Kier wins contract to build new Broadmoor

The construction company Kier is to build a new £115m high-security home for notorious murderers including the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe.

The West London Mental Health Trust yesterday named Kier as the winner of the contract to build the new Broadmoor mental health hospital at Crowthorne in Berkshire, one of only three such high-security establishments in Britain.

The hospital – to be built within the existing grounds – will replace the ageing Victorian facilities at Broadmoor, which took its first patient in 1863. The current main building, which is listed, could be sold for flats or used as nurses' accommodation.

The trust says the outdated layout of the centre makes it more difficult for staff to offer modern services and treatments to patients.

The new hospital will house 162 mental health beds, although some of the more modern buildings from the existing hospital will stay in use, giving room for 210 patients in total.

The hospital is not a prison although its roster of infamous residents – which have included Ronnie Kray and Charles Bronson – means security has always been tight. A patient last escaped from the hospital in 1993, triggering the installation of a second perimeter fence and additional alarm and control systems.

Kier will begin work on the project later this year, and the hospital will begin accepting patients in 2017.

Shares in Kier rose 26p to 1,403p.

The first 'patient'

Although Broadmoor is best known for its psychopathic male inmates, its first "patient" was Mary Ann Parr, a 35-year-old labourer from Nottingham who suffocated her illegitimate baby on her breast. First sentenced to death, after medical examination showed she had severe learning difficulties she was given a life sentence and "treatment" for her condition. Parr was sent first to Bethlem Royal Hospital in London – "Bedlam", as it was commonly known. In 1850 overcrowding at Bethlem led to a decision to build a new secure hospital, Broadmoor, to treat severe mental illness.

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