Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The Savile Affair

Everyday brings an apparent new "revelation" about the actions of one Jimmy Saville.  It seems that he did face a number of probes into allegations about his behaviour, but they never went any further.  Allegations were made in the media that Saville paid off Police to drop their investigations.  He certainly had the money to do that.  Then came the usual garbage that "He was too powerful to touch." 

    This is the line spouted about people like celebrities, or criminals like The Krays.  The reason, I believe, that it was said that The Krays "were too powerful" was the protection they received from bent Police and politicians like Boothby and Driberg.  It is very fanciful to make somebody "above the law" when they are paying people to protect their interests, and it really shows just "how powerful" they were.  If no Police were on the payroll, how long would they have been at liberty?  No tip-offs, no warnings, no taking villains off the streets with unimpeachable information, they being constantly under surveillance and raided often.  It is amazing what conclusions you can come to, when you take off the rose-tinted glasses!

    Now we have PR bullshit merchant Max Clifford, claiming celebrities are flocking to him, afraid of being "caught up" in the Saville scandal.  Hmmm!  Seems like a whole lot of guilty consciences.    "How can you expect them to remember things they did forty years ago?"  Well, if they cannot "remember what they did forty years ago" how do they know they were screwing underage girls?  What was allegedly acceptable all those years back, is certainly not now, hence the panic.  Scared celebrities?  At the end of the day, the law is the law, no matter who you are.

Monday, 29 October 2012

A Dead Genre

One area of crime that has virtually bitten the dust, and that has been the the "Criminal Autobiography."  Back in the beginning of the millennium  numerous books appeared on the market with various former villains "Telling All" of their supposed prolific careers of crime.  Many hit on the same formula, i.e. they were major players in the underworld, they never lost a fight, they never grassed on anybody, hated bullies, and showed nothing but the highest respect for women and children. Ad Nauseum.  

    A frequent feature was the disagreement with everybody else`s tales of events.  Some of these books were nothing but out and out lies.  The king of these is Dave Courtney, a man who needs publicity like oxygen, and has plenty of morons ready to swallow all the bullshit he spouts.  It was claimed to me that Courtney has made mega-bucks for his publisher, Virgin.  The fact is that these books do not have great sales figures, and a number of Courtney's ` have bombed.  The last one I seen on the market, it ended up being sold off to the cheap book shop chains, such as "The Works"   So much for a "Mega-seller!"  The truth is, books sold in the supermarkets at less than half price, usually paperbacks, have exceeded sales predictions and have gone into profit for the publisher, so they can off-load them cheaply.  With hardbacks, there is usually discount agreements between the supermarkets and publishers.  With "The Works" and other shops like "County Books" these get the very poor sellers that publishers and distributors can get rid of, even for a very small amount, and saves them having loads pulped for no returns.

    The market had dropped out some years ago, and the publishing companies, by and large, were simply not interested.  It no longer works that somebody claims he was an associate of The Krays, as they are regarded in a lot of circles as old hat, and many people simply are not interested in them anymore.  The occasional tome breaks through such as "Bringing Down The Krays," a tale I regard as being more than it was.  My opinion!  

    A couple of years back, I was put forward as a possible candidate to "Ghost" a memoir of a former London villain.  The man originally approached, turned it down and put my name forward to the man who was acting as a go-between for the villain.  I was never told whom it was, though I did have a guess.  The go-between would not confirm his identity to me, unfortunately.  I was also sent a rough copy of part of a manuscript about a guy smuggling drugs in the States.  It seemed that he was in jail over here, and his story was being handled by a firm of solicitors, whom knocked me back when I made some inquiries.

Friday, 26 October 2012

A Touch of Class

When you peruse the annals of historical crime, one thing that is clear to see is that class, for many years, played apart in British Justice.  If you had plenty of money or privilege  you were virtually above the law.  Let us examine a couple of controversial examples.  How about the trial and execution in 1922 of pantry boy Henry Jacoby. He battered to death a wealthy woman in a hotel where he worked.  Despite his young age - 18 - and a recommendation for mercy from the Jury, he was hanged.  Now, we look at the case of Ronald True.  Convicted for a brutal murder in 1923, in this case, it was the JUDGE who asked for a psychiatric evaluation of True.  Indeed, three psychiatrists all concluded that True was insane and therefore not responsible for his actions, and so he was committed an asylum, where not surprisingly, he was a model patient.  True was the illegitimate son of an Army Officer, where the class structure was still rife. This brought accusations that laws differed for the rich and poor. True was the product of a privileged background and Jacoby was working class.

