broadmoor hospital

Broadmoor Hospital

Known as one of the three high-security psychiatric hospitals within the UK, Broadmoor Hospital lies in the south east of Berkshire. It has been a male-only hospital since 2007, when the females were removed and distributed to other high security hospitals such as Rampton.

The infamous hospital originally opened its doors in 1863, and has witnessed a wild array of patients throughout the years. From the artistically gifted, Richard Dadd, to the notorious Peter Sutcliffe, this psychiatric hospital has held some of history’s most memorable criminals.


The Criminal Lunatic Asylums Act of 1860 primarily focused on the assessment of the mentally ill patient, in the attempt to define whether criminals were of sound mind at the time of their crime. The act clarified the legal test of insanity, named the M’Naghten Rules, and had the eventual aim of improving the accuracy of the justice system and the quality of life inside the asylums of the time, including the notorious Bedlam.

 The M’Naghten Rules

 In light of the new act, the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum was designed by Major General Joshua Jebb, and opened its doors to patients in May 1863. An influx of women arrived at the hospital, many of whom had murdered their babies, due to what we now know as post-natal depression. This is the era before psycho-surgery and medication, and the patients were subjected to daily doses of Occupational Therapy and rest. The surprisingly pleasant treatments resulted in patients flourishing in their new surroundings and demonstrated a new wave of psychiatry. During World War I, the patients residing in block one were removed, making room for a prisoner-of-war camp. Entitled: Crowthorne War Hospital, the block was now specifically for the German soldiers who were deemed ‘mentally unstable.’


  • The Escape of John Straffen

It was the summer of 1951 when serial killer, John Straffen, murdered two young girls in Bath. He was arrested and it became clear to authorities that he was mentally disturbed. He was found not fit to plea, and was sent to Broadmoor hospital to serve his sentence. In April the following year, Straffen managed to escape by jumping onto a shed roof and over a 10 foot wall. Wearing civilian clothes underneath his work outfit, he removed his outer layer and walked away from the building undetected. After speaking casually with neighbours about the unfortunate location of their homes, and the likelihood of patients escaping Broadmoor, Straffen fell upon a young girl named Linda Bowyer. The five-year-old was riding her bike around the village when she encountered Mr Straffen, and within half an hour she was dead.

After leaving her body, Straffen once again began talking to the residents of Crowthorne including one lady who he persuaded to drivejohn Straffen him to the bus stop. When the car approached the bus stop, Straffen noticed what he thought to be policemen close by. He demanded the car be stopped, and he exited the vehicle and ran away. The concerned driver approached the uniformed men, who were infact Broadmoor nurses, and informed them of her passengers odd behaviour. Straffen was apprehended within minutes and taken back to Broadmoor hospital.

The body of Linda Bowyer was found at dawn the following day, and on hearing of the child killer’s escape, the police immediately went to Broadmoor to interview Straffen. The patient insisted he was innocent of the crime, pleading “I did not kill the little girl on the bicycle” before any such details were disclosed to him. He was charged with Linda’s murder on May 1st, and whilst it was determined he should be in a psychiatric hospital, it was also deemed too dangerous to send him back to a place that could not securely detain him. Therefore, Straffen was remanded to Brixton Prison where he served out his sentence.

John Straffen’s easy escape highlighted serious flaws within the security at Broadmoor Hospital. The Ministry of Health conduced a full inquiry into the escape, and recommended that warning sirens should be set in place to alert the surrounding areas. Should a dangerous patient manage to escape the premises again, alarms, much like the WWII air raid sirens, would be activated. This system exists to this day, and it is tested each Monday morning for a total of two minutes. The alarm can be heard across the surrounding villages, sending a weekly reminder of the domineering building which lies next to their homes.

The Current Broadmoor hospital

The NHS is now in control of Broadmoor Hospital, and is keen to demonstrate that it is a high-security psychiatric hospital, not a prison. It holds approximately 230 male patients, all of whom are detained under the Mental Health Act. Broadmoor is split into two main sections, one of the patients who are diagnosed with a personality disorder, and the other for all other mental illnesses. The Care Quality Commission pays frequent unexpected, visits to the hospital to ensure the patients’ treatment, security and care is to the highest possible standard. According to the Broadmoor Visitors leaflet:

‘A multi-disciplinary clinical team cares for each patient so that all aspects of their needs can be considered in their treatment and recovery. A clinical team consists of: a consultant forensic psychiatrist, a ward manager, primary and other nurses, a social worker, a psychologist, a psycho-therapist, an occupational therapist and other therapists as needed. Wards also have security liaison nurses who help ensure patients and staff are in a safe environment.

Current Broadmoor StaffAs well as the clinical team staff, we also have a physiotherapist, a dietician, a hospital chaplain, a dentist, teachers, art and music therapists and vocational staff working at the hospital. Modern day mental health care uses an ‘evidence-based’ approach. In other words, practices evolve based on what’s proven to get the best results for patients. Tools and techniques are developed based on an evaluation of what works in particular situations, and this enables ‘best practice’ to be easily replicated by others.

