Murderer Alan Houchin, freed after 46 years, says 'there are no manners any more'

The rapist and killer was one of Britain's longest-serving prisoners

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The Independent Online

A rapist and murderer freed after 46 years in jail has complained about a decline in manners since he entered prison.

Alan Houchin, 75, told The Sun: “There are no manners any more.”

“The biggest change I have found since I’ve been in jail is in people. Everyone is me, me , me,” he said.

“It’s all about instant gratification.”

Houchin was given a life term in 1965 for raping and strangling 16-year-old waitress Shona Berry after she refused to have sex with him in a park in Margate, Kent. 

After he was freed in 1976 he went on to rape a 19-year-old shop assistant. His life sentence was reimpsoed upon conviction.

His sentence was increased after he spent two weeks on the run when he escaped from prison officers while visiting his dying father in a south London hospice. He was rearrested at a shopping centre near Dartford railway station in Kent.

Houchin was subsequently transferred to a higher security jail and became one of Britain’s longest-serving prisoners until his release this month.

Speaking to The Sun from a council home in Swanley, Kent, where he lives with his partner, he said: “No one has respect for themselves or for anyone else. On one of my first town visits I went to a supermarket, opened the door for a woman and she said, ‘I’m quite capable of doing it myself’.

“People are so rude, they bang into you and push past you. The sense of community has gone.”

Houchin, who has always denied the rape charges, told the newspaper: “I’m as guilty as sin of the murder. It was a terrible thing.”

He said he had kept himself informed while locked up: “Some people do six months and when they come out they are lost but I have always kept up. I’ve looked after myself. I am not bitter.”