    We now turn to the case of Edith Thompson, hanged in 1923 for murder, an act carried out by her lover, Fred Bywaters.  Mrs Thompson did attempt to stop Bywaters killing her husband, but what did for her, was letters found in the possession of Bywaters.  Certain sections were put forward as evidence, that Mrs Thompson planned the murder with her lover.  What was not used by the prosecution, for obvious reasons, were the whole of the letters.  Certain sections of the letters may indicate intent, but in what context was it meant?  The judge in the case, certainly did not like the fact that a man of Mr Thompson s ` social standing, had a cheating wife, and cheating with a man many years younger than herself.  The general consensus was that she was hanged for her morals.  The letters she received from Bywaters, she destroyed, he kept hers, ultimately leading to their collected doom.  Her execution was said to have been an horrific event, in which she collapsed in the Death Cell and had to be held up on the scaffold, unconscious.  This in turn, had a huge effect on the hangman, Rochdale man, John Ellis, leading to his resignation.  Some years later, he committed suicide.

Serial Killers

I am coming to the conclusion that the accepted method of profiling, whether it is the American or the British way, has kept the blinkers on when it comes to the Serial Killer.  The FBI conducted a series of interviews with thirty six serial murders and rapists, asking about how and why they did their crimes, the MO they used, basically, everything to do with the crime.  The British way is different, but I believe whatever method is used, the ultimate aim is to catch the perpetrator.  Geographical Profiling is also used, in which all facts relating to the location of the crimes, says something about the unsub.  

    It has emerged that in the case of "The Night Stalker" the Police never considered that the violent and depraved sexual attacks and murders, were NOT the work of a serial killer.  Richard Ramirez, the killer, did not fit the profile of a serial offender, as he used different methods of attack, breaking & entering, and what he put his victims through.  Have people not come to a very real conclusion that killers do not have to stick to a particular MO?  My belief that the "signature" in Ramirez`s crimes, was the sheer sexual violence he inflicted.  I also do not believe in the adage that these killers have "an urge" to kill.  My belief is that they have a "desire" which is completely different, and a desire is easier to control and conceal than an "urge" which could expose unsound actions and/or body language, leading to awkward questions.  An example was an attack carried out by Sutcliffe, in Halifax, when he was with Trevor Birdsall.  He asked him to stop the car so he could go for a piss.  Whilst he was out of sight, he attacked a woman.  Was this a man driven by rage, or an overwhelming urge to attack, or a man using an opportunity that presented itself.  A lone woman walking and nobody around.  Of course it was "The Voices" in his head, ordering him to carry out the attack!

    A killer will not commit all his offences to a strict pattern.  Some will use whatever means that come to them, and as in the case of Jessie Earl, a bra works as a convenient bond.  Killers will use anything that comes to hand, but to say that certain aspects must fit a particular killer, otherwise he is not guilty,I feel, is absurd.  Another example is the unsolved disappearance in 1969 of April Fabb, in Norfolk.  She disappeared in a country lane and her bicycle lay on a grass verge, just off the road.  This fitted the MO of notorious child killer Robert Black, the prime suspect in the disappearance of Genette Tate in 1978.  It is difficult to place Black in Norfolk at that time, but that does NOT mean he is innocent.  A lot more research into Black needs undertaking.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Bringing Down The Krays

I had just acquired a new book (From a charity shop) about those heroes to the mentally deranged, The Krays.  Written by three brothers who were associates of them, one of them claims that he was the one that "Brought them down".  Bobby Teale states that he worked as an informer for Tommy Butler, after the George Cornell murder, because he felt they had gone too far and that "He was the man to bring them to book".  Delusions of grandeur seem to be the immediate response to this claim.  It seems that the barmaid who witnessed the shooting and pointed the finger at Ronnie Kray & John Barrie, was like a sideshow, and John Dickson, who drove them both to the Blind Beggar pub, to commit the crime, his evidence was merely secondary.  It seems that Teale believes that the whole case was built upon him.

    The murder of Jack McVitie that put Reggie away, the story does have a number of different versions.  Ronnie is supposed to have held McVitie whilst his brother stabbed him.  Dickson, in his memoirs said thathe heard that Reggie and Ronnie Hart had done it.  Hart was a cousin of the Krays. Lennie Hamilton, a villain tortured by Ronnie Kray, states that he was told by Ronnie Bender, a driver who was present at the scene, that McVitie was held by Hart and Tony Lambrianou, and the window was broken in the struggle with these two.  The murder of Frank Mitchell was carried out by Freddie Foreman & Alfie Gerrard, witnessed by Albert Donoghue.  Foreman later confessed to the murder in print and television, and confirmed that the evidence of Donoghue in court was true.  Despite the change to the Double Jeopardy Law in 1998, Foreman has never been arrested and charged over the Mitchell and Marks murders.  As for other murders, "Frosty" Bill Frost, not David, was a driver, and supposedly murdered.  Yet, he popped up alive and well some years ago and gave interviews for documentaries.  As for "Mad " Teddy Smith, former storng man villain, Henry "Buller" Ward, claims he ran into Smith, some years after his alleged murder, in London.  Ward says that it was not hard to get away from the Krays, if you wanted to.

