Robert Maudsley, 68, is believed to be too dangerous to mix with prisoners and guards at HMP Wakefield in West Yorkshire. So he instead spends 23 hours a day locked alone inside a glass box beneath the jail, with a concrete slab to sleep on, a table and chair made of compressed cardboard, and a toilet and sink bolted to the floor.
It’s a specially constructed 5.5 metres by 4.5 metres, bullet proof glass cage built in 1983, nearly ten years after his prison sentence began. He was jailed for killing a series of people, including John Farrell after he’d showed him photos of children he’d abused and Salney Darwood, a man who killed his own wife in the 1970s.
Maudsley begged the courts to allow him to die in 2000, reports Liverpool Echo.
He wrote in a letter: “What purpose is served by keeping me locked up 23 hours a day? Why even bother to feed me and to give me one hour’s exercise a day? Who actually am I a risk to?
“As a consequence of my current treatment and confinement, I feel that all I have to look forward to is indeed psychological breakdown, mental illness and probable suicide.
“Why can’t I have a budgie instead of flies, cockroaches and spiders which I currently have. I promise to love it and not eat it?
“Why can’t I have a television in my cell to see the world and learn? Why can’t I have any music tapes and listen to beautiful classical music?
“If the Prison Service says no then I ask for a simple cyanide capsule which I shall willingly take and the problem of Robert John Maudsley can easily and swiftly be resolved.”
But Maudsley, who suffered years of abuse at the hands of his father as a child, had murdered his first victim, Mr Farrell, when he was just 21 in the early ’70s.
Maudsley had turned to sex to earn money but killed Mr Farrell, his client, in Wood Green, north London.
Declared unfit to stand trial and sent away with the recommendation that he never be released, Maudsley was locked up in Broadmoor Hospital, home to some of Britain’s most dangerous criminals.
But three years later, he and fellow prisoner, David Cheeseman, barricaded themselves inside a room with tied up child molester, David Francis.
The pair tortured Francis to death before dangling his body for prison guards to see.
Charged with manslaughter, Maudsley was moved to the maximum security Wakefield Prison where he found his final two victims.
In a murderous rage on July 29, 1978, Maudsley first strangled and stabbed Mr Darwood, a 46-year-old who was locked up for killing his wife.
After hiding Darwood’s body under a bed, he then creeped into the cell of Bill Roberts, 56, who had sexually abused a seven-year-old girl.
He stabbed Roberts, hacked his skull with a makeshift dagger and smashed his head against a wall.
Reports at the time of his murders claimed he’d left a spoon in the skull of his second victim, who was missing part of his brain, although an autopsy report later showed that the story was incorrect.
After this final two victims, Maudsley acquired a nickname that stuck: “Hannibal the Cannibal”.
During his final trial in 1979, Maudsley claimed he was thinking of his parents during his vigilante violence, wishing he had killed them in 1970.
Robert Maudsley’s older brother Paul once said: “I’ve always thought ‘There but for the grace of God go I . . .’ I could easily have turned out like Bob.
“But I was lucky. I ended up with someone who loved me and showed me affection. Kevin, who now lives in Bradford, West Yorkshire, was the same. We’re both married with four kids.
“But for Bob, the chain of abuse was never broken; he’s been abused all his life.”