Killer Reginald Wilson who bludgeoned Middlesbrough doctor to death to be moved to cushy open prison

EXCLUSIVE: Psychopathic killer who bludgeoned an innocent doctor to death in a crime that horrified the country is to be moved to a cushy open prison – and a step nearer to eventual freedom

  • Psychopathic killer Reginald Wilson, then 26, killed Dr David Birkett in 1990
  • He randomly targeted Dr Birkett in his own home in Linthorpe, Middlesbrough
  • Wilson’s bid for transfer to open prison recommended to Justice Sec 
  • But minister Dominic Raab could yet overturn the panel’s recommendation

A psychopathic killer who bludgeoned an innocent doctor to death in one of the most notorious murders of the nineties is to be moved to an open prison – and a step nearer to eventual freedom.

Reginald Wilson, then 26, carried out the shocking murder when he randomly targeted doctor David Birkett at his home in Middlesbrough in 1990 and butchered him in his own home.

His victim, a well-regarded dermatologist, was later discovered by his teenage daughter suffering from horrific head injuries after Wilson, who had tattoos across his forehead reading ‘psychopath’ and ‘chaos’ launched the planned attack.

The deranged murderer – who it was later found had said his one aim in life was to commit the perfect murder – tricked his way into Dr Birkett’s home in Linthorpe by pretending to be a motorcycle courier delivering a package.

Psychopathic killer Reginald Wilson (pictured), then 26, who bludgeoned an innocent doctor to death in one of the most notorious murders of the nineties is to be moved to an open prison

Psychopathic killer Reginald Wilson (pictured), then 26, who bludgeoned an innocent doctor to death in one of the most notorious murders of the nineties is to be moved to an open prison

Wilson randomly targeted doctor David Birkett (pictured) and murdered him in his own home in Middlesbrough in 1990

Wilson randomly targeted doctor David Birkett (pictured) and murdered him in his own home in Middlesbrough in 1990

The much loved dad-of-three was beaten to the ground by Wilson with a hammer at his six bedroom home, dragged into his study and subjected to a second sadistic attack.

A post mortem showed the 56-year-old consultant had been struck with manic ferocity at least 17 times. When found on the 3rd February 1990, his skull was completely caved in.

Wilson fled after taking a few personal items belonging to the doctor.

Later in the day, an anonymous 999 call was made from a telephone in Union Street in central Middlesbrough.

Wilson gave Dr Birkett’s address but a mix up meant the police did not check it. They only became aware of the killing when the doctor’s daughter returned home.

Brazen Wilson then taunted police with a series of sick letters and stated the killing had ‘given him a buzz’.

One read: ‘He was a skin expert, eh? When I’d finished he didn’t have much skin, not on his head anyway. That was a little test I set myself.’

Another contained a verse of poetry taken from the book The Miko by Eric Van Lustbaden.

Detective Sergeant Morton who investigated the case, said at the time: ‘He is a psychopath and a dangerous psychopath.’

Police, who eventually caught the killer five months later thanks to a fingerprint left at the murder scene, believed that he planned a series of murders.

Officers later found a cache of arms, including a sawn off shotgun and crossbows, at Wilson’s home.

Scientific examination of an apparently blank piece of paper revealed a plan to kill police officers.

A notebook was also found, containing a list of police officers and their addresses.

Sentenced to life in prison at Durham Crown Court in July 1991, on his way to the cells Wilson (pictured), now 58, yelled: 'You may contain me but you will never control me'

Deranged murderer Wilson tricked his way into Dr Birkett's (pictured) home in Linthorpe by pretending to be a motorcycle courier delivering a package

Sentenced to life in prison at Durham Crown Court in July 1991 for the murder of Dr Birkett (right), on his way to the cells Wilson (left), now 58, yelled: ‘You may contain me but you will never control me’

Sentenced to life in prison at Durham Crown Court in July 1991, on his way to the cells Wilson yelled: ‘You may contain me but you will never control me.’

The court had heard that fitness fanatic Wilson had an on-going battle with authority and was a loner who fantasised about killing.

Three years later the Home Secretary told him life would mean life and he would never be released from jail – but this was later reduced to a 30-year minimum tariff in 2008.

Wilson’s lawyers, in applying to have his whole life tariff overturned, pointed to medical evidence that he was suffering from an ‘untreatable psychopathic disorder’ at the time of the killing.

At the High Court hearing, the judge said Wilson, had ‘preened himself with pleasure’ as he gloated about what he had done.

In 1996, he made an escape attempt from Frankland Prison in Durham and then tried to stab a prison officer in 1999.

In 1996, Wilson tried to escape from Frankland Prison (pictured) in Durham

In 1996, Wilson tried to escape from Frankland Prison (pictured) in Durham

Wilson then tried to stab a prison officer in 1999. Pictured: Aerial view of Frankland Prison

Wilson then tried to stab a prison officer in 1999. Pictured: Aerial view of Frankland Prison

He was transferred to the prison’s close supervision centre unit and held in the exceptional risk unit.

Wilson has only had one parole appeal before, which was rejected.

But in late December, MailOnline has learned, he was told that his bid to be transferred to an open prison had been recommended to the Justice Secretary. Though Dominic Raab could yet overturn the panel’s recommendation.

Willson did not ask to be released, but a move to a lower security jail is often a step towards eventual freedom.

The Parole Board said in a summary of the decision that Wilson’s behaviour had improved hugely since 1999 and he had taken therapeutic and behaviour offending courses.

It stated: ‘The panel was told that Mr Wilson had developed exceptional levels of personal responsibility, life skills, resilience and maturity.

‘Mr Wilson himself did not seek release but asked the panel to recommend his transfer to an open prison so he could continue to work with professionals to develop release plans.’

The panel confirmed that Wilson would be allowed ‘periods of temporary release’ when in open conditions.

A spokesperson for the Parole Board said: ‘We can confirm that a panel of the Parole Board refused the release of Reginald Wilson following an oral hearing. The panel has recommended a move to open prison.

‘Parole Board decisions are solely focused on what risk a prisoner could represent to the public if released and whether that risk is manageable in the community.’

Now aged 58, Wilson will be eligible for another parole hearing next year.

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