Thursday, 31 October 2013

James "Whitey" Bulger

This man was at the heart of a major scandal involving corruption in that most hallowed of American institutions, the FBI.  This involved two ruthless killers being informants for the Bureau, whilst the agents of that particular field office kept them notified of any moves that may have been planned against them, turning a blind eye to the serious crimes they committed but the ultimate betrayal of the ideal of J. Edgar Hoover, was turning a blind eye to numerous murders committed by this duo.  The men in question were James J. "Whitey Bulger and his sidekick, Steve "The Rifleman" Flemmi, and it was the Boston office of the FBI that protected them.  The lead cop involved was John Connolly.

    The official reason given for protecting Bulger and his mob was that they were going to help the Bureau break up the Boston arm of La Cosa Nostra.  Bulger was part of the Boston crime scene that included the Mob, the Winter Hill gang, and other smaller gangs. His stronghold area was known as "Southie" or South Boston.  Bulger and Connolly knew each other in their younger days, as they both lived in the same neighbourhood, and Connolly played on the fact that it was he who recruited Bulger & Flemmi as informers, but the reality was that if the Mob were taken out, it left the field clear for Bulger to control Boston, with the Bureau`s protection.  Numerous murders followed with a lack of investigation by the Bureau but one man eventually turned, and that was Kevin Weeks, who had been up to his neck in the crimes with Bulger & Flemmi.  He knew not to talk to the Bureau.  Flemmi and other associates were arrested but Bulger vanished with his girlfriend.  

    Bulger remained at large for twenty years, travelling around the world.  He was reputedly seen here in Manchester but disappeared before Police could find him.  He was eventually arrested in California in 2011, after twenty years in the FBI`s "Ten Most Wanted".  The film "The Departed" with Jack Nicholson, Leonardo DiCaprio & Matt Damon, is loosely based on Bulger.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Joe Kenda - The Homicide Hunter

This series about the cases of a real Homicide cop is compulsive viewing for those who wish to see a real life Columbo in action.  Joe  Kenda worked for the Colorado Springs PD, and in his career, he solved nearly four hundred murders, making him a Supercop.  One other cop who was a brilliant investigator and solved around two hundred cases, was the late Lou Smit, the man who demolished the case against the Ramseys, over the murder of their daughter, Jonbenet.  Kenda explains how he approaches each case.  Every little detail or possible scenario is carefully scrutinised, until it can be eliminated.  As is the case in many Police Departments in the United States, Kenda did not have a big squad to investigate everything, so it came down to putting in a lot of graft and time.

    It is good to see a cop who would not be obviously taken in by a tape, or dismiss the possibility of one cops` prime suspect being responsible for other sadistic crimes, or chew out a cop who comes up with a suspect that is totally against the flow.  And that suspect turns out to be the killer.  Kenda does not have tunnel vision, a fault with cops, especially in Britain.  Unfortunately, highly successful cops have a nasty habit of falling foul of their own forces, witness the downfall of Ray Mallon, Bob Booth & Tony Lundy.  There are many great investigators both here and in the US, but many have to fight against the internal forces that bog down homicide detection.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Prison Life - Part 1

This is a tale from a guy I knew - he died from cancer last year - of some of his experiences in prison.  There will be no "I was a top man" or "I stood up to the screws" etc, etc, beloved of criminal memoirs.  This is from somebody who was been jailed for minor crimes, and he tells of the sort of inmates he came across in the 1970`s & 1980`s, that you never hear about.  I have edited his story down so it is compact, and does not meander, though the tales are interesting.  This is my tribute to the only person I have ever met who was on the same level as myself on the subject of crime.  Tony, this is for you.

    "The worst prison I was ever in was Strangeways in Manchester.  In Armley, there were strong bright strip lights, but Strangeways had like 40 watt bulbs, creating lots of dark corners, and making it a cheap horrible jail.  The screws were National Front mad, wearing little badges with NF on it.  Not surprisingly, they treated the blacks & foreigners really badly.  In those days, it did not matter how old you were, you were all mixed together.  You could go in knowing nothing and come out knowing everything.  Is prison a college?  Yes, it is.  The downside to people going inside for really stupid things such as non-payment of fines or not paying maintenance, would come out as drug addicts, despite never touching drugs before or be addicted to gambling.  People would even gamble on flies on the wall!

    I was given a job as a hospital cleaner.  The men put in there were suicide attempts, guys who had just been given a life sentence, or were on remand for murder.  They were on suicide watch.  There was one guy, a Pakistani, who had fell in love with a neighbour, a young Asian lass, but he had never spoken to her.  He was much older than her.  Then she got married and he thought she had done the dirty on him.  He broke into her home and killed her, then left her husband for dead, but he lived.  Another guy, he killed a woman. He knocked on her door and asked if her husband was in.  When she said no, he stabbed her death on the doorstep.  This kid had never been in trouble in his life.  He was brought out of his cell for a shave, and he 
had a decent head of hair except for a bald spot , like a monk.  I asked a screw what was up with him, but was told, "No time for talking"  Later on, a screw took me to his cell and told me to look through the peephole.  The guy is wanking!  I turned to the screw and said "I can`t watch this!"  "Keep watching.  Now you`ll know why he has a bald spot"  Suddenly he starts pulling his hair out.  The screw says this lad cannot orgasm.  He gets so close and then tears his hair out in frustration.  Judging by the charge and evidence against him, he decided he needed a woman and knocked on the first door he came to but ended up stabbing the woman to death.  

