Ian Brady and Ashworth Hospital
May 25, 2007
Ian Brady was first admitted to Ashworth Hospital in 1985. When first sent there he had expressed ‘deep remorse’ for his crimes but this was to change. After a knife had been discovered taped under a sink in a washroom Brady was forcibly moved to a cell on Lawrence Ward of the hospital. Prior to this he had been refused the right to donate one of his kidneys. According to Colin Wilson “”it was because of this attempt to express remorse was thrown back in his face that he began to contemplate suicide”. In Oct. 1999 he went on hunger strike and is still being tube fed to this day.
“On 30 September 1999, Ian Brady was transferred to another ward. He took objection both to the transfer and to the manner in which it was effected. In addition to making complaints to the police and through the National Health Service complaints procedure he went on hunger strike. At the same time he began a media campaign, writing repeatedly to the BBC and others and issuing information through his solicitor complaining about the way that he had been treated, giving details of his hunger strike and the manner in which he was affected.
Because of the substantial media interest which Ian Brady generated, the director of communications of Ashworth found it necessary to make 12 press releases between 30 September 1999 and 11 January 2000 answering inquiries for information. The release of the 2 October 1999 began by stating: “Ian Brady, a patient at Ashworth Hospital, has exercised his right to refuse permission for the hospital to disclose any clinical details about him”. On 29 October, it was announced that he had refused food for a total of 30 days and that a program of “refeeding” had been introduced, which involved force feeding by means of a nasogastric tube.
On 2 February 2000, Ian Brady obtained permission to apply for judicial review, in order to challenge the continuing decision to force feed him. The hearing was held in private but, due to the public interest in the case, Maurice Kay J delivered his judgment in open court: see R (Brady) v Ashworth Hospital Authority Lloyd’s Med R 355; (2001) 58 BMLR 173. Maurice Kay J ruled that force feeding was lawful since it was reasonably administered as part of the medical treatment given for the mental disorder from which Ian Brady was suffering. By virtue of section 63 of the 1983 Act consent was not needed for such treatment. The judgment set out in detail particulars of Ian Brady’s clinical history which related to his decision.” ( taken from the website of the House of Lords).
In Sept. 1999 a telephone call from Dirty Harry’s bar in Amsterdam triggered an inquiry into the running of Ashworth Hospital. The call had come from Stephen Daggett a convicted paedophile who had absconded from Ashworth while on day release. He claimed that pornography was freely available as were drugs. As a result The Fallon Inquiry was set up and in it’s final report the hospital was roundly condemned.
While there is little reason to believe that Brady is mad his mental health has diminished since going on hunger strike. He recently (2006) wrote to Winnie Johnson the mother of Keith Bennett a rambling letter complaining of his treatment at the hospital.
A review of the latest book on the moors murders may be found here.