claimed to have been victimised.[4]

The prison today[edit]

Wakefield Prison holds approximately 600 of Britain's most dangerous people (mainly sex offenders and prisoners serving life sentences for violent crimes against women and children). Accommodation at the prison comprises single occupancy cells with integral sanitation. All residential units have kitchens available for offenders to prepare their own meals. An Incentives and Earned Privileges system allows standard and enhanced offenders the opportunity of in-cell TV. All offenders are subject to mandatory drugs testing and there are voluntary testing arrangements, which are compulsory for all offenders employed as e.g. wing cleaners or kitchen workers.

HMP Wakefield offers a range of activities for inmates, including charity work, an accredited course in industrial cleaning, and a Braille shop where offenders convert books to Braille. The Education Department is operated by The Manchester College, and offers learning opportunities ranging from basic skills to Open University courses. Other facilities include a prison shop, gym, and multi-faith chaplaincy.

Notable inmates[edit]

Former inmates[edit]

  • Spy Klaus Fuchs, convicted of supplying information from British and American nuclear weapon research to the USSR, served nine years and four months of his fourteen-year term at Wakefield, between 1951 and 1959.
  • Child murderer and sex offender Ian Huntley was held at Wakefield until 23 January 2008 when he was moved to HMP Frankland[5]
  • Momcilo Krajisnik
  • Radislav Krstic
  • Serial killer Dr. Harold Shipman committed suicide at Wakefield Prison in 2004. Shipman had been on round-the-clock suicide watch at two previous prisons but such 'special measures' had not been deemed necessary after his transfer to Wakefield[6]
  • Ian Watkins transferred to Long Lartin[7]
  • Michael Sams, now in HMP Whitemoor in Cambridgeshire - as of 2013

Current inmates[edit]

Name Nationality Initial Year of Conviction Convictions Current Sentence Notes
Charles Bronson British 1973 Armed robbery
taking hostages in prison
Life Imprisonment He is described as Britain’s most violent prisoner.[8]
Jeremy Peter Andrew Green British 2014 Murder of Nicole Waterhouse and attempted murder of Karen Browne 34 years minimum Disgraced serving army officer tricked his way into the victims flat and subjected both women to a nine-hour attack.
Steven Barker British 2009 Rape,
Murder of Baby P
Life - 22 Years Minimum
Levi Bellfield British 2008 Burglary,
Attempted murder,
Disposal of Evidence,
Murder of Milly Dowler, Marsha McDonell, and Amélie Delagrange
Life Imprisonment
David Bieber American 2004 2x Attempted Murder of Police Officer,
1x Murder of Police Officer
3x Life Sentences
(recommendation entire life)
If he is ever released, he will also stand trial in Florida for 1x Murder and 1x Attempted Murder
Russell Bishop British 1990 Child molestation,
Child abduction
Minimum 14 Years Currently one of longest serving UK prisoners not sentenced for murder
Robert Black British 1990 Murder,
Sexual Assault,
3x Life Sentences Can only be considered for release after he turns 89 years old
Kamel Bourgass Algerian 2004 1x Police Officer Murder,
2x Police Officer Attempted Murders,
1x GBH of a Police Officer
22 years minimum (murder),
15 years (attempted murder),
(37 years minimum)
Suspected Al-Qaeda member
Mark Bridger British 2013 Murder of April Jones,
Child abduction,
Unlawful disposal of human remains
Whole Life Tariff Appeal against conviction abandoned
Sidney Cooke British 1989 Manslaughter,
Sexual assault,
Indecent assault,
2x Life Sentences (5 years minimum) Appealed against 1989 conviction and had sentence reduced.
Stephen Griffiths British 2010 3x Murders Whole Life Tariff Also known as The Crossbow Cannibal
Stuart Hazell British 2013 Murder of Tia Sharp Life (38 years minimum) Former boyfriend of the victim's grandmother
Mark Hobson British 2003 (2003) Assault with intent for GBH, breach of bail conditions and breaching the peace.
(2004) Theft and Deception.
(2005) 4x Murders.
4x Life Imprisonments with Whole Life Tariff
Arthur Hutchinson British 1984 3x Murders Life with minimul 18 years
Later extended to Whole Life Tariff
Following the European Court of Human Right's ruling that the Whole Life Tariff breaches Hutchinson's rights, the High Court is expected to set a new minimum term
Antoni Imiela British 2004 10x Rapes,
2x Indecent Assaults
7x Life Sentences (8 years minimum) + 12 years Rapes ranged from Black, White and Asian women, between 10 and 52 years of age.
Carl Manning[9] British 2001 Murder of Victoria Climbié and Child Cruelty Life Imprisonment He met Climbié and her great-aunt in London after they moved there from Ivory Coast, Africa. Both Manning and Climbié's great-aunt were sentenced equally for the murder and torture. Failings by numerous child protection agencies in the UK have been recorded, as signs of abuse were documented prior to the girl's death, however, no investigations took place beforehand.
Robert Maudsley British 1973 4x Murders Life Imprisonment with recommendation of Whole Life Originally convicted of a single murder. Killed three more while incarcerated. Currently deemed unfit to be among other inmates, and residing in a glass cell similar to Hannibal Lecter's in Silence of the Lambs - however, Maudsley's cell was built 8 years prior to the movie. The newspapers identify Maudsley as Hannibal the Cannibal due to rumours he ate one of his victim's brains.
Mick Philpott[10] British 2013 Manslaughter of 6 children in a house fire Life Sentence with 15 years minimum Sentenced along with his wife, and a friend. Prior to the conviction, he lived on state handouts from his 17 children - and was hugely criticised in the newspapers and by the public for doing so.
Roy Whiting British 1995 Murder of Sarah Payne and Rape and Abduction Life Imprisonment with minimum 40-year sentence Formerly served 4 years for admitting rape. Originally sentenced to life with recommendation of Whole Life Tariff, which was changed to 50 years by then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, and again being reduced to 40 years after an appeal. After the trial, the public found out he was convicted in 1995 of rape, leading to the campaign, Sarah's Law, a UK variation of Megan's Law from the USA.


  1. ^ Thompson, Tony (27 April 2003). "The caged misery of Britain's real 'Hannibal the Cannibal'". The Observer (London). Retrieved 13 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "A long way to go at 'monster mansion'". Wakefield Express (Wakefield). 6 October 2005. Retrieved 14 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "New unit for killer inmates". 23 January 2001. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  4. ^ "Staff 'disrespectful' to inmates". 25 March 2004. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  5. ^ "Soham killer treated for overdose". 5 September 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  6. ^ "Shipman suicide 'not preventable'". 25 August 2005. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  7. ^ "Ian Watkins moved to same prison as child killer Ian Huntley". wales online. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  8. ^ "Charles Bronson returned to Britain’s toughest prison after taking on 12 wardens 'while smeared with butter'". The Independent. 9 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Batty, David (30 January 2002). "Inquiry to hear from Victoria's killer". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  10. ^ "Derby fire deaths: Philpotts and Mosley jailed". BBC News. 4 April 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°40′57″N 1°30′33″W / 53.68250°N 1.50917°W / 53.68250; -1.50917