According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Charles Manson – the leader of the so-called Manson Family cult – has died of natural causes aged 83 in Bakersfield, California. He’d first been hospitalised with gastrointestinal bleeding back in January, from which he never properly recovered.
Manson is remembered as a serial killer, although he never physically committed any of the murders for which he was jailed. Instead, his followers carried out the murders under his direction, most infamously killing Hollywood actress Sharon Tate, Roman Polanski’s wife who was eight months pregnant at the time.
Watch Charles Manson answer the question "who are you?"
Throughout 1969, Charles Manson sent his followers to commit nine murders at four separate and seemingly unconnected locations, baffling investigators for months.
For Manson and his group of dropouts and petty criminals, the murders were about provoking a race war that Manson referred to as “Helter Skelter”. This event would give rise to a new social order, over which Manson would supposedly become a prophet and saviour.
Manson was eventually convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1971, although the sentence would never be implemented. In 1972, the state of California outlawed the death penalty and his sentence was changed to life in prison. Over the course of his 46-year sentence, Manson applied for parole 12 times and was denied every time.
Throughout his time in prison Manson was considered a problem inmate, setting fires and attempting to flood his cell. He’d spent long stints in solitary confinement.