Thursday, 28 April 2011


Away from the deluded and the shallow in Ellesmere Port, there are doses of reality that show the true ugliness of crime today.  One case was from 2001/2002.  A gang of drug pushers beat some lad to death, though I cannot remember the full details of the motive behind it.  He was bundled into a boot of a car, driven so far through the Shell Oil Refinery at Stanlow, dragged out, severely beaten, thrown back into the boot.  They then carried on driving through the refinery and turned off a small road that took you into the small village of Ince.  They stopped, dragged him out, battered him some more and then left him in a lay-by.  He staggered to a house, or was found by somebody, bringing an ambulance and the Police.  He died in hospital.  Diligent Police work brought this small gang to justice, though not all were convicted.

    Another case was that of a man used as muscle by a moneylender.  I had heard about this man, though never actually seen him.  It seems that quite a number of people feared him for his violence.  What brought about his downfall was a dispute with his girlfriend, and he stabbed her.  He received fifteen years for attempted murder!  You get the impression that this man would have resorted to knives and other weapons if he had to face a man who could dish some stick out.  Exactly like a man who was called a "top legend" and "proper hardman" by notorious jailbird Michael Peterson or Charles Bronson, as he likes to be called.  This man is in reality a notorious police informer, and the police have gone to great lenghts to protect him.  He has also been subjected to many, many beatings from others, over the years.  This was not due to his role as a grass, it was because he was an out and out troublemaker. I will deal with this man in another post.

People in Fantasyland 2

Continuing on this theme, let us look at other non-entity claims.  There are two brothers in Ellesmere Port, whom have had a reality blackout by believing that they are "gangsters!"  Their father, being equally delusional, did everything he could to try and have people believe his boys were "top villains"  He even went to the extent of writing to their "hero" Reg Kray, whilst he was in Maidstone Prison, proclaiming that his boys were going to be just like he and Ron!  To show how big time they were, they tried a ramraid, in a two door car, that activated some internal barriers in the store, that held the doors shut, trapping them inside, and giving the Police a good laugh.  Their deluded father put large notices over his house claiming that his boys had been fitted up by the horrible Police, and they were innocent victims of corrupt cops.  My father told me that somebody got fed up of this guy and gave him a working over with a golf club.  I wonder if he went crying to the men and women who "fitted up" his boys?

People in Fantasyland

With the current obsession with celebrity at any cost, it is not surprising what lenghts people will go to, to attract attention and a fanclub.  The most obvious person is one Dave Courtney, the man who allegedly "controls" Virgin Books.  This is a comment that has produced howls of laughter from the publishing world.  Yet, there are people that actually believe it!  This is a man who will do anything for publicity.  He charges outrageous amounts of money for his "time" and any trinkets bearing his name.  He also put a video on Youtube showing him in the back of a vehicle with a large waterpistol and showering old people stood at bus stops with water.  What a hero!  Something for the braindead supporters he has to cheer and applaud.  He claims that he was under 24 hour observation by Police for long periods of time.  Well, I suppose his fanclub need to believe in this incredible waste of police time and manpower, investigating the biggest fantasist and bullshit merchant Britain has probably produced.

    What we have not heard about from his mouth or his supporters, has been his bankruptcy case.  Hhhmmm!  Not a pleasant dose of reality for the intellectually challenged.  A man who claims to have committed two murders!!  Strange how the Police have not been beating on his door, wanting to question him about these clearly apalling acts.  Shows how much stock they take on what dribbles from his mouth.  He also claimed he was to be the fourth man in the Range Rover when the other three occupants were slaughtered in a hit.  Others have claimed that they were supposed to have been in that vehicle that night.  Easy to see how a man needing any publicity as oxygen, would jump on any bandwagon.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

More from Birkenhead

Birkenhead has long been a rough, tough town.  It`s traditions go way back as a sea town, with the Cammel Lairds shipyard, though this has virtually vanished through decline in shipbuilding.  There was a newspaper report that in around 1950, there was far more attacks on people in the street, in Birkenhead, than anywhere else in the country.  Even in cities like London, Liverpool, or Birmingham and Manchester.