    Teale may have been an informer for the Yard, but they already had a man on the inside.  This was Alan Bruce Cooper, an American, who it later emerged, was an agent for John Du Rose, head of the Murder Squad.  Lennie Hamilton admits to giving Read statements.  Billy Webb, another villain says that he made statements to the Police.  One woman, whose evidence was very minimal in the McVitie case, says that Reggie Kray threatened to kill her children.  (Cues cries from the fan club "Good ole Reg would never do that")  After they went down, Albert Donoghue never went into hiding.  He stayed with his family in Bow.  And why would Teale deem to think that by coming back to this country, the Police would be waiting for him at Heathrow Airport?  The Krays went down in 1969, and he was talking about the last couple of years!  Did he seriously think that he was SO important, and that they would be there saying, "Cor blimey, Bob, we`ve got you now, for skipping our protection"?  After forty years?  Don`t you think that the Police have more pressing Law & Order issues to deal with, than a guy still concerned over events in the sixties?

   As for the continued "They were too powerful" claims, what about the time they were told to get out of Manchester by the Police?  What about their trip to Liverpool and where Reg had a gun put under his chin by a DI and told to leave and not come back?  What about the family in the East End that they never bothered? The Tibbs family?  What about the time, just before their arrest, when thay attempted to muscle in on the rackets being run by the Dixon Brothers and their boys?  The Dixon mob stood up to them apparently, so it seems logical that they would have been mysteriously arrested by East End cops with  immaculate information, shortly afterwards.  Everybody knows that "Ole Ron & Reg never grassed anybody".  Of course you can believe that.  If you want to.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Peter Tobin

The subject today is that of Scottish serial killer Peter Tobin, killer of three known victims.  The question being asked by Professor David Wilson, criminologist at Birmingham University, is that have serial killers committed more murders than they have been convicted for.  Prof. Wilson has written a book about his conviction that the unsolved Glasgow murders attributed to "Bible John" were in fact, committed by a young Tobin.

    Tobin is alleged to have told his prison psychiatrist that he had committed forty eight murders during his life.  Whether this is true or not, would require a massive amount of detailed research by the Police into the life of Peter Tobin.  I believe that Tobin has committed many more serious offences than is credited to him.  He has a very serious issue with women standing up to him.  Plus, his violence and sadism has no boundaries.

    Prof. Wilson had highlighted the case of Jessie Earl, a Brighton girl who vanished in 1980, and whose skeleton was found, purely by chance, in 1989. The body was found deep in a copse.  Prof. Wilson established through his own investigation, that Tobin was living in the area at the the time Jessie disappeared.  She also fitted the criteria of what Tobins` later victims were, in looks and physical shape.  She had her hands bound with her brasserie.  Yet, astonishingly, this was not labelled a homicide by the Brighton Police, at the time.  It was only years later that it was reopened, but all the evidence had been destroyed.  God knows what people must think when they find a corpse, bound, and carefully hidden in a copse.  Obviously, it was a case of suicide or a natural death!!!

   Prof. Wilson presented his findings to his students, and one who was not convinced was a serving Police Officer.  He believed that the MO did not fit Tobin, in that the killer used a bra as a bind, and the body was not buried.  He did not consider that a bra can be a very handy tourniquet or bind, and that although the body was not buried, it was not discovered for NINE years, and only then, it was by sheer luck.  In that respect, it was as good as burial, and in retrospect, it remained hidden longer than the victims that Tobin buried in his Margate garden.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Criminal Minds

How many of you tune to the TV show Criminal Minds?  This fast paced show provides an insight into the world of profiling.  How they whip up an uncannily accurate profile so quickly, provide breakthroughs in the case that the slow, thick and moronic local cops simply cannot do.  Then the ultimate solving of the case.  Great!

