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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 October 2007, 09:55 GMT
Ex-prisoner buys his former cell
Prison cell (File photo)
Pentridge was Australia's most notorious prison
A former prisoner in Australia has decided to buy his own jail cell.

Graeme Alford spent several years in Pentridge Prison, Melbourne, for embezzlement and robbery.

But he is not planning to actually live in the cell again. It is being turned into a wine storage facility as part of the prison's commercial redevelopment.

Mr Alford, a former barrister, said the purchase was "purely an investment" as he swore to stop drinking after his release in 1980.

Before its closure in 1997, Pentridge prison was Australia's most notorious jail.

It housed hardened criminals and murderers and was the site of the country's last hanging in 1967.

New life

Mr Alford ended up in jail when addictions to gambling and alcohol led him to become heavily in debt.

I thought that not too many people have bought their own jail cell back
Graeme Alford

He started stealing from trust funds and used a sawn-off shotgun in a failed bank robbery.

But after leaving prison, Mr Alford turned his life around.

He stopped drinking and gambling and became a motivational speaker, writing the top-selling book Never Give Up about his experiences.

When he saw the heritage-listed building was being redeveloped, he thought the opportunity was too good to miss.

"I thought that not too many people have bought their own jail cell back," he told local media.

Although the space is to be converted to hold rare wines worth A$50m (US$46.1m, 22.2m), this is of little interest to Mr Alford.

"The irony is that I don't drink now," he said. "This is purely an investment."

Mr Alford, who would not say how much he has paid for the cell, was due to take the keys at a ceremony on Wednesday.



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