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These are Strangeways most notorious inmates

With some surprising entries…

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Peter McDermott / Geograph

Strangeways, officially known as HM Prison Manchester, has been home to executions, riots and some of Britain’s most notorious criminals.

It’s been home to some very infamous criminals over the years, as well as some people that will genuinely surprise you.

The prison isn’t too far from Manchester’s City Centre, and if those walls could talk…

Credit: Dickinson’s Real Deal

David Dickinson
Let’s kick off with a weird one, shall we?! The nation’s favourite shade of orange and self-confessed antique expert, David Dickinson, served three whole years of a four-year sentence there.

It was way back when he was 19 and got arrested for fraudulent trading. He’s since described this time as ‘horrendous’ and that he learned to ‘take it on the chin and accept it was his own fault’.

Dale Cregan
Easily one of Manchester’s most notorious killers of this century is Dale Cregan. The one-eyed murderer began his life of crime from an early age dealing drugs.

Cregan shot Mark Short in the Cotton Tree Pub in Droylsden and attempted to kill three other men. He violently murdered Short’s father a few months later. He then made national headlines when he lured two female police officers to his property, ambushed them with gunfire and a grenade brutally murdering them both.

He handed himself in and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a whole life order on June 13th 2013.

Merseyside Police

Paul Taylor
The famous ringleader of the 25-day Strangeway riot of 1990, Paul Taylor famously ended up on the roof of the prison.

The riot is still the longest prison riot in British history. One prisoner was killed alongside 147 injuries to police officers. Taylor and Alan Lord were sentenced as the ringleaders and were charged with the murder of Derek White, a prisoner who died of his injuries from the riot.

Strangeways suffered extensive damages which required a £55m refurbishment of £55m.

Val Kerry / Flickr

Ian Brady
The child murderer and paedophile Ian Brady is one half of Britain’s infamous killing pair, The Moors Murderers.

The pair brutally murdered five innocent children and buried their bodies in the vast Saddleworth Moors. Brady was found guilty of three murders on 6th May 1966 and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Ian Brown
An unlikely person to ‘bump into’ if you ever found yourselves wandering the halls of Strangeways would be Ian Brown. But the Stone Roses frontman was sentenced to four months in the summer of 1998.

He was charged for threatening behaviour towards a British Airways flight attendant and captain. He served two months of his sentence and wrote three songs including ‘Free My Way’.

Emily Davison
Suffragette Emily Davison visited Strangeways twice in her efforts for the women’s rights movements. First for disrupting a meeting with Chancellor David Lloyd Geoge and throwing rocks at the windows. During this imprisonment, she went on a hunger strike losing 21 pounds and was released just five and a half days later.

Her second visit just two months later, for throwing stones, saw her in Strangeways for two and a half days. Davison later died after being kicked in the head by a horse during the suffragette’s demonstration where she ran onto the course at Epsom Derby.

Harold Shipman
Shipman is Britain’s most prolific serial killer, with his victim number lying between 215 and 260 people. He often targeted the elderly, injecting them with lethal doses of diamorphine.

His killing spree lasted for 23 years, creating one of the worst cases of serial killings ever documented. He was arrested on September 7, 1998, and was held in Strangeways. His trial took place at Preston Crown Court in 1999 and it took four months to find him guilty of just 15 cases of murder.

He was sentenced to 15 life sentences and a four-year sentence for forgery. He was transferred to Wakefield Prison in 2003 where he committed suicide on the eve of his 58th birthday.

Dyfed-Powys Police

Mark Bridger
Bridger was charged with child abduction, murder, and attempting to pervert the course of justice on October 6, 2012. April Sue-Lyn Jones disappeared after being sighted climbing into a van near her home a national and very public appeal followed to find her.

The morning after her disappearance, Bridger was arrested. He pleaded not guilty but a series of DNA evidence suggested otherwise. He also later confessed to a prison chaplain that he was ‘probably responsible’ for her death. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.


Mother describes the night she frantically searched for her daughter during the Manchester Arena attack

‘It was the worst fear you could ever imagine’

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Emma & Matthew Hartley / Wikimedia

A mother has spoken of how she frantically searched for her daughter on the night of the Manchester Arena attack.

It was just like any other summer evening in the city, six years ago, when groups of young Ariana Grande fans flocked to the Manchester Arena, to enjoy an evening watching their favourite pop star perform live.

Parents dropped their excited kids off at the steps as they joined their friends to sing along to songs, dance and have a good time.

Watching on as their young ones were growing into young adults and telling them to ‘have fun’ but ‘be safe’ too — no one expected the horrific events that would unfold.

