INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE: How I Survived In One of Britain's Toughest Prisons: Part Two


Thank you to all those who took the time to check out part one of this interview, I really appreciate it. In this post we continue with part two. I hope you find it just as interesting as the first instalment...

You must get this question quite a lot but did you meet any infamous serial killers or anyone of public knowledge in there?

There was quite a few people who'd been in the newspapers for this or that but I think the worst person that I had knowledge of (but I didn't know who he was at first because he changed his appearance) was a disgraced teacher who I worked alongside in the library. I didn't know who this guy was but he was quite talkative, it was only later on that I found out that this guy had murdered his wife, dismembered her and dumped her remains in a suitcase before going on holiday with his lover. 

Did that anger you somewhat? Having to be in there with people like that man when you were not a killer?

It made me feel sick that someone could do that to anyone, let alone their wife. I was angry with the system and with myself for me being there. I was angry because I made a mistake out of desperation, I'd tried every avenue to make money and asked for help as well as trying to find a job but like I said, they make it hard for you in the UK. I sank into a deep depression and not making excuses, I didn't know what I was doing. I would never harm anyone, my stupid plan was to use the knife as a prop to wave around and get some money. My stupid plan backfired and I ended up in a horrible place with murderers and sex offenders. Do I think I should have been punished for what I did? Yes but I shouldn't have been sent to prison. Having been arrested, questioned and putting my wife and family through worry was enough punishment for me to know that it wasn't the road that I wanted to go down. I still have remorse for what I did to this day. Even though nobody was touched or harmed by me, just the mere thought of scaring people and my actions that night is something that I'm deeply ashamed of. 

Did you ever find yourself the victim of bullying or harassment whilst in prison? 

Because I'm a big guy and I was big then, I also changed my appearance, shaved my head and wore prison issue clothes so I looked like bad news, together with the incidences with me beating up nonces, I didn't have anyone trying to start any s**t with me. Not to say that people didn't try. People would put paperclips with the jagged edges in your food. I had a cup of tea once that had staples in the bottom of the cup, luckily I noticed that pretty quickly. 

You've talked a bit about this before but what was the food like?

Awful, like eating cardboard, either overcooked or undercooked. I lived on cheap cornflakes with water because I couldn't stand the carnation milk. You did have chocolate bars and that helped. Whenever my missus visited she would buy me a bundle of chocolate bars to take back to my cell. Some of the chocolate I would eat and the others would be traded or sold to other prisoners. It's how you did things in there, everybody knew someone so if you wanted cigarettes or crisps, you'd swap something for them. That's how you got by. 

On the whole, how do you think you were able to survive in there, especially as it was your first time in prison?

I think it was due to my size and me beating up nonces from early on in the sentence. People learned quickly that I was not to be f**cked with. You have to do that in there otherwise people take the pi** and you become their victim. I acted like I'd been in prison before, I lied about what I was in there for. Whenever anyone asked I would say it was none of their business and they didn't push me on it. I think because of my size they thought I must have been involved in some sort of gangland thing. Compared to what others had done, my crime looked pretty pathetic and wouldn't have done my image any good. In there I was all about survival and getting through the sentence. There was violence every day, deaths every week, stabbings, incidences where boiling water from kettles would be thrown at people. You had to have your wits about you and eyes on the back of your head. 

How long have you been out of prison?

I have been out for 10 years now. I served half my sentence and was released on licence and put on a tag and curfew. 

Have you been in any trouble since? Would you say that your time in prison changed your life?

I haven't been in any trouble since. That experience was like a sharp shock and it was horrible. It did change my life for good and bad reasons. Having a criminal record affected jobs so I still struggled financially when I was out of jail and that's why a lot of people end up going back in because they make it hard for you to start your life again out here. Luckily, I had support out here and an amazing wife. It's actually taken me/us years to get to where we are now. 

How is your life now? Have things gotten better?

My life has changed so much and for the better. I'm still with my wife and we are stronger than ever. We are in a better position financially and went into business for ourselves (legit business). It's a strange feeling to go from searching for coins down the back of the sofa to ending up in prison, to where I am today. It's took a long time to get here and a lot of struggle and that is why I always say to never give up. I just wish that I had known this years ago but at the time all I could see was a black cloud and no way of getting out of our financial problems. 

Having had family members in prison myself, I know how easily it is to end up in there. Do you have anything you want to say about people who make judgements about people who've made similar mistakes to you?

In the UK life can be hard esp with the Tories in power. If you're working class you're kinda f*cked from the get-go, you have to work your a** off to get out of the gutter. The trouble is, is that things were hard back then 10 years ago but they are even worse now. We have people in full time jobs having to use food banks. We have children in this country going hungry and homeless but we can afford to house and feed refugees. I'm all for helping people but we need to have a look at what's going on in the UK and then maybe think about helping everyone else. My worry is that more people are going to turn to crime in this country with this recession. As for judging people, you haven't walked a mile in their shoes. When bills pile up at the door, food is scarce and you're on the verge of eviction with no help from anyone, you can end up in a desperate situation and end up doing something you'd never thought you would do. Not everyone in prison is a murderer, there's people in there for stupid reasons, for not paying bills or stealing food to feed their families. There's something terribly wrong in this country when we imprison people who are just trying to get by and making a mistake but slapping nonces on the back of the wrist and letting them stay out there on the streets. It's f**ked up. 

Any thoughts about the future?

Continuing to build on our dreams and keep going. Starting a family and continuing to enjoy life. I'm very grateful for what I have. 

Thank you so much for this interview, it was incredible and so honest. I appreciate it and you for taking the time to answer my questions. I'm so glad and find it an inspirational story that you have journeyed through all of that to being in this happier place today. It just goes to show that difficult times can have a positive ending. 

I hope you enjoyed this 2 part interview and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! Here's to 2023, may it bring you all that you wish and hope for. 

[Thank you for checking out part two of this interview. If you would like to take part in an interview with me (must be true crime related) in a future post, please get in contact at - I keep everything in confidence, no names or private details are shared publicly. If you enjoy my weekly posts, please consider donating at: My PayPal. I hope to see you on my Socials too] 

Take care x 

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant work Jo. I can’t say enough about how fascinated I was to read your interview.

    Your interview was so informative in so many different ways. An emotional journey from that person who did commit a huge mistake but he learned and turned this terrible experience into a life lesson.

    In my view, he didn’t deserve to have that kind of severe punishment but he accepts his faith and he changed his life for the better.

    Such a inspirational reading, definitely a rollercoaster of emotion. Thank you so much for your amazing work Jo Xx