Day to day on the ward, patient care is provided by qualified nurses and healthcare assistants. It’s their job to spend time with patients, to get to know them and understand them and ensure they feel safe and supported. They will also be making assessments of the patient as they do this, so that decisions about treatment and progress reviews are made in light of the best possible information.’ 

Notable Patients

Charles Bronson – Known as the most violent prisoner in prison by the British press, the armed robber befriended the Kray brothers and become renowned for his protests and attempts to murder fellow patients.

David Copeland – The infamous ‘London Nail Bomber’ killed three people and injured a further 139 by passers. Renowned for his Neo-Nazi tendencies, he was given six life sentences and diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

Thomas Hayne Cutbush – Cutbush was committed to Broadmoor Hospital after stabbing a woman in the buttocks, and attempting to stab another woman. This man is another suspect in the infamous Jack the Ripper killings for many reasons, one of which includes the fact that the killings ceased from the day of his arrest.

Richard Dadd – After spending 20 years at Bethlem Hospital (Bedlam) for the murder of his father, Dadd was transferred to Broadmoor. Here, he was encouraged through occupational therapy to paint, and has since become one if Britain’s most beloved artists.

Richard Dadd

Gregory Davis – His murder spree on January 28th 2003 killed two people and injured another. He was found to be suffering from a psychotic episode at the time of the crimes and sentenced to Broadmoor indefinitely. He was transferred to Littlemoor Hospital in 2009.

Ibrahim Eidarous – This Egyptian militant and alleged leader of southern based al-Jihad was held in the UK, when documents were found indicating a link between the al-jihad militants and al-Qaeda. He was diagnosed with cancer whilst staying at Broadmoor, and died in 2008.

Kenneth Erskine – Known to be one of Britain’s most horrific serial killers, Erskine murdered up to 11 people on his killing rampage. He was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders, but this was later reduced to manslaughter when his mental health issues became prominent. He remains in Broadmoor to this day, and is unlikely to be released before 2028.

June and Jennifer Gibbons – The identical twins developed a cryptophasia, and spoke in a language that was often deemed incomprehensible to outsiders. They began a writing career, but as this began to fail they resorted to a life of crime. They were sentenced to Broadmoor, where they carried out a 14 year sentence.

Daniel Gonzalez – Inspired by Freddie Krueger and Friday 12th, Gonzalez aspired to be a gruesome serial killer. In September 2004,Freddy he murdered four people and injured a further two in a three day killing spree. In his cell, he chewed through an artery in his arm, in an attempt to kill himself. He failed, and was sent back to Broadmoor. He slit his wrists with a CD case in 2007 and died.

James Kelly – Although this man was sent to Broadmoor for the murder of his wife, he is best known as a possible suspect in the Jack the Ripper killings. He was regularly used the prostitutes in Whitechapel, and Spitalfields and murdered his wife on the suspicions that she too was a prostitute and had infected him with VD.

Ronald Kray – One of the Kray Twins, Ronnie was an English gangster who was notorious for organised crime in the East End of London. The pair were arrested in 1968 and due to Ronnie’s mental condition, he was sent to Broadmoor where he lived out the rest of his days. He died in 1995 of a massive heart attack.

Robert Maudsley – Although he was initially sent to prison for the murder of one person, Maudsley continued to kill a further three people behind bars. After killing a fellow patient at Broadmoor, he was sent to prison, where he murdered two in mates. His gruesome behaviour, and false rumours of cannibalism earned him the nickname ‘Hannibal the Cannibal. To perpetuate the name, he remains confined in a cell made from perspex, with cardboard furniture. He is never allowed out on his own.

Roderick McLean – In 1882, McLean tried to assassinate Queen Victoria with a pistol. It was a futile effort, but it landed him in Broadmoor, where he eventually died in 1921

Dr. William Chester Minor – Known as The Surgeon of Crowthorn, Minor was once an army surgen, who went on to shoot a man he believed to have broken into his room. He was deemed to be insane, and sent to Broadmoor, and it was here where he made several contributions to what would be the Oxford English Dictionary. Much like Richard Dadd, he flourished in the treatment of occupational therapy.

Daniel M’Naghten – Whilst suffering from paranoid delusions, M’Naghten killed civil servant, Edward Drummond. His trial began theDaniel M'Naghten realisation of the criminally insane, and incited need for change, also known as the M’Naghten Rules. He was sent to Broadmoor after spending 21 years at Bethlem, and eventually died in 1865.

Robert Napper – This British serial killer murdered three people, one of whom was a four year old girl. He is also suspected as being the Green Chain Rapist, who brutally raped over 70 women. Napper is also notorious for the crime scenes he left behind, forcing one police photographer to take over two years off from his work.

Edward Oxford – This man was the first of many people to attempt to assassinate Queen Victoria. She was in her carriage with husband, Prince Albert in the summer of 1840 when Oxford fired two shots. He missed and was apprehended, causing him to spend time in both Bethlem and Broadmoor. He was later released and moved to Australlia where he became a sucessful author and the ‘poster boy’ for reformed mental illness.

