UK

Ian Brady Says Talking To Tony Blair On His TV Is 'Interpreted As Psychosis'

25/06/2013 11:11 BST | Updated 25/06/2013 15:47 BST

Moors murderer Ian Brady has revealed how he talks to himself in his cell, as he spoke publicly for the first time in nearly 50 years.

Brady, 75, told a mental health tribunal on Tuesday that he studied German and psychology in prison and walks up and down reciting Shakespeare and Plato.

The child killer, who also revealed he spent time as a prison barber, told the tribunal that if he ever made a comment on the TV about "Tony Blair or something," it was interpreted as psychosis.

But he insisted: "Who doesn't talk to themselves? This is a question people very rarely ask."

Wearing a dark suit, white shirt and tie and his customary dark glasses, Brady spoke for the first time publicly at length since he was jailed for life in 1966.

ian brady

Court artist sketch by Elizabeth Cook of Moors Murderer Ian Brady at his mental health tribunal

During the hearing, Brady made reference to his notoriety as a prisoner, saying the media and the public are still interested in the case, adding: "Why are they still talking about Jack the Ripper, after a century? Because of the dramatic background, the fog, cobbled streets.

"Mine's the same... Wuthering Heights, Hound Of The Baskervilles."

Asked by his lawyer Nathalie Lieven QC, about his time in prison, Brady, 75, speaking in a low, halting Scottish accent, said: "Erm, I studied psychology, er, German. ... Aldermaston College, the British Institute."

Brady said he set up a braille unit and also worked as a barber at Wormwood Scrubs in the 1970s.

Asked about relations with staff and patients at high security Ashworth Hospital where he has been held since 1983, Brady said he enjoyed conversations about "everything".

"Eclectic, I can't stand robotic, feeble, whether psychologists or just ordinary people, if I think they are just going through a list of check points.

"Eclectic, free wheeling conversation. I don't choose the subjects.

"That's what I enjoy."

Lieven put to him the "evidence" compiled by Ashworth to show he is mentally ill and should not be transferred back to jail as he wishes.

She asked Brady how he explained supposed hallucinations and episodes of him talking to himself.

"Well, first of all - prison. I was in solitary confinement for a time. I would memorise whole pages of Shakespeare and Plato and other people and recite them all to myself while walking up and down exercising in the cell.

"If I interact with the TV, Tony Blair or something on, and make any comment, this is interpreted as psychosis.

"And er, who doesn't talk to themselves. This is a question people very rarely ask."

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The child killer is giving evidence to a mental health tribunal sitting at maximum security Ashworth Hospital in Merseyside where he has been held for 28 years.

Brady said he had heard that the authorities had recently arrested a "mole" at Ashworth who had sold stories about him to the media.

"Whether that is correct or not, I have no idea," he said.

"I was informed by a reliable source that they have discovered the mole and he had been charged ... I don't know what with, breach of confidentiality?"

He continued: "That is part of the example of the methodical exploitation of the sole high profile prisoner that can be used in that way in Ashworth."

Brady said he had stopped reading newspapers 12 years ago.

Asked about the theory that he stayed in his room because he was paranoid about other patients, he said his attitude to them was "unremarkable".

"I talk to patients who are intelligent," he said. "I talk to patients who are not intelligent.

"Most prisoners are perfectly mentally healthy compared with the paranoia of prison officials.

"Only the authorities call it paranoia. The prisoners say it is sensible suspicion. You learn to read people for survival purposes."

He said he had stopped in his room mainly for the past 10 months because of the "negative, regressive, provocative staff that I am avoiding".

Brady's answers were often unfocused and full of digressions - at one point, after another rambling exposition, his talking trailed off and he stopped abruptly to ask what the original question was.

Lieven asked him directly why he wanted to leave Ashworth.

Brady said originally it was a "decent and progressive" regime when it was the "star" of the specialist hospitals such as Broadmoor and Rampton.

But he complained that the regime changed when Ashworth went from being run by the Home Office to being under the control of the NHS.

"Security ruled care," he said. "Of course, that was not official policy, it was covert."

He described Ashworth, and the like, now as a "penal warehouse".

Lieven regularly asked Brady to "focus" on her questions, dragging him back to the point and asking again why he wanted to leave the hospital.

"The most beneficial and therapeutic treatment any prisoner can get is decent intelligent staff in a decent intelligent ward," Brady said.

"As I say, I enjoy freewheeling conversations, I'm not interested in being analysed.

"Some of these psychiatrists, I would throw a net over them. I would not allow them on the street. They are unbelievable. How has this person got the job in the first place and how is it they're able to hold the job?"

Brady claims he is no longer mentally ill and should be returned to prison to serve the remainder of his whole life sentence.

Since 2002 Brady has repeatedly asked for a public hearing which he said would provide "true independence", the tribunal has heard.

He last spoke at length in public when he gave evidence at his trial at Chester Assizes where he was eventually

found guilty of three murders.

His legal team assert that he has a severe narcissistic personality disorder but is not mentally ill and could be treated in prison rather than hospital.

But Ashworth say Brady is still chronically mentally ill and remains a paranoid schizophrenic who needs around-the-clock care.