A prison psychologist who has worked with Britain’s most dangerous inmates has revealed a horror moment that haunts her to this day.
dr HMP Long Lartin’s Jacqueline Blyth opened up about her time with the country’s most notorious prisoners in a new Channel 5 documentary.
Inside HMP Long Lartin: Evil Behind Bars, which airs tonight at 9pm, explores behind the doors of the maximum security prison in South Littleton, Worcestershire.
The prison psychologist worked for several years at the slammer, which also housed notorious gangster Reggie Kray, and has now revealed the most haunting experiences she has had inside the prison walls.
While working in prison, Dr. Blyth said she regularly feared for her well-being and felt “vulnerable” in the performance of her duties.
She said in the documentary that she only looked at those prisoners who were serving life sentences for horrific acts such as “murderers, rapists and terrorists.”
The officer who preceded her recalled the discouraging first moment when she faced a prisoner and said to her: “Now you have to decide whether you want to sit near the alarm system or near the door.” because it might only be a few seconds before someone puts their hands around your neck.”
The psychologist said she thought, “Oh my God, what are these men here?”
dr Blyth admitted she was nervous after taking up her post at prison, saying she was “anxious for the first three months” and “really pretty scared.”
While working at HMP Long Lartin, she met notorious serial killer Colin Ireland, who killed five gay men in 1993 and was sentenced to life in prison before dying in 2012.
And there was a trait about him that still haunts her.
She recounted that Ireland had a “psychopathic look” when she spoke to him, leading to her noting that he was unfit for parole.
“They just assumed that once he gets paroled, he’s going to pick up where he left off,” she said.
“And that’s when I knew he was never going to get out,” she added.
She was given the task of deciding if he was eligible for parole after having to sift through graphic files.
Although she admitted that she would normally start her assessment “from the standpoint of empathy and trying to understand these defense attorneys,” she found dealing with crimes involving cruelty and torture “quite difficult.”
dr Blyth recalled being appalled by Ireland’s crimes and admitted she felt “nervous” being in the same room with him and the memories continue to haunt her.
“It is always confidential to see a psychologist. Prison officials may be standing outside the door, but there’s no one in the room with you,” she explained.
Ireland died in Wakefield in 2012, aged 57.