NewsCrime Desk

Rooftop prison protest by murderer enters third day

Stuart Horner, in his Manchester United shorts, on the roof of the prison
Stuart Horner, in his Manchester United shorts, on the roof of the prison

A rooftop prison protest by a man who murdered his uncle is into its third day.

Stuart Horner, 35, managed to clamber up a wall and onto the roof at HMP Manchester on Sunday afternoon before stripping to his Manchester United underpants.

He has spent the last two nights on the roof, clambering over the ridges of the wings of the Victorian jail, known as Strangeways.

Horner, jailed for life in 2012, has also caused thousands of pounds of damage by pulling up metal roof trusses and using them to smash a series of large skylight windows and attack CCTV security cameras.

Horner has shouted down to a steady stream of curious bystanders and media gathered outside that he is protesting about prison conditions.

Crowds below have occasionally shouted encouragement and cheered when Horner has waved to them.

Inside the jail the yells of support from fellow inmates and the barking of police dogs could be heard reverberating around the huge prison walls.

Today Horner again stripped off some clothing and revealed a messages scrawled on his shirt.

The first said: "It's not me, tell the government (sic) we've all had enough. Sort the whole system."

A second message on his shirt said simply: "Innocent."

He was given a life sentence, with a minimum of 27 years before parole, for blasting dead his uncle Ian Taylor, 44, with a shotgun in June 2011 after a family feud.

Prison officials have used a fire brigade cherry picker crane to reach the roof and try to talk him down since the protest began around 3.30pm on Sunday.

Dozens of other fire service staff and police are also on standby outside, though the prison is operating normally according to officials.

A spokesman for the Prison Service said negotiators were at the scene and a surrender plan in position, meanwhile inside prison and court visits were continuing as normal.

Horner will face punishment for breaking the prison rules and probable further prosecution for criminal damage when he eventually ends his protest.

Latest Ministry of Justice figures shows it costs around £40,000 a year to keep a lifer such as Horner in HMP Manchester.

Built in 1868, with a central rotunda and radial wings, it houses around 1,200 inmates.

It is understood to be too dangerous for prison or police to attempt to snatch Horner from the roof and the situation will be resolved when he chooses to come down.

Horner has been walking, arms outstretched for balance, back and forth along the ridge of the roof of one wing, but his behaviour appears increasingly erratic and twice he has momentarily stumbled, bringing gasps from those watching below.

He has been taking his shirt on and off, sitting down, head in hands, and lying down before getting up again and using metal bars to bash more windows and parts of the roof.

Another prisoner was heard shouting from behind the bars of his cell window: "Stay up there, the whole of Manchester is behind you. You're a soldier.

"You're a lifer, you will spend the rest of your life in your cell."

A third prisoner shouted: "Can I have your autograph?"