    The reality is much, much slower, the case is solved by the local cops, and the BAU do not take active part in the hunt, they are only in an advisory role.  There are so many factors to be taken into consideration; the autopsy report, the crime scene, the geography of the scene, evidence at the crime scene, etc, etc.  All different details need to be taken into consideration, and I also believe a lot of common sense comes into it.  All this takes time, and as top men like John Douglas, Robert Ressler, Roy Hazelwood and Marl Safarik have pointed out, these profiles are only another tool in the detectives bag.  They are not proof of anything.  An example being that of The Green River Killer.  Douglas provided a profile and it perfectly fitted a man who was at first, the prime suspect.  This man was Melvyn Foster, a taxi driver, who seemed to put himself right into the investigation, an action that a number of killers seem unable to resist.  Many years later, DNA revealed the killer to be a truck sprayer called Gary Ridgway, who pleaded guilty to forty eight murders.

The Water Street Job

The Water Street Job was a unique crime in the annals of British criminal history.  It was the tunneling into and gaining entry to the bank vault, escaping with a reputed £140,000.  This crime took place over the Bank Holiday weekend in August 1969.  Why have I put this on?  simple.  There was an issue very close to home.  My father received a visit from Police officers whom had received an anonymous tip that my father owned a thermal lance.  The villains burned their way into the bank vault with such apparatus.  

    My father opened his shed and showed them his cutting gear;  An oxyacetylene torch, just you find in any garage or workshop.  "Where`s your lance?" was the first question upon entering the shed.  Dad explained that this was the only gear he had and how had they come up with this ridiculous scenario.  They said it was an anonymous tip.  Dad pointed to the next door neighbors ` house saying, "that`s the bastard who phoned you.  He`s only done that because I would n t do a welding job on his car".  This guy was a petty thief, always braking into peoples` sheds and garages.  Dad told the Police whom he bought his cutting gear off, a prominent local businessman and off they went to see him.  Dad phoned him to warn him, to which he thought Dad was trying to take the piss.  Eventually, he convinced him, and soon a return call came.  The guy said he told everything to the plods and then they wanted to know if Dad was a villain, or mixed with heavy villains.  Dad said he should have told them that Ronnie & Reggie were regular visitors!

    The truth was that the villains who did pull the job, were all apprehended and jailed.  The mastermind was said to have been Tommy Comerford, who received ten years.  He was also said to have been Britain's first drugs baron, again receiving a substantial jail sentence later on.

Monday, 8 October 2012

More Undercover stories

If anybody follows what I write, it is all a bit haphazard.  I simply write about whatever I feel on different criminal subjects.  So it does not follow any pattern.  In my last piece, I wrote about some undercover stories that have hit the big time.  There is one story that I came across on the Crime & Investigation Network, on satellite.  This involved an amazing U/C agent in the States.  He was getting the confidence of major drug pushers and was getting them sent down for very heavy sentences.  The Judge that the defendants appeared in front of, was a "Maximum John" style of Judge, in which he handed down the maximum sentence he was allowed to do by state or federal law.  People with small amounts of drugs were receiving sentences of twenty and thirty years plus.  But all this came tumbling down, when it was discovered that the people being sent to prison were barely scratching a living.  One aging man was living in a ramshackle house, yet he was portrayed as the "Local Mr Big" living in squalor to fool the authorities!

    An investigation was launched and it was soon established that these people were poor people and that they had been set-up by the U/C agent.  He was passing drugs to them, only small amounts, but it was enough for him to claim that these were major criminals in the area, and they were soon being arrested and sent to jail for a very long time.  His excuse for his actions was that he wanted to show his bosses, "just how good he was!"  

    One former U/C agent who has shunned anonymity is Peter Bleksey, a man who did go after major villains and did get them.  He has not shirked from showing his face to anybody and has featured in numerous TV documentaries and radio interviews.  He went after villains with intent to get real solid evidence to ensure the convicted stayed convicted.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Undercover Operatives

One area of Police work I have never touched upon and that is the role of the undercover cop.  These have operated for decades in the USA, but only over the last forty years or more in this country.  In this country, the cases I want to write about are the Colin Stagg saga and the case of a woman who"solicited" a murder.

    As this case was been extensively covered, I will be brief.  The Police used a woman agent to ensnare Stagg into confessing he murdered Rachel Nickell.  The judge threw it out, calling it "Entrapment of the most reprehensible kind"  This was not "Establishing his innocence or guilt" as the Police claimed but their attempt to get Stagg to say "I did it" no matter what.  Some years later, the real murderer, Robert Napper was convicted, and it transpired that they had evidence that would have made him a strong suspect.  Since his conviction, there had been silence from the Police and Paul Britton, the Psychologist who drew up the profile and helped with briefing the undercover agent, named "Lizzie James".

