Robert Maudsley is an infamous British killer, who is said to have committed four murders. Born and raised in Liverpool, he was one of the 12 children in his family. His murderous intent can be traced back to his childhood, when he was subjected to heavy abuse by his parents. He was eventually taken away from them and sent to ‘Nazareth House,’ a foster home, where he was looked-after by nuns. As a depressed and mentally unstable teenager, Robert attempted suicide several times and eventually became a drug addict. Robert tried very hard to lead a normal life, but was not able to. He started having sex with men in exchange for money. He committed his first murder in 1974, when he killed a man who had hired him to have sex with him. As a result of this brutal murder, he was sent to a hospital for the criminally insane. Subsequently, he killed a man in the hospital and was sent to prison. While serving his time in prison, he killed two fellow prisoners and was sentenced to solitary confinement. Following this, he is said to have repeatedly pleaded with the prison guards to either kill him or give him cyanide capsules. His request was naturally rejected and although he has shown signs of mental stability over the last few years, his release is highly unlikely.
Childhood & Early Life
Robert Maudsley was born in June 1953, in Toxteth, Liverpool, into a lower middle-class working family. He was one of the 12 children in the family and was frequently assaulted, both mentally and physically, by his parents. He is said to have remarked that he wished he had killed his parents while he was a kid, as that would have changed a lot of things for him.
His father was a drunkard and a violent man, who used to beat all his kids quite regularly. Robert was the one who was beaten the most and this turned him into a chronically depressed kid. He was eventually sent to ‘Nazareth House,’ a foster home run by nuns. However, his father did not let him stay there for too long and brought him back home.
In order to safeguard himself from the beatings, Robert would hide for days and when he would came back, he would be beaten more severely. The neighbours complained about this and Robert was finally taken away from his parents by social service authorities. Experts believe that those initial years of torture and pain had scarred Robert for life and had sown the seeds of a highly unstable and criminal life.
In the late 60s, when he was still a teenager, he moved to London and did odd jobs to support himself. Suffering from loneliness and depression, he turned to drug addiction to keep his mind away from his drab reality. He attempted suicide several times, but was never successful.
He is said to have told the doctors that he heard voices that urged him to kill his parents.
His urgency to arrange money for his expensive drug habit made him a sex worker. By the time he reached adulthood, his mental condition had deteriorated furthermore, and things began going downhill after that.
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The First Murder
Robert Maudsley was 20, when he was contacted by a client, a farmer named John Farrell. They had sex in March 1974, and after that, they developed a bond. Robert said that John was a child molester who was proud of his deeds. He showed Robert the pictures of the children whom he had molested, and this enraged Robert.
In a fit of rage, Robert strangled John with a garrotte and killed him. Robert pleaded ‘not guilty’ and was accused of manslaughter. He was sent to ‘Broadmoor Hospital,’ meant for the criminally insane, for life. He spent the next three years there, without causing any major trouble.
Murders & Sentence
During his time at the hospital and while he was going through the treatment, he teamed up with another patient and planned to kill another inmate, who had been accused of child sexual abuse. Robert and his friend held the man hostage and brutally tortured him for nine whole hours, before eventually killing him.
This incident did not sit well with the authorities and Robert was sent to the ‘Wakefield’ prison, which he thoroughly disliked. He made a plea to be sent back to the hospital, but it was denied. While in jail, he was watched closely and the security around him was tightened furthermore.
A 1978 afternoon in the ‘Wakefield’ prison turned out to be a shocker. A prisoner’s dead body was found in Robert’s cell. Several other prisoners also claimed that Robert had invited them to his cell but all of them had refused. Robert had garrotted Salney Darwood to death and had hidden the body under his bed.
The same day, he went around hunting for his second victim. By evening, Robert had located him. This time it was Bill Roberts. Robert used a spoon, pointed enough to be used as a dagger, and stabbed Bill several times after cornering him. He showed no sign of remorse over the murder and walked into the officer’s office, placed the dagger on his table, and told him that two prisoners will be short for the roll call that day.
These two murders led to an atmosphere of fear among his fellow prisoners and the security around Robert was further tightened. Other prisoners protested and asked for him to be taken out of the prison.
The authorities were also convinced that he was not fit for a normal prison sentence, and considered subjecting him to solitary confinement.
He was named ‘Hannibal the Cannibal’ after reports of him having eaten the brains of his victims surfaced. However, this was discarded as a mere rumor.
Life in Solitary Confinement
In 1983, a two-cell unit was built in the basement of the prison. Robert was to be kept there for the rest of his prison sentence. Thus, his chances of being released on parole ended.
The special cell built for him was a ‘glass cage,’ a two-room place that is said to have inspired the place where the infamous movie character ‘Hannibal Lecter’ was kept in the film ‘Manhunter.’
His cell is truly unique. A large steel door opens to a small cage-like space, and at the bottom of the cage, there is a small opening, through which the guards supply food and water to Robert. No guard or prisoner is allowed to talk to him.
Robert stays locked inside the room for 23 hours every day. He has been allotted one hour to exercise in the yard, where he is escorted by six officers. The glass walls in his cell are bulletproof and the guards can keep an eye on his activities all the time.
Robert had initially asked the officers to give him a cyanide capsule to end his life in peace, or to end his solitary confinement. Both his requests were rejected. Following this, in 2010, he is said to have requested the officers to play board games with him to kill his boredom in the cell.