Matthew Hartley / Wikimedia

Lisa, a mother of two daughters, waved her youngest off as she went to the concert with her friend — she was 14 at the time — and worried just as any mother would, knowing her daughter was about to go to her first concert without her.

She said: “The concert itself was the first that she could go to on her own. I’d been to every other Ariana Grande concert with her. They got dropped off by her friend’s mum, and then we [Lisa and her eldest daughter] were picking them both up.

“Me and my eldest daughter sat in the car waiting for her. And my eldest was going to meet my youngest daughter on the steps as they came out.”

Lisa waited in the car as her eldest daughter went over to wait for her younger sister and her friend on the steps near the main entrance. Lisa was sitting in the car wearing her pyjamas after just having a bath, and  was listening to music.

Keith Williamson / Wikimedia

Her eldest daughter was on the phone to her friend but she couldn’t hear anything so she moved away from the entrance and down the steps just moments before the explosion — close to where the bomb went off.

“And the next thing, my eldest phones me, ‘mum, a bomb’s gone off!’, and then her phone died,” Lisa said.

She frantically tried to call her daughter back but there was no signal and her eldest daughter’s phone was completely dead. She tried to call her youngest daughter and her friend — who were both still inside the arena — but calls wouldn’t go through. Panic set in.

Lisa continued: “ At this point, I’m thinking the worst. I’m thinking they’re all dead. I started running towards the arena as everyone was coming out. Crowds of people were coming out; some were injured, some were crying.

Family handouts

“Parents collapsed when they saw their kids and were just hugging them in relief on the floor.

“I still tried to call the kids but couldn’t get anything so I phoned my daughter’s friend’s mum and explained what had happened, and she said, ‘right, I’ll track them and see where they are’.

“Luckily, she tracked her daughter to be running towards one of the hotels, so she told me [where they were]. At that point, I bumped into my eldest daughter and we both ran together to try to find them.

“It was only five or 10 minutes that I couldn’t find my kids. But, in those five or 10 minutes, I thought they were dead. Those five or 10 minutes felt like hours, running around the place crying, looking for my kids. It was absolutely horrific.”

Lisa found her daughter and her friend — who had both ran to safety at a nearby hotel.

“You can imagine the relief when I found my daughter and she was scratch-free. I managed to get the girls to the car.” They then went home and put the news on to find out about what had just happened.

Lisa’s daughter and friend were at on the opposite side of the arena when the bomb went off. She still feels guilty about letting her daughter go to the concert without her. She went on to describe that even though her youngest daughter did not suffer any physical injuries, she has suffered greatly mentally from the ordeal.

She said: “Her telling me what she had to run past to get out — that would have been avoided if I’d have been there. As a mother, that’s how I felt.

Tomasz “odder” Kozlowski

“My daughter unfortunately developed an eating disorder after it. She was scared of crowds, loud bangs and a lot of things. She became very withdrawn.”

Lisa described that night as ‘the worst fear you could ever imagine’, adding: “I can’t remember anything other than just pure panic and thinking, ‘I just need to find my girls’.” Despite the trauma of that horrific night and the effects it has had on her youngest in particular, Lisa went on to talk about the bravery and determination her daughter has shown since.

After that dreadful night, her daughter went on to set up a support group to help survivors of the attack and allow them to talk with one other. She also helped set up a small group of 22 people who meet up every anniversary to remember and honour the 22 victims. Each year, they light candles, release 22 balloons and be just be there for each other.

Her daughter is also now finishing her second year at university, where she is training to become a paramedic. She was inspired after the events of that night and now wants to go on and help others.

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Remembering Lee Rigby ten years on from the devastating Woolwich terror attack

Ten years ago today, Lee Rigby lost his life in a sickening terror attack that haunts the nation to this day

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Gov.uk & Wikimedia Commons

It was an attack that shook the nation: On May 22nd 2013, Fusilier Lee Rigby was brutally murdered in a violent onslaught as horrified passersby watched on.

Lee, twenty-five, was a drummer in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, and had served in Cyprus, Germany and Afghanistan before becoming a recruiter with ceremonial duties at the Tower of London.

The father-of-one, from Middleton, had been an avid supporter of charity Help 4 Heroes, and was even wearing one of the foundation’s hoodies when he was targeted in an unprovoked and savage attack.

He was outside his barracks in Woolwich, London at around 2pm, when he was hit by a car driven by Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, both said to be influenced by extremist group al-Muhajiroun.