    An attack in a pub did make national headlines in about 1979.  Three men in balaclavas, stormed into a pub in Morton, wielding pickaxe handles and set about crippling two men stood at the bar.  As people fled the packed pub, they started smashing the place up after finishing with the two victims.  It was unknown at the time, what the attack was over.

    My friend Dave told me about a certain pub near the docks.  This was the Dock Hotel.  Yet, throughout Birkenhead it was known as "The Blood Tub" owing to the amount of fights that broke out in there, virtually every night!  Dave knew a barmaid who worked in there for many years, and said that she had to wash her blouses every night, as she always had blood spattered over it.  It seems incredible that it retained a licence for many years.  When anybody wanted to get a taxi to the place, you asked the cabby to take you to "The Blood Tub!"

Names that pop up

When Birkenhead was hit by a heroin epidemic in the mid-eighties, and the subsequent book about the case came out, I worked with a number of guys from Birkenhead. I asked my buddy, Dave, about some of the names that cropped up.  The brains behind it was a Liverpool villain called Peter Burley.  Not exactly a household name, yet his crew of `Head villains created a tidal wave of crime through the area, due to drug addiction.  Birkenhead acquired the tag of "Smack City".  From Woodchurch came Jimmy Miller.  "Well-known for violence on the doors" said Dave.  From the Ford Estate, came hardman Gerry Brown.  "Not heard of him"  The other man was Martin Andrews from Morton.  "Yes, I have heard of him", said Dave, "Involved in various activities, so I`ve heard!"  

    One area that Burley stayed away from was Leasowe.  It seems that the crime family there, rather unexpectedly, wanted nothing to do with drugs.  Burley thought that he could muster up the muscle to take the family out of the frame and move in, but the resulting violence would have brought too much Police activity, so he decided to leave it be.  Dave could not remember the name of this family, but said, "Brian can tell you.  He knows them".  Brian was a doorman and we worked together for some time.  "The Cavanaghs" he told me.  "They use the pub The Oyster Catcher as a base of operations"  There certainly was some heavy villains in Birkenhead.  There was a family that had long sold drugs in Birkenhead, and astonishingly, the grandmother was allegedly involved.

    The Police brought down Burleys` drug empire and from then on, other areas around the country acquired this tag of "Smack City"

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Crime in major cities

Did crime exist outside London?  Of course it has, although reading some of the comments by old London criminals, would give the impression that crime can be nothing compared to the capital.  Over the years, the only city to be compared to London has been Glasgow, but in reality some of the major cities have always had a thriving underworld.  Liverpool has become a rival to London, with many criminals making huge fortunes through the drug trade.  Many villains names have entered the public domain, along with numerous criminal families.  Newcastle has come to the fore.  Manchester has become notorious worldwide through the relentless gang wars that left many dead and wounded.  Strangely enough, there seems to be a dearth of information on the crime scene in the Midlands.  Birmingham, despite being the second city, has kept it`s head below the parapet, or that the national media simply was not interested.  Other places hitting the headlines on varying degrees include Bristol, Leeds, Bradford, Sunderland.

The truth game (Continued)

The concept of truth, that little detail that criminals, liars & bullshitters deeply deplore, will never be the norm because the element of fantasy is too much to ignore as it enhances their "reputations!"  Let us start with the claims of Lenny Mclean.  How many people realise that he had only twelve unlicensed fights, and that he lost six of them. In four of them, he was knocked spark out.  Twice by Johnny Waldron, and twice by Cliff Fields.  Of course, when it came to his memoirs, he suffered a very understandable memory loss.  Boxing promoter Frank Warren was related to Mclean, and he stated that Mclean was nothing but a violent bully. 

     A man I delivered a parcel to, told me about his wife's ` uncle, a retied cockney living in Spain.  According to, this guy said that Mclean was nothing but a violent bully.  Sounds familiar?  There is a book called "Loadsamoney" about a counterfeiter who told a story to a friend about a tough guy.  It seems that Mclean battered some kid in a pub, and this tough nut went up to Mclean and threatened to give him a smack for what he did to the kid.  Mclean, according to, turned around and walked away without a word.  

