Ian Brady force fed in secure hospital

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The Independent Online

The Prison Service yesterday began to force feed Moors murderer Ian Brady, in an attempt to break his 30-day-old hunger strike after the killer's condition began to deteriorate.

The Prison Service yesterday began to force feed Moors murderer Ian Brady, in an attempt to break his 30-day-old hunger strike after the killer's condition began to deteriorate.

Brady, now 61, has refused all solid food for almost a month in protest at an alleged assault when he was moved to a new ward at Ashworth secure hospital in Merseyside. Brady has remained in his room at the hospital following an allegedly rough transfer to the high security Lawrence Ward on 30 September, during which he claims that his wrist was fractured. Police are investigating.

Brady has been accepting liquids, including tea and coffee, since he began his hunger strike and up until yesterday the prison authorities had agreed not to supplement his intake with sugar or other food solutions. But yesterday, according to Brady's lawyer, Robin Makin, the prison had "stuffed a tube down his throat" and began to feed him against this will. The tube is supplying a glucose solution.

The Prison Service's policy is not to intervene in hunger strikes but the authorities at Ashworth claimed yesterday that they had the right to intervene because it was part of Brady's treatment at the hospital and they were bound by a duty of care.

That claim was rebuffed by Brady's lawyer who said he would be seeking an injunction from the courts to have the feeding tubes removed. The prison had exceeded its remit, said Mr Makin, because Brady's hunger strike was the product not of a mental illness but a rational decision.

Mr Makin said that the hospital decision was a potential breach of human rights. He said: "The critical issue is this: Do the authorities have the right to force feed somebody who does not want to be forcibly fed - even if that means they may die?"

Mr Makin added: "He is very angry indeed. He is being fed against his will and he has asked me to do everything possible to challenge the hospital. I have yet to be informed under what authority they believe they can do this and we are in the process of examining what can be done to stop them. Certainly if he was still in prison there would be no question of force feeding him."

His hunger strike decision followed a security crackdown on his ward, following the discovery of a crude knife made from a bucket handle found taped under a sink in the ward.

In letters, Brady has claimed that hospital staff strip searched him, and then pinned him down for over an hour in an assault during which he suffered a broken wrist. He also claims he could not write for 10 days because of injuries he suffered when his arms were violently twisted up his back.

Brady was jailed in 1966 for the murders of Lesley Ann Downey, 10, Edwards Evans, 17, John Kilbride, 12, Keith Bennett, 12, and Pauline Reade, 16. Following a deteriorating psychiatric condition, he was transferred to Ashworth in 1988.

Brady's protest follows that of convicted firebomber Barry Horne, who undertook a 68-day hunger strike last year in a protest designed to bring an end to vivisection.