Britain's most dangerous criminally insane crooks become obese clones of each other when banged up at the notorious Broadmoor hospital, say authors brave enough to meet them.
The duo behind Inside Broadmoor, Jonathan Levi and Emma French have told the Daily Star what it's like meeting killers and cannibals caged at the Crowthorne institute in Berkshire. One particular patient bucked the trend, however, of what most the inmates both look and behave like, according to Jonathan and Emma.
For all the big names who've been locked up at the high-security psychiatric hospital from Charles Bronson to Ronnie Kray and Peter Sutcliffe to Robert Maudsley, hundreds more call it home each year. When meeting them for an ITV documentary on the place and then later for their book, Jonathan and Emma couldn't help but notice how obese so many patients were.
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"A lot of them are very, very clinically obese because of the medication that they're on and a lot of them begin to have a similar kind of look," Jonathan told the Daily Star.
Dante, though, was different. The writers learned how he had lived without freedom since the age of 14 when he wickedly embarked on a murderous, axe-wielding 'operation new life'.
Jonathan continued: "I think his name was actually Daniel but he called himself Dante. And he was very unlike a lot of the other patients in Broadmoor. He was young mid-20s slim, fit, nice looking, middle class, you know he really didn't look like a patient at all. He did these beautiful photo-realistic pencil drawings, charcoal pencil drawings.
"He was an amazing artist and we discovered that he was responsible for a terrible crime against his family when he was 14 with a note under his pillow saying "operation new life: kill family, burn down house, get adopted by rich family". And he as far as I know set fire to his house and murdered his sister and took an axe to another sibling.
"He was in a secure unit for kids until he was 18 and moved to Broadmoor. He was unable to articulate what he'd done he was so ashamed of the crimes that he committed."
The guilt, they think, ultimately ate away at him until he could no longer cope with it. When Jonathan and Emma returned Dante tragically wasn't there to catch up with. He had hoarded medication and killed himself inside the hospital.
Jonathan added: "One of the things we learned from the staff there is that in some ways it's better if patients remain in this altered dream-like state where they're not fully accountable for their actions and they don't quite realise what they've done.
"The kind of terrifying sobering reality of kind of waking up and realising what you've actually done and who you are is sometimes too much for people and I think for him it probably was, he ended up taking his own life as a result. He was just too ashamed of what he'd done. That was a very memorable encounter."
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