    The story that he "fought" the barekuckle champion of the Mafia, has been claimed to be nothing but fiction.  The book "Tarmac Warrior" about an alleged gypsy fighter, has been said to me by a known writer to be nothing but fiction.  He said that the fighter only participated in some sparring with a fighter turned author, and the fighting stories are untrue.  Carlton Leach has apparently admitted that the "torture" scene in his book "Muscle" and the portrayal in the film "Rise of the footsoldier" never happened!  Well, wouldn`t this cast doubt on many things he has claimed to have done?  It puts his every word in doubt.  And, he is far from the only person to have claimed to have been involved in crimes of theft and violence, when they simply have made them up or immersed themselves into others stories.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The other side of the coin

When an awful event occurs, your immediate thoughts are what did the principals characters go through.  When it is a brutal murder, your mind cannot comprehend the sickening brutality that the victim endured.  Yet, it can transpire that the victim was no angel, and falls into the category of "Live by the sword, die by the sword"!

    With one particular victim, I will not believe that the Police did not investigate his background.  What drove the perpetrators to carry out this crime?  What was there in his background that put him in the firing line?  What did he have to hide?  They must have gone out to the streets to question their informers and contacts.  They would have discovered much that would be preferred to be kept out of the media.  Just after it happened, one man said to me, "********(The victim) has been crossing people up for years.  Somebody has decided that enough is enough".  Other sources have said that what they had heard on the grapevine was the man was a drug financier.  Another man told me a tale that showed that the man was nothing more than what was known as a "Thief`s Ponce"!  This was a criminal who stole from other lawbreakers.  Obviously, the man would have very careful about he went up against, as there are plenty of people who would not stand for it.  The tale about robbing off others, stemmed from an old abandoned building that enterprising lads would strip various metals and electrical wire from this building and take it to a metal recycler, for some cash.  One day, a lad and his mate got some metal and wire from this building and were on their way to the scrapyard, when they were stopped by *******, backed up by a couple of men.  They took the waste from them and took it to be weighed in.  He would cross people up even for metals that come to small monetary amounts.  Apparently, he grandly announced that the vacant building was now "His building"!  Talk about delusions of grandeur!  It seems that he could not have robbed sweets from a child without backup.   He was a man with no physical presence.  He needed people behind him  in everything.  One woman who knew him summed him up thus : "He was a horrible bastard"!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Gangland - The TV series

This documentary series shows the complete change to the face of Gangland in the United States.  This series does not bother with the Mafia.  It shows all the different mafias that are now running the streets.  The Russians, Latinos, Bikers, black neighbourhood gangs, prison gangs, skinhead groups, Chinese, Vietnamese, and any other ethnic groups.  Outside the huge corporate crime that La Cosa Nostra was known for, garment, garbage, gambling, loansharking, etc, the bigmoneymaker is drugs,and that is firmly in the hands of the new generation of criminals.  There cannot be the revered "street tax" that was levied on criminals in Chicago and Philadelphia opereating these days as I cannot see a load of young hoodlums handing over lots of cash to Italians, because they have been ordered to.  All I could see would be a mass killing of Italians.  These guys would cut everybody in sight down, even the mob soldiers` families.  Nobody would be off-limits.  It would be open season.

The Black Dahlia

This celebrated unsolved murder, is one of a small number of cases that have attracted amateur sleuths that come forward with plausible and quite often, outrageous claims.  The most celebrated are, of course, Jack The Ripper, The Zodiac, and The Black Dahlia.  

    This case was very sensational, in that the victim, would-be actress Elizabeth Short was dissected and her body put on display in a residential neighbourhood.  The killer was never apprehended, and over the years, some fanciful theories have surfaced.  One woman claims her father was the killer, and a cop named Steve Hodell claimed that not only was his father the killer, but he was also The Zodiac!  One theory that I do not subscribe to, was that the killer was notorious gangster Bugsy Siegel.  It is claimed that it was done as a message to Los Angeles kingpin, Jack Dragna.  My objection to this theory, is that if Siegel wanted to send a message of any kind to Dragna, the obvious thing to do was kill one of his top men and then dump the body on his front lawn.  An unknown woman, no matter how gruesome the murder, is not going to send a message to a top gangster.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Did that happen?