John Straffen – in the summer of 1951, Straffen killed two girls which resulted in his incarceration in Broadmoor prison. His escape led to the death of a five year old girl, and prompted the realisation that security measures needed to be made for the surrounding areas of Broadmoor Hospital.

Peter Sutcliffe – Perhaps one of the worst serial killers of all time, Peter Sutcliffe, aka The Yorkshire Ripper left 13 bodies in the trail of his murderous path. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and eventually sent to Broadmoor hospital, serving 20 life sentences with no possibility of release.

Peter Sutcliffe

Roy Shaw – As an English millionaire, Shaw is said to be one of Broadmoor’s richest patients. During the 1970’s-1980’s, Shaw was deeply involved with the world of organised crime and was a known associate of the Kray Twins.

Graham Young – Young was sent to Broadmoor Hospital in 1962 after poisoning his family and killing his step-mother. Tragically, he was released in 1971 and he went on to poison a further 70 people, two of whom died. He was not sent back to Broadmoor however, and lived out his days in Parkhurst Prison.

Jimmy Savile at Broadmoor

Since the death of Jimmy Savile in October 2011, over 500 reports have surfaced of sexual abuse and molestation of girls, primarily in the age group between 13-15 years of age.

Savile at BBC

Savile earned the trust of the British public through his role at the BBC, first on his show ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ and then on ‘Top of the Pops’ in the 1970’s. He quickly became a household name, but it is now known that during his time at the BBC he systematically molested and raped multitudes of teenage girls in his changing rooms. As his celebrity status grew, Savile gained access to hospitals and children’s homes alike, in a bid to ‘entertain’ those who were vulnerable and suffering.

One of the hospitals which Savile frequently attended was Broadmoor. He was first invited onto the premises in the late 1960’s by a hospital charity to organise entertainment for both the staff and patients at the hospital. Since then, he often visited the patients, offering entertainment and support to those in need. During this time, Savile was given unlimited access around the hospital, and even had his own set of keys to the building. In 1971, Savile brought a 14 year old girl into the hospital to sing for the patients. At the time, this was not questioned, but experts are now asking how a child of such a young age was allowed into the high security psychiatric facility.

Task Force

During the 1980’s, Broadmoor reached a crisis point. It’s reputation was one of violence towards the patients, and it was operated much more like a prison than a hospital. The hospital was in need of a huge change, one that would transform the facility and the public opinion of it. A task force was created to develop such changes, and Jimmy Savile was appointed the leader of this group, giving him power and control within Broadmoor. He was given an office and a house on the premises, and complete freedom to visit patients in their rooms whenever he desired.

Jimmy Savile at Broadmoor

At the time, the doctors and nurses at Broadmoor were stunned to find the former DJ running the hospital, and were perplexed as to how he obtained the position without any credentials or experience. In a BBC Panorama, aired on 2nd June this year (2014), it was revealed that Savile was pushed for the position by a senior civil servant from the department of health. In the programme, a confidential memo was shown, sent by Edwina Currie, the civil servant to an authority figure within the government. During the memo, Savile is repeatedly named ‘Dr Savile’, implying that he had a doctorate in psychology, when he only had an honorary doctorate in Law.


At the time when the memo was sent, the staff at Broadmoor were discussing an over-time ban with their union representatives which was set to go ahead. This was causing great issues for the department of health, and the confidential memo claimed that Savile could ‘deal with the unions’ and quickly transform Broadmoor. Mrs Currie then went on to add her own opinion: “I doubt he will let anyone stand in his way, and he clearly doesn’t mind how many people get trampled under foot in the process.” Edwina Currie claimed that Savile told her of his exact plans on how he would ‘deal with the unions’. He said that he knew of nurses who were subletting their staff accommodation and fixing their overtime figures, and intended to blackmail them into calling off the overtime ban.

After one month of Jimmy Savile leading the task force at Broadmoor, the overtime ban was called off and Savile had the power which he desired. The confidential memo also went on to describe the need for a general manager at Broadmoor, and expressed Savile’s desire to hire a man named Alan Franey, who was the former administrator at Leeds General Infirmary. He and Savile had met at Leeds hospital when Savile was volunteering there as a celebrity porter, and had become good friends since then. Just a month after the memo was sent, Alan Franey was appointed as the General Manager of Broadmoor Hospital. In his defence, Freney claims that he applied for the position in an ‘open competition’ and did not gain his role because of Jimmy Savile.

Jimmy Savile in Broadmoor Office

Savile was renowned across the country as a ladies man, and it was no secret in the BBC that he kissed most women on the lips whom he greeted. The staff at Broadmoor noted his ‘sleazy’ behaviour among them and the patients, but no action was taken, just as it wasn’t within the BBC. Even Edwina Currie noted in her memo: “You might have warned me of his penchant for kissing ladies full on the mouth.”