The pair didn’t have any former knowledge of Lee, and it was believed to be his Help 4 Heroes hoody that alerted them to his connection with the military.

After hitting him with their car, the men leapt out and unleashed a brutal attack on the defenceless Lee, before a brave passer-by – later identified as Ingrid Loyau-Kennett – attempted to shield him from any further harm.

Ingrid was later nicknamed the ‘Angel of Woolwich’, but revealed that witnessing the attack had ‘ruined her life’.

ITV News

Speaking to The Sun three years later in 2016, Ingrid said that while she was glad she stood up for Lee, she could feel nothing but ’emptiness around me’.

And Ingrid wasn’t the only passerby to get roped into the atrocity; another member of the public was approached by Adebolajo, who instructed him to start filming on his phone as he attempted to give an explanation for the brutal murder. 

In the now infamous footage – which was controversially aired by ITV News later that day – Adebolajo can be seen soaked in blood and brandishing a meat cleaver as he blamed the British military’s murder of innocent muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Adebolajo was heard saying: “The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. And this British soldier is one…”.

Wikimedia Commons

Nine minutes after the first 999 call, armed police swooped upon the scene and opened fire. London Ambulance Service later confirmed that a man had been found dead at the scene, while two other men were taken to hospital, one of them in a serious condition.

In September that year, Adebolajo and Adebowale were found guilty of the murder of Lee Rigby, and were both sentenced to life imprisonment. They remain behind bars to this day.

In the wake of his death, Lee’s parents Lyn and Ian founded the Lee Rigby Foundation in his honour to support other grieving families of deceased military members by paying for holiday breaks and excursions. 

They also worked tirelessly to open the Lee Rigby House in Staffordshire as a permanent retreat for bereaved Forces families and veterans.

Lee’s family told the Manchester Evening News on their grief:  “It doesn’t get any easier with the passing years.

“But we are more determined than ever before to do right by him and honour his life, his memory and his enduring love and spirit.”

For more information on the Lee Rigby Foundation’s mission and to donate yourself, visit the official website here.

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Memories of Maine Road from the Man City fans who were there

Manchester City: a journey of peaks and troughs

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Richard Cooke / Geograph & The Ginger Wig

Let’s take a nostalgic look back on memories of Maine Road from the people who were there.

Concealed within the heart of a housing estate in Moss Side, sat the former home of Manchester City Football Club, Maine Road — named so after the road that ran past its western boundary.

Manchester City lived there for 80 years, from 1923 – though the club was founded in 1880 and was originally based in Gorton and Ardwick. The final game before the closure of the stadium took place on May 11th 2003, with a Premiership match against Southampton Football Club. 

These days the site that once held many great games — and plenty of shit ones too — with goals to remember, many great footballing legends, and heard the echoing chants from home and away fans, has now been completely bulldozed and replaced with a modern housing estate.

Steve Gary / Wikimedia

Before a number of infamous rough years, City were a huge and successful club, as Dr Gary James a football historian and City fan recalls: “I was born when City last won the league title, and they won all sorts of trophies in the late sixties and start of the seventies. 

“And so, my very early years were: Manchester City was a giant club. I remember the 1976 league cup final. It felt as if this was always going to be this major, prominent club. 

“And then, we had to wait from 1976 to 2011. There were relegations, there were struggles, things fell apart.”

For long-standing City supporters, it’s been one hell of a rollercoaster ride to be on, as he continued: “When City was first relegated in 1983, I was devastated. But it made me want to support my club even more. 

Edward Garvey
Manchester City secretary Bernard Halford and club historian Gary James visit the derelict Maine Road site 05/04/04.

“There was always a thing about City; it was peaks and troughs. City represented life; we have great moments in our lives and we have some pretty awful ones.”  

Now City reside in the Etihad Stadium, just east of the city — but we’ll get to how they got here later. As Dr Gary James says: “The history of football is important so that we know where we are today and how we got here, and perhaps learn from the past and so on.”

Growing up in Manchester, you have to pick a side and stick with it. Are you a Red or are you a Blue? From then on it’s ingrained into your very being and you remain loyal to your side no matter what.

On the geographical boundaries of Manchester and how it adds to the rivalry between City and United, Dr Gary James said: “I feel sorry for those cities that don’t have two prominent clubs, it’s like they’re missing something. If you’re from Manchester, you know where the border is. 

Richard Cooke / Geograph

“Visitors to Manchester just don’t understand it but if you’re from Manchester you absolutely understand it.” In club rivalry, even the finer details matter.

