Unsolved Murders

Derek White

Age: 46

Sex: male

Date: 11 Apr 1990

Place: Strangeways Prison, Manchester

Derek White died during a riot at Strangeways Prison in Manchester on 11 April 1990.

Nine men were tried for his murder but acquitted.

It was heard that during the first hours of the riot that prisoners that invaded the prison's segregated E4 landing and dragged all the prisoners there from their cells and beat them and also got access to all their files, one of which showed that Derek White was a sex offender.

The segregated E4 landing was described as housing the sex offenders and child abusers who were kept there for their own safety. The inmates on the landing were known as Rule 43 inmates.

During the riot some of the prisoners were thrown 20ftr from a landing on to safety netting whilst others had metal doors and chairs hurled on top of them.

It was heard that during the riot that Derek White had pleaded with his attackers, telling them that he was not a sex offender. However, they were said to have replied, 'We have got your file. You’re a beast'.

Derek White died in hospital several days after being beaten.

The riot had started on 11 April 1990 and had lasted 25 days. By the end of the first day 1,500 of the 1.600 prisoner shad surrenders, with the last six giving themselves up 24 days later.

The riot was said to have been sparked off by the war cry, 'Let's do it' from one of the inmates who leaped on to a guard's seat at a chapel service and pulled out two sticks from his trousers. Other inmates were said to have then donned hoods and to have charged up aisles and over seats.

At the trial the jury heard that Derek White's had been passed around. A witness said, 'The file was passed around the group. I saw the man leaving the landing as he was thrown off'.

The prosecution said, 'The trial concerns the horrific, the terrifying, the wholly unjustified violence meted out by the prisoners, these defendants and others, not to prisoner officers trying to prevent them assuming control of the prison, but to other prisoners, men with no different status to them. At the bottom of the heap, the subject of abuse, and, if they can be reached, violence at the hands of other prisoners, are those charged with sexual offences or concerned with violence towards or abuse of children. They are called nonces or beasts and that is how they are regarded, as a lesser form of life'.

Derek White died from a blood clot that lodged in his lung.

see www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

see Liverpool Echo - Tuesday 14 January 1992

see Aberdeen Press and Journal - Thursday 16 April 1992

see Newcastle Journal - Tuesday 03 March 1992

see Manchester Evening News - Tuesday 28 January 1992

see Daily Mirror - Friday 17 January 1992

see Newcastle Journal - Thursday 16 January 1992