During the 1990’s, three women wrote to the Patient’s Council, informing them that they had been sexually abused at the hands of Savile whilst in Broadmoor. The council sent the claims on to Alan Freney, who denies any knowledge of such reports. Also during this time, several women were transferred to another facility from Broadmoor, and confessed to nurses at their new hospital that Jimmy Savile abused them. One nurse reported these allegations to her boss, who gave her a verbal warning and threatened to fire her should she mention it again.

To date, there are 16 separate claims of sexual abuse in Broadmoor at the hands of Jimmy Savile, all of whom were vulnerable women who were to afraid to speak out whilst he was alive.

A joint investigation is now under way between the Department of Health and The Board of West London Mental Health NHS Trust (WLMHT) to find out exactly what occurred in the Broadmoor, and how such a dangerously manipulative and abuse man was allowed to run the high security psychiatric facility.

The Board of West London Mental Health NHS Trust (WLMHT)

West London NHS TRUST


The Board of West London Mental Health NHS Trust (WLMHT) and the Department of Health (DH) have commissioned a joint investigation into the role Jimmy Savile played at Broadmoor Hospital following allegations that he sexually abused patients.
Two similar but separate investigations are taking place at Leeds General Infirmary and Stoke Mandeville Hospital into the role Jimmy Savile played at those NHS trusts.

The investigation at Broadmoor is being carried out jointly with the DH because the hospital reported directly to the Department between 1949 and 1989, to the Special Hospitals Service Authority between 1989 and 1996 and to the Broadmoor Hospital Authority between 1996 and 2001. Broadmoor Hospital has been part of the West London Mental Health NHS Trust since 2001.
The process will thoroughly investigate the role that Jimmy Savile had at Broadmoor Hospital and should reassure the public, patients and staff that current policies and safeguarding procedures are fit for purpose and will prevent this type of recurrence in future. Any issues identified by the investigation will be actioned and appropriate systems will be put in place.

Constitution of the Investigation Team and Panel

The investigation will be led by a single investigator who is not a current employee of either organisation; the investigator will report to the West London Mental Health NHS Trust and the Department of Health. A local oversight panel, containing independent members, will offer challenge and advice to the investigation team (but not direction or instruction) as their work progresses.

The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, has asked Kate Lampard, a former barrister, to provide independent oversight of the DH and NHS investigations. Dr Bill Kirkup CBE will be the lead investigator for the joint DH and WLMHT investigation. Bill was acting chair and a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel which recently published its findings into the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster and has led numerous service reviews within the NHS. He has had a distinguished career as a public health consultant and as Associate Chief Medical Officer at DH and Director General of Clinical Programmes.

The oversight panel will consist of seven members with expertise in mental health services and safeguarding:

  • Chairman – Nigel McCorkell, Chairman of West London Mental Health NHS Trust
  • Vice-Chairman – Bruce Calderwood (Director of Mental Health Policy DH)
  • Independent Non-Executive Director – John Bacon (Chairman Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust)
  • NHS London/NHS Commissioning Board/National Trust Development Authority – Victoria Man
  • Safeguarding Lead – Zoë Johnstone, Bracknell Forest Local Authority
  • Representing service users – Paul Jenkins (CEO Rethink)
  • Independent secure services expert – Granville Daniels

The following individuals will support the oversight panel:

  • Leeanne McGee – Executive Director of High Secure Services, West London Mental Health NHS Trust (Leeanne will act as the Trust main contact point and coordinate support for Dr Kirkup)
  • Gwen Nightingale – Deputy Director, Department of Health (Gwen will act as the main Departmental contact point for the investigation)
  • Helene Feger – Director of Communications, West London Mental Health NHS Trust
  • Gerard Hanratty – Partner, Capsticks

Conduct of the Investigation

The trust board and the permanent secretary at the Department of Health will receive progress reports.
The report and any action plan flowing from the report’s findings will be received and approved by the trust board and the Department of Health’s representative on the local oversight panel before being presented to the independent oversight team, led by Kate Lampard,  and finally the secretary of state for health.


The investigation team will:

  • carry out their investigation in private
  • ensure the proper treatment of those who give evidence to the investigation, particularly vulnerable witnesses. Full details will be set out in a witness protocol
  • ensure that the discovery work is robust and proportionate to the allegations/concerns raised
  • gather evidence to support the investigation including but not limited to hospital and official Departmental files, Hansard (Parliament’s official report), statements from staff, interviews with victims and witnesses and examination of past and present practice, policy and procedure
  • work with the Metropolitan Police, and any other police force investigating these matters as appropriate
  • coordinate and maintain links with relevant external bodies including the local safeguarding boards and NHS London (and subsequently the National Trust Development Authority)
  • coordinate and maintain links with the investigation teams in the other NHS Trusts undertaking similar investigations and the BBC
  • work closely with the independent oversight team, led by Kate Lampard throughout the course of the investigation.
  • maintain an audit trail of all information relevant to the investigation.

The Department of Health

Department of health


The Board of West London Mental Health NHS Trust (WLMHT) and the Department of Health (DH) have commissioned this investigation into the role Jimmy Savile played at Broadmoor following allegations that he sexually abused patients.