During the Maine Road days, supporters would find a place to park on the streets of the residential area that surrounded the ground — lined with rows and rows of Victorian terraced houses — as legions of fans on foot and donning blue scarfs would be cutting through entryways and up streets.

As Blues pulled up in their cars filled with friends and family members excited and nervous but ready to watch a live game, young lads on bicycles would approach drivers and ask for a quid to ‘mind your car’.

It was a fair exchange, after all, this was the housing estate they had to live on and it must’ve been frustrating having hundreds of fans parking their cars outside your house and filling your streets every week. It was also a great way to earn a bit of pocket money for local kids in a working class area.

Garethsahrvin / Wikimedia

Dr Gary James remembers: “My dad used to work for Coca-Cola, and when you parked up anywhere on one of the side streets and, ‘Can I mind your car mister?’ — it always happened.

“He had a van from Coca-Cola, with logos all on the side. We got out of the van and inevitably loads of kids were waiting, ‘can I mind your car mister?’. So my dad actually said, ‘If you’re here when I come back, you can have some Coke’.

“So, we went to the game and normally, when my dad said something like that then nobody would be there when we got back. You know what it’s like, you get the money at the start and you’re not going to hang around.

“When we got to the car, this lad — he was only about four or five — he just stood there, ‘I minded your car mister.’ So my dad got a bottle of Coke out and gave it to him.”

The Ginger Wig

Inside the ground, Maine Road was made up of four different-sized stands built over a number of eras. There was the Main Stand, the North Stand, the Umbro stand and the Kippax. Each stand attracted a different kind of supporter looking for a certain match day experience. 

“When I was a kid we used to sit in the Platt Lane stand, it was behind the goal and it was wooden benches that had been put onto the original terracing,” Dr Gary James said. He described it as having very shallow terracing so it was difficult to see anything, but ‘there was a weird excitement about the place’.

About the Kippax Stand, Dr Gary James said: “It sort of became the place where you had to be if you wanted to make some noise. There was a particular area of the Kippax which was known as Chanter’s Corner.

“I remember the first time I experienced that mass of people and it was passionate, it was noisy, it was incredible.”

The Ginger Wig

Anthony — known by many as ‘The Ginger Wig’ — started going to games from 1991. When he was 12, he was classed as an ‘adult’ and so was able to finally sit in the Kippax Stand with his friend.

He described some funny memories in the stand, saying: “There was a famous chicken guy. I think he was a chef. He would pull a raw chicken out and start whirling it around and putting it on his head.”

Speaking about how he earned his nickname, he said: “Last match of the season was always fancy dress. I wore my hat and would go like Braveheart with a painted face and kilt.”

He bought the hat while on holiday to Scotland in 1998, a season in which City didn’t win very often, he continued: “But first game of the ‘98/99 season I wore it and we won 3-0. All the season ticket holders around me said, ‘you’re going to have to wear that again’. I’ve worn it for every match for 24 years.”

The Ginger Wig

As well as fond memories, there were some dark days too. Dr Gary James continued: “For many years, we were demonstrating against the chairman, Peter Swales, because to be frank, when Peter Swales took over, all plans to invest in the stadium… went.

“As time went on the club was put into debt, the opportunity to win trophies vanished, the stadium started to fall apart and managers were just sacked, or walked out. From 1983 onwards, for me, demonstrations became a key part of going to Maine Road. 

“So, you’d be watching the game, City would lose, and then you’d leg it off the Kippax Stand, round the stadium to the forecourt in front of the North Stand, for a demonstration — not every game, but a lot of games.” 

After much disillusionment with Swales, City legend Francis Lee, who was also a successful businessman, came in and took over the club. He made some positive changes for the club, but many fans believed that his big error was sacking Brian Horton and bringing in his friend, Alan Ball. Dr Gary James said: “None of us were encouraged by that.”

The Ginger Wig

The Ginger Wig recalled some dark but funny memories from those times, saying: “The season we got relegated from the Premier League — that was my first relegation. Steve Lomas took it [the ball] to the corner because everyone had heard that we only needed a draw.

“Niall Quinn had been taken off. He was 6ft 4in and gangly. You saw him galloping up the touchline saying, ‘No! We need to get a goal!'”

On weekends, players could be seen training at Platt Lane. Fans would go down to watch their idols participating in a session, kicking a ball around with other teammates. Paul Walsh’s long hair blew behind him as he ran for the ball. Niall Quinn was easy to spot, being so tall.