Did what happen?  Those scare- mongering headlines in the sixties, beloved of the national press, was the supposed breakdown in law and order in seaside resorts.  These family towns being taken over by hordes of mods and their running battles with their mortal enemies, the rockers.  Clacton, Brighton, Margate, Blackpool.  All came under seige.  Well, apart from violence that did erupt in Brighton, all the rest was a gross exaggeration of the facts by the national press.  In most cases, the press wasn`t even there.  Some did admit to "overstating the facts a bit" but at least the new bogeymen were finally in town.  

    This country has not a "Hollister" the town taken over by a huge gang of bikers in 1947, and used as the story in the seminal biker film "The Wild One" with Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin. As an indication of the attitudes of the authorities in this country, the film, made in 1953, was finally allowed to be seen in Britain, in 1967, as a support feature to a Laurence Harvey spy film "A Dandy In Aspic".  Yes, we could have seen hordes of thugs on bikes taking over towns the length and breadth of the land, but the banning of this film certainly nipped that in the bud!  But not to worry, a new phase of teenage life was ready to burst onto the front pages of the press: the arrival of rock n` roll and the Teddy Boys.

The Truth Game Part 2

What is true and what is not?  The exaggeration of events has gone on since time began, and it is done usually for self-promotion.  The memoirs of former criminals is the stand-out in this respect.  Let us go back to an old villain from the East End named Arthur Harding.  His stories generally changed over the years and cannot be classed as a true account of his activities.  We can move onto the truly first big bullshit artist and that was Jack Spot.   This alleged "hero" of the East End came to prominence with the celebrated "Battle of Cable Street" with the Blackshirts of Oswald Mosley.  He bravely led a charge against the ring of personal bodyguards of Mosley, all allegedly huge all-in wrestlers.  Spot battered one nicknamed "Roughneck" with a chair leg that was filled with lead.  All very good, but there is a massive problem here: The "Battle of Cable Street" never took place!  Mosley was advised by the Police not to march and rather than be seen to be in conflict with the Police, he did not march.  Yet, here was Spot trading on a story that was pure fantasy.  And, it was far from the last fairy tale he told.

    The memoir of Spot`s "Man of a thousand cuts" ghostwritten by an American pulp fiction writer under the name of Hank Jansen, was full of "Newcastle Fred", "Edgeware Road Sam" and other various names.  In the final analysis, Spot was nothing but a thug, and liked to use the media, in the same way that Billy Hill had the journalist Duncan Webb eulogising himself.  The huge difference between Hill and Spot was that Hill was a genuinely intelligent and very organised man.  A mastermind.  Something that those "Heroes of the East End" the Krays, never were.  

    A puzzle has been the not very well publicised fact that the Krays never bothered a family from the East End.  The Tibbs family.  Two books, one by former cop Bert Wickstead, the other by Robert Murphy, mention this fact.  It seems that everybody else suffers from amnesia.  The Krays themselves suffered these attacks when it came to them being told to leave Manchester by the cops and their aborted attempt to move into Liverpool.  A cop shoved a gun under Reg Krays` chin and told him in no uncertain terms, never to return there.  A convenient memory loss for these events. What about the alleged beating Ron Kray received from George Cornell?  Surely this would have been a major talking point.  Is this story that should not be told in case it destroys the legend?  Legend?  My arse!


Sunday, 10 April 2011

The truth game

When is a lie, not a lie?  Answer: Depending on who is saying it!  I accept that I am nothing, but I most certainly am NOT an out and out liar and bullshit merchant.  As Canadian crime journalist Yves Lavigne pointed out that there are people who prefer to accept the fabricated rather than face the truth.  It is strange that truth & facts are the mortal enemies of the liar & the bullshit merchant.  Sad isn`t it?