Terms of Reference

Broadmoor Hospital reported directly to DH between 1949 and 1989, to the Special Hospitals Service Authority between 1989 and 1996 and to the Broadmoor Hospital Authority between 1996 and 2001. Broadmoor Hospital has been part of WLMHT since 2001.

DH and WLMHT will work together, with independent oversight from Kate Lampard, appointed by the Secretary of State for Health to oversee the NHS and DH investigations, to produce a report that will:

  • thoroughly examine and account for Jimmy Savile’s association with Broadmoor Hospital, including approval for any roles and the decision making process relating to these
  • review the access arrangements and any privileges accorded to Jimmy Savile, the reasons for these and whether they were subject to usual or appropriate supervision and oversight
  • review relevant policies, practices and procedures that were in place during Jimmy Savile’s association with Broadmoor Hospital and compliance with these
  • investigate past and current complaints concerning Jimmy Savile’s behaviour at Broadmoor Hospital or connected to his role there, including – what occurred, who was involved, whether complaints were appropriately reported, investigated and addressed and, if not, the reasons for this
  • review Jimmy Savile’s fund-raising activities associated with Broadmoor Hospital and any issues that arose in relation to governance or accountability for and use of the funds
  • consider the part played by Jimmy Savile’s celebrity status or his fund-raising role in relation to the matters mentioned above
  • review the adequacy of current complaints, safeguarding, whistle blowing and other relevant policies, practices and procedures relating to the matters mentioned above relevant to the DH and Broadmoor Hospital
  • identify recommendations for further action

The investigation does not have the power to impose disciplinary sanctions or make findings as to criminal or civil liability: where evidence is obtained of conduct that indicates the commission of criminal and/or disciplinary offences, the police and/or relevant employers will be informed.

Investigation Team

The investigation will be led by a single investigator who is not a current employee of either organisation. The investigator will report to WLMHT and DH. A local panel, containing independent members, will challenge and offer advice to the investigation team (but not provide direction or instruction) as their work progresses.

How the Investigation will be carried out

  • The investigation team will:
  • carry out their investigation in private
  • ensure the proper treatment of those who give evidence to the investigation, particularly vulnerable witnesses – full details will be set out in a witness protocol
  • ensure that the discovery work is robust and proportionate to the allegations and concerns raised
  • gather evidence to support the investigation including but not limited to hospital and official departmental files, Hansard (Parliament’s official report), statements from staff, interviews with victims and witnesses and examination of past and present practice, policy and procedure
  • work with the Metropolitan Police and any other police force investigating these matters, as appropriate
  • co-ordinate and maintain links with relevant external bodies including the local safeguarding boards and NHS London (and subsequently the National Trust Development Authority)
  • co-ordinate and maintain links with the investigation teams in the other NHS Trusts undertaking similar investigations, and with the BBC
  • work closely with the independent oversight team, led by Kate Lampard, throughout the course of the investigation
  • maintain an audit trail of all information relevant to the investigation

The investigation will be concluded as promptly as possible, while ensuring its thoroughness.

Report and Recommendations

The Trust Board and the permanent secretary at DH will receive regular progress reports from the investigation team. The lead investigator will produce a written report that identifies any lessons to be learned and makes recommendations for improving systems and policies.

The report and any action plan flowing from the report’s findings will be received and approved by the Trust Board and the permanent secretary at DH before being presented to the independent oversight team, and finally to the Secretary of State for Health. The final investigation report will be published, as requested by the Secretary of State.

Other Investigations into Jimmy Savile’s Activities

Investigations are also being carried out into Jimmy Savile’s involvement in Stoke Mandeville Hospital and the Leeds General Infirmary. Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Buckinghamshire NHS Health Trust are leading respectively on these investigations:

  • terms of reference for Leeds General Infirmary investigation
  • terms of reference for Stoke Mandeville investigation

When the investigations have concluded, each will produce a report and these will be made public.
Kate Lampard, a former barrister, is providing oversight to these three investigations. She will ensure that they follow a robust process aimed at protecting the interest of patients. In light of any findings or recommendations from the investigations she is overseeing, she has also been asked to identify any themes that could improve processes or guidelines more widely. This is an important part of learning lessons from the investigations being undertaken.

Recent News

Police at Broadmoor17/04/2014 – Small Scale Riot at Broadmoor

Details have emerged of a small scale riot which occurred in Broadmoor hospital in July 2013. Both Police and NHS officials failed to make the information public,and the information only surfaced after a whistle-blower spoke out.

The concerned whistle-blower informed the ‘Health Service Journal’ that due to severe staff shortages, patients were being locked in their rooms for up to 20 hours a day. Three months previous to the riot, regulators investigated claims of “inadequate levels of staffing” in the concern that too many patients were being placed in seclusion.

Despite these claims, a spokeswoman for the West London Mental Health Trust denies that the riot occurred because of a shortage of staff, and in fact claims that there was no riot at all, and it was simply a small incident revolving two patients.