    Next, comes the woman who was lucky not to be arrested and charged with Conspiracy to Murder.  The truth was, she never solicited a murder.  This was a set-up by a Police informer.  The woman said something that thousands of women over the last 40 or 50 years, in violent and abusive marriages and relationships have said.  That she would have her husband killed if she could get away with it.  This was said to a taxi driver, who was the said informer.  Astonishingly, he went to the Police who set up a sting with an undercover operative.  HE went back to the woman stating, "Remember what you said about getting rid of your husband?  I can get you a hitman!"  She NEVER asked for a killer.  HE brought it up.  Amazingly, the agent, in his memoirs said that they were trained not to entrap people.  Then what was this case?  The murder plot was set in motion by the informer!  The agent met with the woman who, not surprisingly, dithered.  The agent was pushing for an answer.  She said no, but could quite easily have said yes, but having no intention of going through with it.  All the Police wanted to hear was "Yes".  As I said, the informer, not the woman, set this in motion.  Be warned!

Unsolved Murder

A part of crime that fascinates me is the solving of long forgotten cases.  In the USA, many Police forces have what are known as "Cold Case" squads, who investigate long dead cases,. Just like the TV show "New Tricks"  One case in this country which I can find no information about, is the murder of a garage owner in Birmingham, around 1978.  He was found in a burnt out garage, but it was only when a post- mortem discovered that he had been shot through the forehead.  This was then regarded as a gangland hit.  The newspaper reports at the time said that the Police were investigating the deceased's ` background for any possible criminal links.  All I remember is that the deceased garage owner was named Fred, but do not know if the crime was ever solved.

    Locally, there were four unsolved murders in Bradford, up to the 60`s.  One was a young girl in 1938 in Little Horton Green, Taxi driver Harry Graham, murdered outside Bierley Church in his cab, in 1944, Garner Street in 1955, and a woman in Bowling Park in 1963. The Harry Graham murder was featured in a true crime magazine.

The Bank Job Film

It is remarkable that certain elements in films based on true events, are broadcast as fact.  One recent film that is based on a true crime with elements of it peddled as fact is "The Bank Job"  This was a raid on a bank in London in 1971, where the villains tunneled into it over a weekend, and a story sprung out, that the villains found highly compromising photographs of Princess Margaret were found.  The film portrays the villains as being allowed to get away Scot-free, in order to avoid a huge scandal.  I regard this as total bullshit.

    Let us start with a few facts.  Firstly, the robbers DID NOT get away with it.  They were quickly apprehended and all were jailed. That destroys that tale.  In the film, a Jamaican called Michael X somehow comes into possession of the photos, and Michael X is portrayed as a gangster.  Again, this is totally untrue.  As John O`Connor, the head of the Flying Squad at the time, said, that Michael X was never more than a small-time drug pusher and hustler.  He also stated that X never had a safety deposit box at that bank.  Why would he? He was strictly a nobody.  The only claim to fame he had was that in 1975, he was back in Jamaica, committed a murder and was subsequently hanged for it.  Jamaica still had the death penalty at that time.  No doubt this was another subversion of the truth by the Government.  Sure!  Four years after the job.

    Let us continue.  George Mcindoe, the film`s producer, claimed that a "D" notice was served on the press to gag them.  What is a "D" Notice?  It is NOT a government order.  It is simply a request to keep things quiet, particularly in sensitive Police operations.  Certainly, there has been a flood of old journalists coming forward to state that the Government and the Police issued an official warning of silence over this affair.  Actually, there has n `t. 

    Now we turn our attention to Mcindoe himself and his claims.  He claims that he was introduced to the actual robbers, through criminal acquaintances, and that they showed him the photos.  Now, do you believe that villains who pulled a highly elaborate and lucrative robbery, are simply going to say to a total stranger, "Hi there.  We pulled off this blag and look at these pictures of Margaret being shagged!"  Of course you are free to believe this, and that all and sundry knew who pulled the job, which would naturally come to the attention of informers, who would immediately pass this on to their Police handlers,because this would boost their credibility skywards.  And then, what about the rest of the Underworld?  Would they simply stand by and allow others with highly incriminating and profitable photos?  Would they be moving in on the robbers, take the photos, and then carry out the next logical step?  That is, to eliminate these people.  Two gangs of villains can keep a secret if one is wiped out.  

    It was claimed that the robbers "Did not know what to do" with these pictures.  Really?  The best "Get out of jail" card you could possibly possess?  Photos that could net you fortune sold around the continent and the USA!  There is actually a reasonable explanation for alleged photos.  At the time, blackmail was a highly profitable business, and where else could blackmailers leave their wares in safety!  That`s right.  A safety deposit box!  To finish off, John O`Connor interviewed the men and asked about any supposed photos, as this was being spoken about a lot.  The villains denied all knowledge of them, stating that it was a made up story.  So much for the best "Get out of jail free" cards.  What do you think?