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Charles Manson alive, says official amid reports he is in hospital

Mass murderer Charles Manson has been taken from his California prison cell to a hospital, according to several news reports.

A prison official would only confirm that the 82-year-old was alive and gave no other information.

Manson was convicted of orchestrating the 1969 murders of pregnant actress Sharon Tate and six others.

The cult leader attracted disaffected young people who lived in a commune, followed his orders and were ultimately turned into killers.

Both TMZ and the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday that Manson had been taken to hospital.

TMZ said he had been taken to a medical centre in Bakersfield, about 60 miles south of Corcoran State Prison where Manson was being held.

Two vans from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) were parked early on Wednesday outside Bakersfield's Mercy Hospital Downtown, where state prisoners have been treated before.

Some news media have gathered across the street from the hospital.

But CDCR spokeswoman Terry Thornton said only that Manson was alive and still assigned to the prison in Corcoran.

She declined to say whether he was at the hospital in Bakersfield, citing safety privacy laws prohibiting her from discussing an inmate's medical situation.

Tate's sister Debra Tate told the Associated Press on Tuesday night that, as a Catholic, she makes "no ill wishes" for the people who killed her sister, and will reserve her feelings until hearing Manson has died.

"I would probably say a prayer for them and shed a tear and ask God to have mercy on their souls, but so far I haven't allowed myself to feel anything because it's unsubstantiated," Ms Tate said.

"I'm not allowing myself to feel anything until I know that it's true."

Manson and three female followers, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel and Leslie Van Houten, were convicted of murder and sentenced to death for killings at two gruesome scenes in the summer of 1969. Another defendant, Charles "Tex" Watson, was convicted later.

All were spared execution when a US Supreme Court ruling temporarily banned the death penalty in 1972.

Sarah Ardalani, of the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, said in an email that the agency had no information on Manson.

The office prosecuted Manson and has objected to his release. He was most recently up for parole in 2012 - his 12th bid for freedom.

The California State Prison, Corcoran, has medical facilities to treat inmates requiring urgent or emergency care as well as in-patient hospital stays.

"In general, inmates are sent to outside hospitals if they need surgical services, emergency care, or diagnostic services of an acute nature," said Joyce Hayhoe, a spokeswoman for the federal receiver who controls prison medical care.

"These services are not provided in state prison facilities."

In November, the state inspector general, which monitors the corrections system, characterised care at Corcoran as "inadequate".

AP

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