Regardless of the claims, both ambulance and police officers in riot gear were called to Broadmoor Hospital after violence broke out on the 12 bed Epsom Ward. An investigation was pursued by the Mental Health Trust, but they could not release the report to the public as it would compromise the hospital’s security.

Allegedly, during the riot, several prisoners suffering from personality disorders ceased control of the nurses’ office and obtained the medical records of other patients in the hospital. The West London Mental Health Trust refuses to either confirm or deny this allegation.

Broadmoor ITV Access03/11/2014 – Broadmoor Opens its Doors to the Media

For the first time since its opening in 1863, Broadmoor Hospital has permitted the ITV film crew unprecedented access to the facility and its patients for a two part documentary entitled ‘Broadmoor.’ The first part of the documentary is set to air on 5 November 2014 and is focused on interviews with both the staff and patients regarding their crimes and daily life within the hospital.

ITV state ‘In the first programme, cameras are present when one patient refuses medication and it has to be forcibly administered. Another patient with a history of violence on the intensive care ward refuses to return to his room and has to be physically restrained and moved by staff. In one interview, a patient reveals he has never been able to articulate the details of his violent offence and another man speaks about his frighteningly abusive childhood during a session with his psychiatrist. Interviews with staff reveal that on high dependency wards violent incidents occur every other day.’

One ward which is heavily focused upon in the documentary is the Cranfield Ward, which is the home to many of Broadmoor’s most violent patients. According to ITV, violence in the ward is a frequent occurrence. Each patient on the ward is permitted a short amount of time on their own in the exercise yard, yet they often refuse to come back in once their time is over. The patients tend to react violently towards the staff in this situation, and they are frequently forced back into their room. ITV state that ‘Strict protocols have to be followed in these instances and a team of staff manages to escort the patient back to his room without causing himself or the staff any serious injuries. Whenever force has to be used staff take time out to debrief afterwards.’

Consent was needed by all patients and staff alike to perform such interviews and filming, and many inmates were incapable of doing so. High profile patients, such as Peter Sutcliffe refused to give consent, which means that they will not be appearing in the documentary.

New Broadmoor PhotosNew Broadmoor Photos

Broadmoor entrance6/11/2014 – ITV ‘Broadmoor’ Part One

After five years of negotiation, the ITV camera crew were granted access to Broadmoor hospital. The documentary was filmed over the period of a year, following patients from different wards on their journey of rehabilitation. It aired 5 November 2014.

The hospital has been known as a secretive and mysterious institution for generations. From the outside, the facility looks eerily quiet, as though it were a ghost town. However, behind the walls lies a bustling and active community of mentally ill patients, with a wide range of mental disorders and crimes. Broadmoor has a reputation for housing some of the worst criminals in British history, but this documentary focuses on the lesser-known patients, who make up a vast population of the hospital.

Broadmoor Gates

During this segment of the documentary, the crew shadowed a number patients in their daily activities. They were interviewed numerous times about their mental state and views on the institution. The patients’ names were changed for the documentary to protect their identity:

  • Frank
  • Alex
  • Daniel
  • Declan
  • Lenny

Alex, a 24 year old, arrived at Broadmoor seven months ago. He was transferred to the facility from serving a life sentence in prison, as his violent mood swings were too excessive for the prison system to cope with. When asked what he was like without his medication, he replied:

“I’m quite a nasty person. I’m quite violent, or very violent in most circumstances. Very anti-social. I don’t like spending time with people. I’m paranoid, very paranoid. Every person who’s around me, I’m thinking: what’s their intention? And sometimes I come very close to attacking people, cos I’m thinking that they’re going to do something to me, and I don’t want to get hurt first.”

Alex at Broadmoor

He was placed on an administration ward and was working with his mental health team to be placed on to an Assertive Rehabilitation unit instead. The Canterbury Ward is an Assertive Rehabilitation ward, and the patients within it are granted greater freedom and privileges. Daniel, another patient resides on this ward, and his room is very different to that of Alex. Daniels room is filled with books, his artwork on the wall, shelves and a rug, where as Alex’s is bare with very little decoration.

Daniel is one of 12 patients on the Canterbury ward, and has been there a total of five years, and was placed immediately into the rehabilitation unit. Here he was encouraged to use his creative ability as an outlet for the guilt he felt about his crime, and the frustration of being locked up from the age of 14. The specific details of his crime were not allowed to be broadcast, but it was reported that he committed a violent crime against one or more of his family members.

In the Assertive Rehabilitation ward, patients are given their own key to their rooms, and are allowed to move about they ward as they please. Those who are well enough are permitted to leave the ward and work, study or even shop in another building on site. Patients who go to work during their stay at Broadmoor make items which are then sold on to the public,and they receive 80p an hour. Despite this apparent freedom that patients are granted, they are constantly under watch, from both the hospital staff and CCTV.

Control Room Broadmoor

When not carefully observed, patients have been known to find items to create weapons with, such as CDs or plastic cutlery. They either use them to hurt others or inflict harm upon themselves.