I remember my mum laughing as she overheard Michel Vonk saying ‘I have nothing to lean on’ in his Dutch accent, while signing autographs, and so a fan offered their back for him to scribble on. Before players left to enjoy the rest of their weekend, Georgi ‘Kinky’ Kinkladze could be spotted getting into his sports car to drive off — like a total superstar. 

Vintagekits / Wikimedia

City stars from years gone by could be seen training the next generations of City players including the likes of Asa Hartford — who was assistant manager during the Franny Lee and Alan Ball era in ‘95. 

John Burridge aka ‘Budgie’ was a well-loved goalie who only had a short stint at the club (1994-95). I remember my dad took my brother and me to Maine Road to pick up some match tickets and then over to watch the players train at Platt Lane — something we would sometimes do.

One particular day it was raining heavily and on the way after collecting the tickets, dad spotted John Burridge carrying a huge bag filled with footballs — the rain was bouncing off him.

He pulled over, in the black Seat Ibiza we had at the time, and shouted: “Budgie! You going to Platt Lane? D’you want a lift?” Budgie stopped and looked over: “Oh, yeah mate. I wouldn’t mind,” he said, relieved. I couldn’t believe we had a City goalie in our car.

The Ginger Wig

City moved into the then-named City of Manchester Stadium in August 2003 and Maine Road was no more — after plans of its expansion were abandoned in favour of the move to the new site. The Ginger Wig said: “I remember the man in front of me took his cigarette lighter out and burnt his seat off, and took it with him.”

My mum and dad described how while fans were leaving the ground after the last ever game, they would stop to look back at it for one last time. “It was just a weird feeling,” my dad said.

In 2007, the former Prime Minister of Thailand Thaksin Shinawatra announced his take-over of the club from John Wardle, and brought in Sven-Goran Eriksson to manage the team. Many fans were hopeful that things could be looking up, though there were mixed feelings.

Then, in a bigger shock, on September 1st 2008 Manchester City were taken over by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG).

Dr Gary James recalled: “I got a phone call from Gary Cook to come down to the stadium because he wanted me to talk to someone about the history of the club. He wouldn’t tell me who it was.

“I went down there and after ages, Gary Cook arrived. He said, ‘I’m gonna take you to meet someone. This guy is called Khaldoon Al Muburak and he’s going to be the new chairman of Manchester City, and he wants to ask you some questions. Tell him the absolute truth. Tell him how bad things are’.

“Khaldoon got a notepad out and a pen and he said, ‘I want to ask you some questions’. He said, ‘the first question is how and why was this football club created?’ I thought, ‘wow’.”

The Ginger Wig said: “It was crazy. On Sky Sports News it said we were in for getting all these players. I was thinking, ‘where’s all this money coming from?’ I was glued to Sky Sports News that day. We went from having no money, to being like the richest club in the world. It was just amazing.”

David Dixon / Geograph

Since the the Abu Dhabi takeover, City have morphed into the ‘super club’ everyone knows today, under manager Pep Guardiola. They’ve won a number of trophies including the Premier League (six times in recent years and twice in the old league). Just recently, the club submitted a planning application for a £300m expansion of Etihad Stadium, to increase the current capacity from 53,400 to 60,000.

It’s great to see the Blues taking home silverware after years of not winning anything at all. To see life-long supporters, including your parents, finally get to witness glory years for the club is just amazing.

But looking back through the years, even when things were bad, it was still a great feeling to be a City supporter. I guess we had something to fight for, never really knowing we’d some day finally get there.

Asked if he’d still support City if we went back to having no money, The Ginger Wig said: “Yes. The fact that they’re rich and have the best players in the world is just an added bonus. If they were playing in the park across the road, I’d still watch them. It’s just ingrained in you.”

Gavin Llewellyn / Flickr

Asked who his favourite all-time player is, Dr Gary James said: “Pablo Zabaleta. A legendary figure in my eyes. Before Pablo Zabaleta it was Dave Watson.” The Ginger Wig agreed, saying: “Pablo Zabaleta. He was just hard as nails, and just the stories of him coming in and learning English by watching Coronation Street.”

For my dad, it’s Dennis Tueart: “He was fiery and he scored goals. He could turn a game.”

For my mum it’s Shaun Wright-Phillips, because, she says: “He was the one skilful pass, goal-scoring player. He was like a ray of hope and he came from the youth, and he hung on to us for a long time.” — Shauny Wright is mine also.

You can follow Dr Gary James on Twitter @GaryJamesWriter. He has written numerous books about the history of football. You can also follow Anthony @thegingerwig on Twitter. He sells City memorabilia and gifts — look out for him wearing his ginger wig to the game on match days!

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