‘I reunited with murderer dad inside monster jail – his advice changed my life’

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    A former criminal was reunited with his father inside one of Britain’s most notorious prisons – where he got some important advice.

    Ricky Killeen was 21 when he was led into HMP Frankland – once home to monsters Fred West and Harold Shipman and more recently Levi Bellfield.

    He thought it would be like “going to Disneyland” and was able to give his old man a hug on day one.

    READ MORE: 'I was first arrested at seven years old – I was desperate to be in jail like my dad'

    But his time inside the notorious Category A prison in Durham was traumatic.

    Ricky was transferred there for his role in a machete attack where he received an IPP (imprisonment for public protection) for causing grievous bodily harm.

    And he spoke with Daily Star about spending years on the same wing as his father.

    Now a parent himself, he told us: “It was a bit of a strange time being locked up with my dad.

    “It was the first day and one of the screws in Frankland said to my dad ‘do you have a brother’ and he said ‘no it’s my son’ and he said ‘oh well he is coming in today’ so he knew about it.

    “He told the rest of the lads on the wing, he worked in the workshops so when I got on the wing everyone knew I was coming so they welcomed us.

    “People were like, ‘hi Ricky, how are you doing’ because they knew I was coming. When I saw my dad I gave him a hug and it was like we were together again sort of thing.

    “Obviously he was disappointed because he didn’t want to see us in there but obviously he wanted to make the best of it.

    “It was about three years inside with him. It helped us a lot. A lot of the reasons why I was doing what I was doing was because my dad was in prison and it affected my mindset.

    “He was telling me to straighten myself out, get out there and do good.”

    Ricky took his dad's advice as he's now reformed and helping others to get their lives back on track.

    The 38-year-old was raised in Stanley, Durham, and as a little boy his dad, who later received a life sentence for murder, had already spent 14 years in prison.

    It was Ricky’s dream to get banged up too and he found himself getting into trouble from the age of seven.

    Speaking to us previously about his first ever arrest, he recalled: “When I was seven I shoplifted.

    “We didn’t really have much and the lad I was knocking around with was a few years older than me and I looked up to him.

    “We were in one of the shops in Stanley pinching aftershave bottles and cassettes. We were in four or five times and on the last one the security guard stopped us on the way out.

    “He took us in the back room and phoned the police and we got put in the back of a police car and we were brought to the station.

    “Then my parents had to come and get us. It was all just a game to me and I wasn’t even bothered.

    “I grew up around it and I grew up around people who had been to prison, obviously my dad had spent a lot of time in prison when he was younger.

    “From the age of seven and eight people were talking about prison and glamourising it. So for me I wasn’t fazed and I just really wanted to go there from a young age.”

    Years later he was sent to HMP Frankland for his part in a gruesome machete attack.

    Despite looking forward to it, the grim reality became apparent after just 48 hours.

    He said: “When I landed there, in my mind I was thinking ‘yes, I've made it to the top’ because I was in a high security prison in the North East.

    “I wasn’t even bothered by it but the second day I was there I saw an Al-Qaeda terrorist leader get a pan of boiling hot oil tipped over his head.

    “That was my second day there and I thought ‘wow this is dangerous’ and I was thinking ‘f***ing hell what is going on, this place is crazy’. There was loads of tension on the wing after that.”

    During his five years there he took a six month drug and alcohol course which he credits to changing his life.

    He served one more prison stint for aggravated vehicle taking and having no insurance.

    But he went on to raise thousands for charities and he has his own YouTube channel Behind the Bars TV where he speaks to reformed lags.

    He is also the author of Behind the Bars Ruthless Fitness having ballooned to 19st inside before embracing exercise and wellbeing.

    As for how he now wants to be perceived, he said: “On YouTube I started talking about prison and educating the youth on what prison is actually like and trying to deter them from going down the route I went down.

    “Prison is glamourised for kids like it was for me and a lot of kids don’t have any positive role models and I want them to have me as a role model.

    “I want them to say ‘right I don’t want to go to prison and be like him, I want to be like him because he is successful and he has a business and he is doing good for himself’.”


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