Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Headless Man

The case of the Headless man was a high society divorce scandal that happened around 1963/64.  The Duke of Argyll was divorcing his wife after a scandalous photograph was taken of her with an unknown male.  The Duchess was naked except for a necklace around her neck, and she was on her knees in front of this man, giving him a blow-job.  For many years, the arguments raged as to just who the naked man was.  The photograph cut off his head so his identity was unknown, hence the Headless Man.  Candidates who emerged included the grandson of Winston Churchill, the Duke of Edinburgh, but eventually his identity was revealed about 15 years ago.  It transpired that the romeo was none other than actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Cases From The Past

Today I wish to travel back in time to some cases from when I was growing up.  First off, a case that grew into a cause celebre`.  In 1972, a fire broke out in a london flat, and the emergency services discovered the body of a man, named Maxwell Confait. It emerged that Confait was a male prostitute, who was also a transvestite and called himself Michelle.  The original prime suspect was the property landlord, Winston Goode.  It transpired that they had a close friendship though Goode denied any homosexual relationship.  However, during questioning, he let slip that he knew Confait was planning to move out and this upset him.  

    There were a number of conflicting conclusions with the autopsy, with some distinguished pathologists on both sides of the divide.  Goode was released, took an overdose and was admitted to hospital, suffering memory loss.  Soon afterwards, he committed suicide.  There were then a spate of fires being set and Police arrested three teenagers aged 18, 15 & 14.  The eldest had a mental age of just 8, but all were questioned intensively without any adult presence.  All claimed that they were beaten by Police and confessed to the crime.  At trial, all three were convicted, with one being sent to Rampton Psychiatric Hospital.  The families of the boys fought the convictions, and eventually, Home Secretary Roy Jenkins referred it back to the Court of Appeal.  The resulting enquiry cleared the three boys and a new case investigation pointed the finger at somebody else.  The new suspect later committed suicide before charges could be brought.

    How about the great corruption trial in 1972 of a number of high ranking Metropolitan Police Officers, including Wallace Virgo, head of C1 department which incorporated a number of specialist police squads, including the Porn Squad, and Bill Moody, the head of the Porn Squad.  It seemed that they operated the most lucrative protection racket in London, with pornographers paying huge sums of money to them for a licence to trade.  No payments meant anybody plying their trade without the okay of Virgo & Moody was closed down and prosecuted.  They and a number of junior officers were convicted, though Virgo`s was overturned on appeal, if I recall correctly.

    Another Police trial concerned members of the Drugs Squad, with some going to prison.  The head of the squad, Vic Kellaher, resigned from his job amidst the scandal.  The most notorious member of the squad was Sgt Pilcher, who garnered a reputation for busting rock stars.  It was said that if no drugs were found on the premises raided, then drugs mysteriously appeared, and we all know that Police Officers did not plant drugs or do anything untoward.  Pilcher`s first celebrity arrest was folk singer Donovan, then he got Lennon & Harrison, then Jagger & Brian Jones.  Others followed but what comes around, comes around.  Pilcher was sent down.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Video Nasties Myth Pt 2

In this spot, I wish to correct some of the myths about some of these films.  The most notorious film was the film known as "Snuff".  Now for the truth.  It was NOT a snuff film.  In reality, it was a 1971 Argentinian Zombie film entitled "Slaughter", and it had come to the attention of a film distributor in 1975.  There was talk of "Snuff" films being around, so he decided to get in on the action.  He hired an independent horror/ porno film director named Michael Findlay to film "An ending to the ending".  He used a lookalike actress to be the woman "Murdered for real".  Rock star Alice Cooper knows the woman despite the "fact" she was "murdered".  In fact, it has been said that you can tell the two women are different, if you are prepared to use your eyes.

