Serial Killer Spends Record-Breaking 50th Christmas Behind Bars

LONDON – A British serial killer, Robert Mawdsley, has set a world record by spending his 50th Christmas behind bars, most of which was in solitary confinement.

Now 70 years old, Mawdsley has spent around 45 years in solitary confinement, the longest-serving inmate in the British penal system. He was jailed in 1974 and has remained in custody since, earning the nickname “Hannibal the Cannibal” due to false claims that he ate one of his victim’s brains.

Mawdsley was locked up after he killed three inmates in 1978. Throughout his time in prison, he has remained isolated from other inmates and has spent the majority of his sentence in a special 18 by 15-foot cell built just for him in 1983, protected by bulletproof glass.

In a Channel 5 documentary, Mawdsley’s nephew revealed that his uncle, who he describes as “well-read” and “softly spoken,” is content with being separated from the rest of the world. Mawdsley himself has expressed conflicting feelings, saying he is “happy and content in solitary,” while also describing the experience as “like being buried alive in a coffin.”

Mawdsley’s time in prison has sparked controversy, with the killer launching a legal bid in 2000 to be allowed to die, as well as a request to keep a pet budgie, saying he “promised not to eat it.” It is also reported that Mawdsley is Britain’s longest-serving prisoner after the death of Moors murderer Ian Brady, who served 51 years before passing away in 2017.

The Ministry of Justice, while declining to reveal the prison that houses Mawdsley, has stated that there is no such thing as solitary confinement in the UK prison system. They explained that some offenders may be segregated if they pose a risk to others, but are still provided with time in the open air, visits, phone calls, access to legal advice, and medical care like all other prisoners.