PRISONS in County Durham have built a grim reputation for housing some of Britain’s most prolific offenders.

One, HMP Frankland, is even known as 'Monster Mansion' and the likes of serial killers, rapists, and terrorists call it home.

Today, we look back on some of the most dangerous offenders to have been held at Durham, Frankland, Low Newton, and Deerbolt prisons.

They include Moors Murderer Ian Brady, who tortured and murdered children as young as ten with accomplice Myra Hindley, West Auckland poisoner Mary Anne Cotton and serial killer Rose West.

  • Ian Brady and Myra Hindley - HMP Durham and HMP Low Newton

The Northern Echo:

The wicked lovers lured children and teenagers to their deaths, torturing and sexually assaulting them before burying their bodies on bleak Saddleworth Moor in the south Pennines in the 1960s.

Pauline Reade, 16, disappeared on her way to a disco on July 12, 1963, and 12-year-old John Kilbride was snatched in November the same year.

  • Rose West - HMP Low Newton 

The Northern Echo:

Rose West along with her husband Fred tortured, raped and murdered an unknown number of women between 1967 and 1987, most at their home in Cromwell Street, Gloucester, which became known as the “House of Horrors”, with nine sets of bones found under the patio and cellar of the house.

West was convicted in 1995 of murdering ten young girls and women, including her eldest daughter Heather, 16, and her stepdaughter Charmaine, eight.

Fred escaped trial by killing himself in his prison cell in January 1995.

  • Mary Ann Cotton – Durham County Gaol 

The Northern Echo:

Cotton was convicted and hanged in 1873 for the murder of her stepson, Charles Edward Cotton, though she may have had as many as 21 victims, including three of her four husbands and 11 of her 13 children.

She used arsenic to poison her victims which was added to cups of tea made in the small black Wedgewood teapot. 

  • Dr Harold Shipman - Frankland

The Northern Echo:

Dr Harold Shipman is the UK’s most prolific convicted serial killer (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

The  GP was jailed for life in January 2000 for murdering 15 patients while working in Hyde, Greater Manchester, though official predictions are that he killed between 215 and 260 people over a 23-year period in Hyde and Todmorden, West Yorkshire.

Shipman hanged himself in his cell at Wakefield Prison in 2004 at the age of 57.

He had earlier been taken off suicide watch while at Frankland.

  •  Ian Huntley - Frankland

The Northern Echo:

Huntley is serving a 40-year sentence for murdering ten-year-olds Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in August 2002.

He was taken out of Wakefield Prison, in West Yorkshire and moved to Frankland, in 2008.

Peter Sutcliffe - Frankland

The Northern Echo:

The Ripper, was serving life for the murder of 13 women across Yorkshire and the North West between 1975 and 1980.

Sutcliffe was jailed for life in 1981 and, after a long spell in Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire, he was transferred to HMP Frankland in 2016 after being deemed stable enough to serve time in prison.