    The next step was promoting the film and retitling it.  However, when it went on release in New York, outraged citizens picketed the film.  The trouble was, they were NOT outraged citizens.  They had been hired by the film distributor to picket his own film, generating plenty of publicity.  Enough for the Federal authorities to question people who went in to see the film; why did they wish to see it?  Did they know anything about it?  Twist number two, they were NOT FBI agents.  They were actors hired by, Guess who!!!  When it came some years later to releasing it on video, he went about the same cheap publicity stunts to get media attention.  He could not have imagined the publicity it received over here, with hysterical tabloid coverage, and judges banning reporting of the "horrific" details in this film.  All this information can be found in a book entitled "Video Nasties" and through horror film expert Kim Newman.

    "I Spit on Your Grave" has recently been remade, but the original was made way back in 1975, and was called "Day of The Woman".  What was unique about it was, despite the graphic rape scenes, which I hated, the director was a woman.  The star, Camille Keaton, was the Grand Niece of silent star, Buster.

    "Driller Killer" was made by and starred Abel Ferrera.  I thought it descended into very black comedy with him running up to his victims and drilling them.  He went on to make "King of New York" with Christopher Walkden and the grim classic "Bad Lieutenant" with Harvey Keitel.  This was recently remade with Nicholas Cage.

    "Night of The Demon" was a creature feature with over the top horror effects, and as for the acting, let me reassure you, it was far better in "Thunderbirds".  Many others suddenly appeared in video stores, and if you dig enough, you will find that many were very low budget films made way back in the seventies, by directors now regarded as schlock masters!  The cannibal films that emerged were mainly made by Italians and very poorly.  Again, extremely unpleasant scenes were trowelled up solely for shock effect.  Many of the zombie films were Italian also, with British stars such as Richard Johnson, Ian McCullough and (I think British) Tisa Farrow being in "Zombie Flesh Eaters", made by Italian horror master Lucio Fulci.  All these films have been shown on the Horror Channel , on satellite.

The Video Nasties Myth

Why this choice of subject for a crime blog?  The answer is simple if you remember the furore was used by the Tories as a Law & Order issue.  This all began when Conservative MP Graham Bright wished to introduce a Bill banning a certain number of films that had been issued on video and had not been classified.  Mr Bright said that it only concerned about thirty films, including Driller Killer, I Spit On Your Grave, Night of The Demon(Not the classic!), some cannibal films.  A report on the subject was being sponsored by an all-church coalition, in which some guy in charge, would work with a university team of researchers.  Eventually, a rough draft was readied, and was waiting to be properly written and presented, when the university team had a break.  This is where the deceit came into play.

    After the break, it was being presented to the media, and the university team leader was approached by some senior Tories saying, "Well done.  Exactly what we are looking for".  he thought the comments a bit strange.  He then received a massive shock, as the man in overall charge started going on about how many children were being subjected to these films by their parents, and what they were watching.  This bore absolutely no resemblance to the rough draft they had worked on.  After the press conference, he asked the team leader how he came by these facts as his research team had no knowledge of this, whatsoever.

    He received total silence.  Shortly afterwards, this team leader entered the university, with others, and took all the files and data that had been worked on.  They also wiped all the computers.  The university team had no back-up proof about their research.  And as for the "films" that children had allegedly watched, all the titles had simply been made up.  The whole project had been hijacked by some Conservatives to be used as a Law & Order issue.

    The tabloid explosion was predictable.  Screaming headlines and hysterical editorials ignored the facts.  Truth is the enemy of the liar, the bullshit merchant, tabloid newspapers, et al.  One major point that the newspapers ignored was that two churches distanced themselves from the report, very unhappy about how the data was allegedly collected.  These were the Catholic and Methodist churches.  I do not believe Mr Bright was involved in this, but his Bill was undoubtedly hijacked for political purposes.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Death of The Sixties Pt 2

Part two of the tales of 1969 is all about that master manipulator, Charlie Manson.  What truly made this stand out was the horrific murder of actress Sharon Tate and her unborn baby.  Also murdered was celebrity hairdresser Jay Sebring and three others.  Was it a racially motivated act, as the evidence tried to make out?  No, it was an act of a man spitting out his dummy, and five people being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The real target was record producer Terry Melcher.  Why was Melcher the target?  Simple.  He had the audacity to reject the music of Charles Manson, and as Manson had a camp of followers who hung on his every word, and would do anything he told them to do, it was easy to send them out, kill everybody that was there and stage the crime scene. Melcher would pay the ultimate price for rejecting Manson and his music.  However, they did not know that Melcher had rented his house out to film director Roman Polanski and his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate.

