Broadmoor may be converted into hotel
Redevelopment plan for home of Yorkshire Ripper and Moors murderer
It has been home to some of Britain's most notorious murderers. Now Broadmoor hospital, the country's best-known high-security psychiatric hospital, could be sold off to developers and converted into a hotel or luxury flats.
The Victorian buildings, which house 260 of the most dangerous and violent patients, may be transformed with the inmates' old rooms being turned into apartments or hotel bedrooms. The money raised by the sale would help to pay for a new psychiatric hospital for male patients, among them Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, Steve Wright, the Suffolk Strangler, and Rachel Nickell's murderer, Robert Napper. It is anticipated that the new hospital would cost around £288m.
A spokesman for West London Mental Health NHS Trust, which owns the 53-acre Broadmoor Hospital site near Crowthorne, Berkshire, said: "We have plans to build a new hospital alongside the existing Broadmoor site. These plans are currently with the Department of Health. Buildings and land in the current hospital complex which were no longer needed by the NHS could be sold. A possible buyer might wish to adapt the buildings for a number of uses – which might involve hotel or housing facilities – but there would be planning constraints due to some of the buildings being listed."
The plans were drawn up in 2003 but await final approval. The provisional completion date of 2016 could be pushed back to 2023 because of the credit crunch.
Concerns have been raised about the standards of care at Broadmoor for 20 years. In 2003 the hospital was described as "totally unfit for purpose" and lacking "basic standards of dignity and privacy" by the Commission for Health Improvement. Hospital bosses were under pressure to improve facilities after the suicides of three patients in 18 months – including the death in 2007 of the "Freddy Krueger killer" Danny Gonzalez, who wondered what it would be like to be the villain from the Nightmare on Elm Street horror films, and went on a three-day rampage in September 2004 killing four people and attacking two others.
Last summer, a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) into the West London Mental Health Trust that runs Broadmoor painted a grim picture of an institution blighted by weak management, poor staffing and training, inadequate facilities and overcrowding. The hospital had been forbidden from removing window bars used by patients to hang themselves because the building was listed. Between 2001 and 2008, there were eight suicides, five by hanging.
Broadmoor Hospital was the country's first purpose-built asylum for the criminally insane, opening in 1863 after the creation of the Criminal Lunatics Act 1860, also known as the Broadmoor Act. Its patients have included Roderick MacLean, who attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria in 1882. He was sent there after being tried for high treason and found "not guilty by reason of insanity". Dr William Chester Minor, a former US Army physician, spent 38 years in the hospital after killing a man outside his house in London. While staying there he sent thousands of pages of information to the first Oxford English Dictionary. More recently its inmates have included the Moors murderer Ian Brady, Charles Bronson – known as the "most violent prisoner in Britain" – Ronnie Kray, and Kenneth Erskine, known as the Stockwell Strangler.
Since a patient, John Straffen, escaped in 1952 and murdered a local child, an air-raid siren is tested at the hospital every Monday morning. If it sounds at any other time, people in Crowthorne village must keep their children inside, as it means there has been another break-out.
- 1 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 2 Kate Moss: Previously unpublished nude photo revealed by Mert and Marcus
- 4 World Book Day: Boy 'excluded' from school after dressing up as Fifty Shades' Christian Grey
- 5 Bad Jews poster 'censored' on London Tube
Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
Indian woman creates 'Marriage CV' after parents put her on dating site: 'Definitely not marriage material. Won’t grow long hair, ever'
Becky Watts: Four appear in court charged with hiding body parts after teenager's death
Isis 'bulldozes' Nimrud: UNESCO condemns destruction of ancient Assyrian site as a 'war crime'
Professor Brian Cox brands astrology-believing Tory MP David Tredinnick an 'outlier on the spectrum of reason'
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Elif Shafak: Turkish author warns against rise of British nationalism
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'
£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...
£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...
£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...