Killers to marry in first gay prison wedding

Marc Goodwin
Marc Goodwin

Two convicted murderers are set to be the first known same sex couple to marry in a British prison when they tie the knot in Full Sutton.

Marc Goodwin, 31, formerly of Blackpool, is serving a life sentence at maximum security Full Sutton Prison, near Pocklington, for the 2007 killing of Malcom Benfold who suffered horrific head injuries on Blackpool seafront.

Goodwin will reportedly marry Mikhail Ivan Gallatinov, who is serving a minimum 20 years for the “cold-blooded” strangling of another man in 1997.

But the Ministry of Justice has revealed they will not be allowed to share a cell after their big day.

The couple have posted a notice of marriage at Beverley registrar’s office.

Same-sex marriage came into force in the UK in March last year.

It is believed the couple had been wanting to tie the knot for several years with a civil ceremony but after last year’s law change they applied to get married and prison authorities finally agreed.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman refused to comment on the marriage, saying: “We do not comment on individuals. Prisoners are entitled to apply to be married in prison under the Marriages Act 1983.

“This would take place at no cost to the taxpayer and there is no possibility that they would share a cell.”

The couple are expected to be married by the local registrar in a special room at the prison.

Goodwin, originally from Airdrie, Scotland, was 23 when he was sentenced in 2007 to serve a minimum of 18 years for murder.

Victim Malcolm Benfold, 57 from Blackpool had met up with two men for a “sexual relationship”, the jury at Goodwin’s trial at Preston Crown Court was told.

Goodwin was the leader of a three-strong gang who after a drinking session, set out to attack homosexual men at the known gay meeting spot.

The two men who accompanied Goodwin on the night of the attack were also jailed, but not for the same offence.

A jury at Preston Crown Court were told Mr Benfold had met up with two men for a “sexual relationship” on Blackpool seafront. These men escaped the attackers.

The court heard it is thought a glass bottle was used in the attack and he was kicked and punched with Goodwin paying the most attention to this victim. Police later found a bottle near to the Hilton Hotel on North Promenade, Blackpool which had been “scientifically” linked to the beating, the court was told.

The court also heard from the two men who had been with Mr Benfold at the time of the attack.

The victim added: “I was being faced up by a medium sized man who said one word, ‘money’. He was blocking my way aggressively, I cowered away. I was scrabbling to get my wallet out when I received two blows to the head with a plastic bottle. At the same time I removed a £20 note and passed it to him.”

A second man fled after he was hit to the side of the head and the gang turned on Mr Benfold.

Gallatinov was just 23 when he was jailed in 1997 for strangling a 28-year-old man.

He was given a minimum prison sentence of 20 years, which was upheld by the High Courts of Justice in 2009. He can now be considered for parole next year. A jury took just an hour to convict Gallatinov of Moston, Manchester, of murder, rejecting his plea of diminished responsibility.