The Chepstow unit is a medium dependency ward, which is where the patient ‘Lenny’ was located. He had been in Broadmoor for seven years, and was openly voicing his frustrations with the camera crew. When the interviewer asked him if he thought he should be at the hospital, he replied:

“No, I don’t think I should be here. I want to share this [points to his artwork] and my life with other people … I don’t think I’m any more of a danger that what’s already out there.”

Lenny also informed ITV that he was pursuing a High Court case against the hospital to expose the malpractice used, particularly in relation to him. However, upon speaking with his doctor, the crew quickly learned that there was no such case.

Whilst filming, Lenny became increasingly manic and hyperactive. His doctor asked him to take some medication, which he firmly refused. Quickly, a team of nurses came to the side of the doctor and try to talk him into talking the medication. Instead of doing so, Lenny ran away in the opposite direction, and the camera crew were promptly asked to leave.

The following day, Lenny claims that he was moved into a small segregation room, where he was manhandled and injected into his buttock. He was adamant that he was compliant and polite the entire time, and was extremely angry at the way he was handled. After explaining what had happened to him, Lenny asked the interviewer what she thought of the story. She replied by informing him that he did actually hit one of the staff members, but he quickly brushed over that fact.

When interviewing Lenny’s doctor, he reported that one of the biggest conflicts between the patients and the doctors is medication. The vast majority of the patients are in some form of delusional state, and do not believe that they are mentally ill. Because of this, they refuse to take any medication, and battle with the staff when it comes time to take it.

The documentary also explores the intensive care unit, called the Cranfield Ward. This section of the hospital is reserved for those with the most severe mental health conditions, and those who pose the greatest threat to themselves and those around them. Such patients are notoriously violent, and have a history of attacking staff at the hospital and their former prison guards.

Intensive Care Ward Broadmoor

Any contact with these patients is planned in advance and is carried out according to a strict procedure which varies depending on the specific patient. In one segment of the film, a six person unlock is required to open a patient’s door. This means that the door cannot be opened unless six people are present. The Clinical Nurse Manager, Ken Wakatama claimed:

“Our focus when working with these guys is to tell them they are here [Intensive Care] not because of their illness, they’re here because of the violence. And they will only progress from here is there is a reduction in that violence. That message, it might take time, but eventually it starts going through.”

On this ward, the patients are only allowed out one at a time, at specific times of the day and to predestined locations. During the filming, one of the patients was asked to return to his room and he became verbally abusive and refused. His nurse gave me an additional half an hour to calm down before they would come and get him, but he continued to taunt and threaten the staff waiting inside. After the 30 minutes had passed, he still refused to come inside, and the ITV crew were asked to turn off their cameras. They were told that this patient was unable to give consent, and could therefore not be filmed.

Broadmoor Trouble

There are a total of 15 wards in Broadmoor hospital, and patients are placed among them according to their crimes and mental state. Patients are given a mixture of different treatments throughout their stay, including medication, psychological therapy and everyday interaction with the nurses. If they respond to this combination, they are able to progress to the Assertive Rehabilitation. If they are responsive to this ward also, after a period of time a release date may become a possibility.

Despite many examples of patients being released, it is a known fact that unlike prison, there is no release date for the patients at Broadmoor. The patients have a saying about the institution:

“There’s time, and then there’s Broadmoor time.”

Broadmoor Building20/11/2014 – ITV ‘Broadmoor’ Part Two

Part two of the ITV documentary entitled ‘Broadmoor’ was aired on 12 November 2014, and primarily focused on the patients at Broadmoor and their eventual release.

The Clinical Director at Broadmoor, Dr Amlan Basu spoke of the common misconceptions that the general public and the media have of the hospital. He claimed that the general consensus is that the vast majority of patients at Broadmoor are incurable,and destined to remain locked up forever. “This simply isn’t true. The mental disorders that we treat here are very amenable to treatment.”

Wards such as Cranfield, the intensive care unit for the most acutely mentally ill patients have high levels of security, almost like a prison. The patients are only allowed out one at a time, and the staff deal with them with extreme caution. The nurses on the ward are trained to deal with all situations, from forcing medication to an individual patient to handling a full scale riot. However, it is clear that the intensive care unit and the high dependency wards serve as a temporary residence for most patients. The continual goal is to reduce the risk the patients impose upon themselves and others, and to gradually reduced their amount of care and security.

The documentary heavily focused on the assertive rehabilitation units, such as the Canterbury Ward. Here, a patient named ‘Adam’ was introduced to the camera crew. Adam had spent four years on the Canterbury ward, and a previous nine years on a high dependency ward before that. He was given a life sentence for arson, and was seven years into his sentence when his self harming became so acute that he was sent to Broadmoor. Adam had a long history of self harming, and during his time in prison, the severity of his wounds dramatically escalated.


