hannibal lecter - anthony hopkins silence of the lambs

We all love Hannibal Lecter. For those who do not know, Hannibal the Cannibal is a fictional character. He is a doctor of psychology. The author of Hannibal Lecter books claim that he does not fit any particular psychological profile, so he is labeled as a ‘sociopath’ (for lack of another word). He is known to have an eidetic memory.

Though the story of Hannibal is fiction, Robert Maudsley came pretty close to being the real life Hannibal Lecter. He is a British serial killer who murdered 4 people, 2 of which he did after sentenced to life imprisonment.


Robert Maudsley was born in Liverpool, where he spent the better part of his life in an orphanage called the Nazareth House. At the age of 8, he was retrieved by his parents only to be physically and sexually abused by his father. He was one of the 12 children born to the Maudsleys. At the age of 16, he was taken away by social services.


Maudsley later ran away to London but found himself unable to make ends meet. He took up prostitution to keep himself and his drug-habit intact. He found himself sleeping on the roads with strange men for a few bucks. He unsuccessfully tried to suicide several times before he was seen by psychiatrists. As he started opening up about his past life of abuse, he claimed to hear voices from within telling him to murder his parents.

First Murder

At the age of 21, a man named John Farrell picked him for sex when he showed him gruesome pictures of children he had sexually assaulted. In a fit of rage, he choked the man to death. It was presumed that he had experienced psychosis at the time of murder, so he was sent to the Broadmoor Hospital for the criminally insane.

Second Murder

During his time at the Broadmoor hospital, he and a fellow inmate David Cheeseman, allegedly kidnapped another patient who happened to be a child molester. They barricaded themselves in a cell and tortured the third inmate for nine hours until they finally killed him. Reports said that Maudsley had bashed Francis’ head and had lodged a spoon into his head. Rumours were that the guards had watched as Robert ate the brain of the deceased. That is the first time he was labeled with the nickname ‘Hannibal the Cannibal’.

Double Murders

Maudsley was thereafter convicted with manslaughter and was told that he would never leave the prison. He was shifted to a high security cell at the Wakefield Prison. One afternoon, Maudsley lured Salney Darwood, a man convicted of manslaughter of his wife, where he strangled him and stabbed him to death. He then hid the body under her bed. He also tried to lure other prisoners into his cell but everyone had denied his offer. He went for a hunt and later killed prisoner Bill Roberts on the same day. Bill Roberts’ head was cracked open due to a fatal wound made by a makeshift dagger at and later smashed his head to the wall.
Robert then swiftly went out, placed his dagger insight and boasted of the murders by saying “The next roll call will be two short”.

Most Dangerous Prisoner In Britain

Robert Maudsley

Maudsley was called the most dangerous prisoner in Britain. He was left to rot in a solitary high security cell only to be escorted out of it by 6 guards for his 1-hour exercise period. His bullet-proof cell was made of Perspex glass which had a large steel door and a small hole through which the guards would pass him food and other things. The cell for Hannibal Lecter in ‘The Silence of the Lamb’ seemed to be inspired from Maudsley’s prison cell.

[Also Read: A Stream Of Consciousness– Virginia Woolf’s 136th Birthday ]

Hannibal Lecter’s prison in The Silence Of The Lambs

He was a lifer and was quoted saying: ” am left to stagnate, vegetate, and to regress; left to confront my solitary head-on with people who have eyes but don’t see and who have ears but don’t hear, who have mouths but don’t speak. My life in solitary is one long period of unbroken depression.”
He has spent 14,450 days(as of 28 January, 2018) in solitary confinement, a record.

No Proof Of Cannibalism

The autopsy report of the second victim, Francis, stated that no part of brain was missing and that the skull was intact. There is no proof of cannibalism by Robert Maudsley. As a result of the event, a prisoner guard wrote and e-mail to MurderUK.com claiming to be one of Maudsley’s guards at the Wakefield Prison. It read:

‘I was a prison officer at Wakefield prison for over 28 years. I was on duty on the Saturday morning when Maudsley killed Darwood and Roberts. I then had the dubious honor of supervising Maudsley on a great many occasions until I retired in 2005. For the record (this will burst a lot of bubbles!), Maudsley NEVER ate anybody’s brains. This was a myth that grew up following the manner in which he killed his second victim in Broadmoor.In Broadmoor, inmates are only allowed to eat with a plastic fork and spoon, unlike a normal prison where they have a plastic knife. Maudsley and Cheeseman (the other hostage taker) took an inmate hostage and barricaded themselves in a cell.He fashioned a makeshift weapon by snapping the blade of a spoon down the middle to create a rough pointed weapon. He killed this inmate by ramming the spoon deep into the victim’s ear, penetrating the brain. Needless to say, when he pulled it out, it was covered in gore which was allegedly his brains. None of it was ever eaten.With regards to the statement about crushing skulls like eggshells, this was what he did to Darwood when he swung him round the cell with a garrotte and smashed his head against the wall.I realize this blows a perfectly good myth wide open and will probably never get printed, but at least you now know the truth. Finally, I always addressed him as Robert when in casual conversation.’

The email was signed Peter Northrop.

Maudsley being interviewed by BBC for a documentary

Robert Maudsley is one of the 60 lifer prisoners in all of UK. He is rumoured to have cannibalism tendencies, which turned out to be a hoax. Robert Maudsley’s victims were primarily sexual offenders who were better off dead anyway. Is he a vigilante who fell victim in the hands of the system, or do you really think he deserved more than 39 years in a solitary cell as a prisoner?

Hey. I am Sagarika. I hail from the City of Joy. Though I have graduated as an engineer, writing has always been my calling. What had started as a weird Paragraph at an essay writing competition, has now turned into an all time passion for me. Though the entire world is my muse, dogs are my favourite form of life.


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