The longest-serving prisoner in the United Kingdom is an Englishman named John Massey.
He has spent more than 43 years in prison, where his infamous crimes and several escapes have made him a well-known figure.
Massey’s narrative spans from the time he was first imprisoned for the murder of a bar doorman to his final release in 2018. It is one of atonement, regret, and resiliency.
Let’s explore John Massey’s life and crimes, as well as his transition from convicted murderer to free man.
Murder and imprisonment
In Clapton, East London, in 1975, Massey got into a bar brawl where his companion was wounded in the eye with a shattered bottle.
Massey ultimately committed murder as a result of this encounter.
After driving his injured friend to the hospital, Massey went back to the bar and shot Charlie Higgins, the doorman, with a sawn-off shotgun.
He was given a 20-year life term after being found guilty of murder. His sentence was lengthened, nonetheless, as a result of several prison breaks.
In 1994, while on a supervised visit with his parents, Massey escaped by scaling a tavern window. He managed to avoid capture for three years in Spain before being returned to a prison in the UK.
Massey committed his second escape in 2007 after disobeying the terms of his parole to see his ailing father.
Later, he was apprehended and sent back to jail. His third breakout took place in 2012 when he used a rope and a hook to scale the Pentonville prison walls to see his dying mother.
Despite the fact that his sentence was increased by 23 years as a result of his escape attempts, Massey insists that none of them were a mistake.
Life behind bars
During his time in prison, Massey rose to prominence for his wide range of skills and interests.
Redemption Song: My Journey from Murderer to Free Man is a book about his life that he authored after becoming a successful artist and writer.
As a fierce advocate for prisoners’ rights, Massey attracted numerous journalists looking for insider information about life behind bars.
Massey spent time in practically every prison in the UK after being transferred numerous times due to his high risk rating.
He faced several difficulties while he was incarcerated, including arguments and threats from other prisoners.
He nevertheless showed unshakable persistence, developing a reputation for his fortitude and tenacity.
Life after prison
2018 saw John Massey’s release from jail after more than forty years behind bars.
Massey has been quietly enjoying his new life and appreciating the minor pleasures of being free, despite the conflicting reactions to his independence.
He diligently travels to the neighborhood gym every morning and frequently takes walks across his neighborhood, enjoying his new freedom.
The Channel 4 documentary – What Makes a Murderer
In November 2019, John Massey was the subject of the Channel 4 documentary “What Makes a Murderer.”
As part of its investigation into his life, the documentary interviewed him and tested him physically and psychologically to determine whether he had any underlying conditions that may have led to his tendency for violence.
The study identified two distinct brain anomalies in Massey, along with a childhood defined by abandonment beginning at the age of three, which may have contributed to his criminal behavior.
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