He spoke of his traumatic childhood, and the reasoning behind his self mutilation. “The way I felt l was that my parents didn’t love me as much as they should have. I was sexually abused by several people outside of the family, and because of the sexual abuse, the self harm started taking place when I was about eight years old. It started out with pulling out toe nails and things like that. I also started setting fires at that age as well. I just sort of grew up hating everybody, hating society, hating life. Self harm was a way of me escaping all that.”

Adam showed the film crew around his room, to which he had a key to. All patients on this ward have their own key for their rooms, but the staff all hold override keys. Adam’s room was around six foot by three foot, and had an additional space for a toilet, basin and wardrobe. The main section of his room contained a single bed, a bedside table and a wide screen television, alongside a small stereo and general living products such as laundry detergent, tea bags etc. He is one of Broadmoor’s patients who is scheduled to leave the facility on a trial basis, and is allowed out to visit the medium secure unit, 30 miles away from Broadmoor.

However, as the documentary progresses, it becomes clear that Adam can only be moved into the medium secure unit when a patient leaves that facility. Which is another slow process. He gradually becomes frustrated with the system, and begins to throw items around his room, smashing them. He claimed that under normal circumstances, he would use the broken shards to cut himself, but he was able to resist on this occasion.

Another patient was interviewed extensively on the same ward, who was given the name of ‘Dylan’. “I got born into a Satanic family. Very, very violent. In some cases, it would have been better to have killed me than to have allowed me to have had this abominable life that I’ve had. My father, thankfully, died a homeless alcoholic. He was the bone breaker. He would break my bones and leave me in the attic, and that’s be it. So I had to learn pain very quickly.


My father raped and beat my mother badly. In his twisted thinking, he could raise the demon from some kind of hell by raping her the way that he did. The moment I was born, she freaked out and said “your eyes are evil. You’re evil.” And that was it. She just tried killing me. She made me eat cat’s food all the time. She was keeping me locked up in the attic. I wasn’t allowed to talk to my brothers or my sister. My mother, she also liked the sexual abuse. She was adamant that every single avenue of my childhood was going to be destroyed. And she done her best at that. I was pretty thin. I had to steal my food… For the first time I was allowed to go to kindergarten, and I could smell the box of food. The sandwiches and that. So I scoffed my face big time and then set fire to fit.”

Dylan was taken into care at the age of seven. As an adult, became a homeless alcoholic arsonist with violent tendencies. During the filming of the documentary, he was being assessed to see if he was fit for release by his psychiatric team. It was eventually decided that although he still needed to remain hospitalised, he no longer required such high levels or care and security.

The Admissions Ward was another focus point of the film, and carried out interviews with a patient named ‘Anthony’. Like many of his fellow patients, he too was initially incarcerated due to arson. He claimed that his mental health began to decline around the age of 19, when he was at university:

“When I was 19 I started eating a large amount of cannabis resin. I had a glimpse of what I thought, on cannabis, were things that could solve problems for the whole world. I became very grandiose. I believed that the sum of the total energy in the universe was God and therefore you are God, and I’m God. This bed is, effectively, God. And then just doing bizarre and unusual things, like climbing bridges and surfing on trains. I was taken back to hospital because I drove past a police car on the pavement.”

Around the same time, Anthony claims that someone tried to break into him home and attacked him. Afterwards, Anthony barricaded himself in his house out of fear, and tried to attract his neighbours attention by setting a fire at his window.

He was sent to a medium secure psychiatric unit, but started a fire there, so was quickly sent to Broadmoor. He had been on the Admissions Ward for five months when the crew began their filming of him. He had not been moved out of the ward in this duration, as he was refusing to take the anti-psychotic medication that his psychiatrist had recommended. Anthony claimed that he had previously taken the drug, and did not like it.

“My introduction to the mental health system was a jab full of medication that, when you wake up, you just feel absolutely terrible. You can’t function. You can’t communicate. You can’t do anything. It effectively makes me mentally disabled.”

Anthony’s psychiatrist explained to him that without medication, he would not be allowed back out into society. So in effect, if he did not agree to his treatment, he would remain locked up in Broadmoor forever. Days after his interview, Anthony refused go go back to his room, and threw himself on the floor singing prayers. The staff carried him to a seclusion room and forcibly injected him with medication.

Doctors at BRoadmoor

A meeting was eventually called, which involved Anthony’s care team, solicitor, brother and himself, in which his treatment plan was discussed. Anthony continued to declare his hatred for medication, and his disdain at the hospital for injecting him against his will. Once gain, the staff pointed out that the medication was necessary in order to control his illness, and that his lack of cooperation would only prolong his time at Broadmoor. After another psychotic episode, Anthony finally agreed to begin taking the anti-psychotic medication and was moved to an Assertive Rehabilitation Ward.

The final part of the Broadmoor documentary demonstrated that there is a route out of Broadmoor for many patients. It is no longer a dumping ground for society’s rejects like it was known as in the Victorian era, but an NHS hospital that is designed to help those in dire need.

A new hospital is being built in the same vicinity, and talks of the original Broadmoor being turned into a hotel are under way. ITV claim that this documentary will be the last one to ever be made on the original Broadmoor hospital.

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