Inside Strangeways' history as one of UK’s deadliest prisons with roof riots & fires that nearly burned prisoners alive | The Sun

A 12 HOUR rooftop protest at HMP Manchester is the latest in a long line of incidents at the notorious prison known as Strangeways.

A prisoner wearing a plastic vest climbed onto the roof at the Cheetham Hill jail at around 4.30pm yesterday.

During the protest the prisoner wrote on the roof 'FREE IPPZ' – thought to be a reference to the Imprisonment for Public Protection sentence (IPP) sentences which were handed down from 2005 to 2012.

The controversial sentences detained offenders for indefinite periods of time.

The prisoner came down from the roof at around 4.30am today. There are no reports of any injuries at this stage.

A Prison Service spokesperson said to The Sun: “Staff safely resolved this incident and the prisoner will face punishment as disorder in prisons is not tolerated.”

The high security prison has been home to major gangland figures over the years such as Dale Cregan.

Thomas Cashman, who murdered Oliva Pratt-Korbel,was remanded at the prison during his high profile trial at Manchester Crown Court.

For many the sprawling Victorian prison is synonymous with the riots that broke out in April 1990.

Pushed to breaking point by the appalling conditions, which saw cramped cells designed for one occupied by three, lags took control in theworst jail riot in British history.

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Prisoners also stormed the segregation wing where they attacked sex offenders.

Derek White, a 46-year-old on remand for indecent assault and buggery, suffered serious head wounds and later died in hospital.

In total, 147 staff and 47 inmates were injured, while a prison officer also lost his life.

Prison officers on duty at the time had to flee as lags bombarded them with broken furniture and bricks.

Prisoners raided the kitchen for knives and then made makeshift weapons with scaffolding poles.

Some lags raided the chapel, stealing wine and vestments before heading up to the roof.

The authorities had to evacuate the prison and then send in a riot squad to win back control of the burning building.

A fire hose was turned on the remaining prisoners who refused to come down from the roof.

By the time the the authorities took back control the prison was a wreck.

After the prison was re-built at a cost of £80m it was renamed HMP Manchester.

Former screw Neil Samworth who worked at the infamous prison from 2005 to 2016 told The Sun how violence could break out at any time.

Neil described Stangweways as a highly unusual work environment where boredom and tedium were broken by moments of violence and terror.

He said that HMP Manchester's high security Cat A wing was a place teeming with swaggering egos, with a high concentration of hardened criminals and gangsters.

Neil, from Sheffield, said that in rare instances prisoners linked to terrorist and mafia type organisations could target an officer.

He said: "If you upset someone who is linked to the IRA or mafia they will find out where you live. It does happen."

The burly Yorkshireman remembered Dale Cregan, now serving a whole life sentence for murdering PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, for his 'aloof' manner on the wing.

He said: "Dale did not want to speak to prison officers. He only wanted to deal with a governor."

Neil, who was forced to face down and physically restrain violent prisoners, said that he often met former lags when he was out shopping.

He said: "I have bumped into so many ex-cons in the supermarket. They all have time for me, stopping to shake my hand.

“Some have introduced me to their family, and even apologised for their behaviour in the past.”

In 2021 an inspection report found that too many prisoners were locked in their cells for 22 hours a day.

HM Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor also found that the prison had improved living conditions, was calmer and the governor was trying to increase support for rehabilitation of long-term inmates.

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