    The next set of murders were the Lobiancos, prominent local business people whose home was simply selected as the target, by chance.  Their brutal murders were part of an elaborate scheme by Manson to draw attention away from him and his followers, and to try and start a race war, in which Manson envisaged himself as emerging to a destroyed world and taking control with his clan.  Delusional or what?  However, they were all apprehended and Manson and four others received the Death Penalty, which was repealed in California, and they all received life sentences.  What was remarkable about the trial was the antics of Mansons` followers.  Shaving their heads, tattooing crosses on their foreheads, like their guru, and spouting the usual bullshit of how innocent he was.  In a documentary on the case, they interviewed the three women who originally received the Death Penalty.  Two expressed remorse for their crimes but as usual, there has to be one who still believes in the bollocks of Manson.  No sympathy for them from me.


Death of The Sixties

By 1969 there had been a significant change in the attitudes of the so-called "Counter-Culture."    Two events happened in that year changed the face of the 60`s in the eyes of the world.  One was the killing of a black man, Meredith Hunter, by a group of Hells Angels, at a huge outdoor concert of the Rolling Stones.  The other incident, which was far more hideous, was the slaughter of seven people by a group of so-called children of the counter- culture.

    The concert by the Stones, was held at a disused speedway stadium at Altamont, in California.  Originally, it was supposed to have been a free concert in San Francisco Park but was over-ruled by local government.  To save the show, a stadium was found at Altamont, and preparations began.  Two other groups were on the bill as support; the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.  But in what turned out to be a monumental error of judgement, the Stones management hired local Hells Angels as security.  They reasoned that it would be okay, as just before, they used British bikers as security in the free show in Hyde Park.  They did not envisage the complete difference in the way American bikers acted to the British bikers.

    Trouble broke out whilst the Airplane were on stage.  Every time the crowd surged towards the stage, the Angels beat them back with pool cues and other weapons.  Eventually, the Stones hit the stage, and trouble kept breaking out between the crowd and the Angels, with Mick Jagger constantly pleading with the crowd to try and keep it in order.  During one incident, a black man named Meredith Hunter pulled a gun, and on seeing this, the Angels moved in and attacked him with weapons and one stabbed him to death.  The Stones were performing "Under My Thumb" at this point.  Later, the repercussions were felt, mainly by the Stones, and to some, it signalled the end of the so-called "Peace Decade."  In a documentary about the concert, a local radio station had a phone-in, and some bikers called in, blaming the Stones for everything, and tried to say that they were upset at people touching their bikes.  It has been claimed that the Stones` management paid out a significant bribe to prevent a contract being taken out on Jagger.  Jagger was also allegedly blamed by the Angels for not publicly supporting them.  It should be noted that they are virtual white supremacists, with a taboo being black members.  Strange though, that in 1986, Ralph "Sonny" Barger, presented a plaque to an all black outlaw club, the East Bay Dragons, commemorating their twenty five years as an active club.

    Part two to follow.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

"Warrior. Your Cell is .....Ready!"

Thinking of the case of former Gladiator Mike Ahearne and the Liverpool cop Elmore "Fuck 'Em" Davies, reminded me of the time Ahearne brought his car into the accident repair centre, in Ellesmere Port, where I worked for more than ten years.  He drove in behind the wheel of a red Trans-Am Pontiac, and a Passat that was brought in by his bodyguard.  Strange that a man of the physique of Ahearne needed a minder, and that Ahearne worked as a doorman at a club on the Bromborough Industrial Estate.  I think it was at Fifth Avenue, or was at the Ritzy.  They are only about fifty yards apart.

