LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – A British serial killer, Robert Mawdsley, is marking an unprecedented milestone as he celebrates his 50th Christmas behind bars. At 70 years old, Mawdsley has spent the majority of his time in solitary confinement, leading many to believe that he holds the world record for the longest time spent in isolation by a criminal.
Mawdsley earned the moniker ‘Hannibal the Cannibal’ due to false reports claiming that he had eaten one of his victim’s brains. This reputation was established after he was imprisoned at the age of 21 for the murder of 30-year-old John Farrell in 1974. Just four years later, Mawdsley was placed in solitary confinement following three additional killings within the prison.
Mawdsley currently resides in an 18-foot by 15-foot cell, constructed specifically for him in 1983 and shielded by bulletproof glass. Despite his extended period of solitary confinement, Mawdsley has expressed contentment with his situation, describing it as being “like being buried alive in a coffin.”
Ongoing legal battles have seen Mawdsley repeatedly denied the opportunity to interact with others, remaining incarcerated in his custom-built cell until his death. This is in contrast to the spokesperson from The Ministry of Justice who refutes the concept of solitary confinement in the prison system, instead stating that some offenders are segregated if they pose a risk to others, and are still provided with time outdoors, visits, phone calls, and access to legal advice and medical care.
Despite this, Mawdsley has sought improved treatment during his incarceration, launching legal appeals and writing letters to newspapers advocating for greater liberties, including a desire for a pet bird. As one of Britain’s longest-serving prisoners, Mawdsley’s case sheds light on the complexities and challenges of managing high-risk individuals within the criminal justice system.