A convicted murderer climbed up an 18-foot-fence and onto the roof of Strangeways prison in Manchester, England, Sunday afternoon, and remains on the roof more than 24 hours later, apparently protesting conditions in the jail.
Roads have been closed and prisoners are on lockdown in their cells, but Stuart Horner remains on the roof, from which he’s started to tear off loose pieces. During his protest, he’s also stripped down to his boxers, danced around and yelled things like “100 percent reoffender!” to his fellow inmates below.
He’s vowed to remain on the roof for 40 days and 40 nights, reports the Manchester Evening News, which has been providing minute-by-minute coverage of everything Horner’s doing, even when he’s just reading a newspaper (or, a minute later, “kicking back” and reading a newspaper). The roof is surrounded by a prison yard, so although Horner was able to climb a fence to access it (apparently cutting himself in the process), he doesn’t have any way of getting off the Strangeways grounds.
Horner’s complaints about conditions inside Strangeways are legitimate, though, according to one former inmate who told the M.E.N., “Prisons are rife with drugs and illegal mobile phones. The treatment of prisoners is inhumane and disgraceful with many of the wings locked down for 23 hours with little or no exercise. The prison officers used to say they simply didn’t have the numbers to control us. I strongly believe there will be riots.”
Outside Strangeways you can hear what appears to be around a dozen prisoners shouting about conditions.— Todd Fitzgerald (@TFitzgeraldMEN) September 13, 2015
The gist seems to be conditions, with complaints over a lack of toilet roll and being 'treated like animals' inside Strangeways.— Todd Fitzgerald (@TFitzgeraldMEN) September 13, 2015
One prisoner just shouted: "We're using jay cloths as toilet paper."— Todd Fitzgerald (@TFitzgeraldMEN) September 13, 2015
Horner’s mother has asked him to end his protest, saying she thinks his actions will “achieve nothing,” and negotiators sent his sister up to the roof in a cherry-picker Monday evening in an attempt to talk him down.
Presumably, Manchester police and prison officials are hoping not to do that again.
[Video: M.E.N. via Guardian]