    The minder was as big as Ahearne, but where as Ahearne was pumped up muscle, the minder was just bulk.  When he came to pick up his Passat, I drove it down to him.  Because of his size, the seat was lowered, and as I am not tall, I could just about see over the steering wheel.  A few years later, when the case broke about Ahearne , Davies & Curtis Warren, and the subsequent TV show "Mersey Blues" and the infamous outburst over Davies' rejection for promotion, brought a new catchphrase.  At this depot, I worked with a good few lads from Birkenhead, where Ahearne & Davies shared a flat, and every time one walked past you, there came the infamous Davies phrase of "Fuck 'Em!"  I heard from a couple of lads that Ahearne was useless as a doorman and was merely employed for his size.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Joyce McKinney

Recently, on the front page of the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, was a headline about a Dutch born Mormon Missionary being jailed for grooming a young for sex.  This immediately brought back memories of that juicy scandal that the tabloid press just loved, The Manacled Mormon. This was back around 1977, and a blonde American woman, Joyce McKinney, had an obsession about an American Mormon missionary, Kirk Anderson. 

    It seems that she followed him to these shores from the States, and she managed to entice him into a room and she chained him to a bed.  She eventually was arrested, tried and convicted,  The press had a field day with the story.  I was always asking people if they remembered the case.  Most did not.  Some recalled the essential element; the chains.  It is nice to see a story in the press and it sets off memories of similar cases.

Back To The Port Again

Time to travel back to Ellesmere Port and incidents in the past.  Back in the late 70`s, a huge gang fight took place in the town centre, involving around 150 youths and young men.  The Police simply could not cope and had to bring in reinforcements from Chester & Runcorn.  In the following court case, one name was there, and his popped up over the next number of years in the local rag involving various crimes.  One was a money snatch from the back of a motorcycle. Back in 1992, I got to know one woman, who named her ex-husband, and it was this man.  I recalled these two incidents, which she confirmed.  "You don`t know him do you?" she asked.  I did n t, but again recalled where he lived at those times, which was a couple of streets away from where I lived.

    Another big incident, happened in the early 70`s.  There was bad feeling and aggravation between two groups of men, and after some skirmishes, one group recruited a huge number of youths & men and went to the social club, down in the Stanney area of the town, where they drank.  This crowd surrounded the club making lots of noise and threats, to draw this group out, but very wisely, they stayed inside.  Many Police converged on the scene, and this crowd quickly dispersed.  The point, apparently, had been made.

    One incident which was very big, was when a Police Officer was beaten over the head, and left in a serious condition.  The Officer did make a full recovery and later returned to duty.  As to be expected, many Police were drafted in and were taking no shit off anybody. The assailant was captured, prosecuted and jailed.  The man responsible was Graham Irving, and after he was released from prison, he was monitored by the Police.  Whilst in jail, he bulked himself up on the weights, and this came to use a few years later with a violent incident down the street where I lived.  A party took place, and inevitably, a fight broke out.  It seems that a few guys attacked the host, and Irving jumped in to protect him, knocking one through a plate glass door, and hammering two more in the street.  Police arrived quickly, and I remember seeing an ambulance pass carrying a man covered in blood.  I was informed years after this, that Irving had died, no doubt the Police rejoiced.

    Another two men whose passing was not missed by many, were David Shorey and Jimmy Dore.  Shorey was a drug addict, constantly in court for various offences, mainly for theft.  He needed the money for the pusher.  One attempted theft resulted in it needing six officers to restrain him and get the cuffs on him.  His Solicitor was at his funeral.  The other, Dore, was a violent man.  One friend, a guitarist, was beaten up by three lads, so his younger brother, whom I went to school with, told me that his brother & Dore went and sorted them out.  Another tale was that in a pub, Dore was having a heavy blow-up with a smaller guy.  Somebody said that he should pick on somebody his own size.  Dore`s response was to turn around, grab the guy next to him and viciously butt him.  I read about his demise in the local rag and one person, on hearing of his death, said that it was good and that nobody will miss him.  

    There are many more tales from the Naked City.  Stay tuned.