    When he was weighed off, he got diminished responsibility.  He had been a bird watcher, boy scout of the year, never been in trouble at all, then he does this.  The screw said "When you work down here for long enough, you see allsorts."  On Bonfire night (November 5th) an arsonist was in, and with rockets and all that going off, the kid was hyped up.  One screw pulled down the peephole and said "Hey, I`ve lit a sparkler for you"  The kid has his hand through the hatch, "Go on boss, give it me, give it t me"  The sparkler goes out but this kid still had his hand through the hatch "Give me some ash, boss!"  "Here you are" says the screw, putting some ash into the kid`s hand, and he`s stroking the ash.  He was in for burning a school down"

    This is just an edited version of the story he told me.  I will put more on later.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Kenneth Erskine - Serial Killer

This man is not one of your well known killers, yet he ranks as dangerous as any British serial killer.  His targets were both elderly men and women, in which they would be sexually assaulted and strangled.  His rampage began in April 1986 and ended in July 1986, with seven known victims and another four he is suspected of.  He was handed one of the heaviest sentences ever given in a British court, a recommended minimum of 40 years.  The sort of sentence that would have the whingeing apologists screaming, yet conveniently forgetting how many victims this scumbag killed.

    Erskine was born in 1963 to an English mother and Antiguan father, but he was shunted between foster homes in his early life.  He drifted into crime and was such a prolific burglar that he was able to open ten bank accounts with the proceeds.  Mental health issues have been put forward as the reasons for his murderous spree but this was 18 years after he was caught.  His first victim was 78 year old Eileen Emms, raped and strangled in her home in Wandsworth on 9th April 1986.  Two months later, he murdered another old lady, 67 year old Janet Cockett, in her Stockwell flat on 9th June.  Crucially, Erskine left a palm print in the flat. He then committed a double murder at a Stockwell residential home.  His victims were Valentine Gleim, 84, & Zbigniew Strabawa, 94.  They were sexually assaulted and strangled.  The press dubbed the killer "The Stockwell Strangler".

    Now the next elderly person to suffer was 84 year old William Carmen, who was molested and then strangled in his Islington.  Erskine then moved on returned to his Stockwell killing zone and strangled William Downes, 74 on 21st July.  His last known victim was 83 year old widow Florence Tisdall, murdered in a Fulham retirement complex.  He was arrested in a social security office on 28th July and charged with seven murders.  Police had matched the palm print to him, and he was identified in a line-up by a 74 year old man he had attempted to strangle a month before.

    Incredibly, during his trial, Erskine was masturbating as he sat in the dock.  The Judge sent him down for no less than 40 years.  The psychiatric reports on him were done in 2004, and in 2009, the Court of Appeal accepted that he suffered from Chronic Schizophrenia and Anti-Personality Disorder and reduced the murder convictions to manslaughter.  Erskine was sent to Broadmoor, and is eligible to apply for parole in 2028, which, no doubt the way parole boards operate in this country, he will be considered fit for release and thus filling the community wherever he is put, with fear.  But their fears will mean nothing.  Erskine murdered seven people, and is suspected of four more, including 81 year old Wilfred P{arkes in Stockwell & 75 year old Trevor Thomas in Lambeth, but, hey, we should show compassion.  After all, Erskine didn`t. 

Road Rats MC

This club is one of the oldest in the country but they are also one of the most fearsome.  They do not make apologies for what they have been involved in.  One famous incident that brought them to public attention was a confrontation on Chelsea Bridge on 17th October 1970.  The protagonists were, on one side, the Essex & Chelsea Nomads, and opposing them, were the Road Rats, The Nightingales  The Windsors(long before they were granted a HA charter)& The Jokers.  One of the Nomads was killed, and a number of others arrested.  One of the Road Rats, 20 year old Paul Luttman, was jailed for twelve years.

    The RR again made a headline splash was at Cookham on 18th September 1983, at a Hells Angels party.  Versions vary as to what happened, but it was said that a woman was staked out in a tent and bikers lied up to rape her, and a fight broke out.  Another version has a photograph being taken, to which bikers objected to, that is being photographed in their colours and being identifiable. What is not in dispute, is that two Road Rats, Colin Bunting & Ozzie Harrison were killed.  Four of the Rats were said to have forced twenty of Satan`s Slaves into a small building, using axes and knives, then set the place alight, but things were quietened down by the Hells Angels.  Four were badly wounded and the Police arrested fifty one.  

    Exactly how many members of the Road Rats, over the years, have been killed or jailed, is testament to just how they do not take prisoners.  There are some of the Slaves where I come from; in fact one lived two streets away, and some of the Slaves from around here, where I live now, periodically go over to visit them, and drink in the pub I did before I moved.  The only bike gang that existed around there was in Chester and called the Renegades, but there is no doubt in my mind, if they ran into the Road Rats, they would soon realise they would be way out of their depth.  I remember in my roadying days, one member of the group telling the young singer about biker gigs he(bassist) and the guitarist did.  "You have bikers in Chester & Wrexham but these are in a totally different league".  These gigs were for a bike club around the Chorley/Lancashire area.

    UPDATE:  Howard Smedley has a right to reply and wants the following facts published to set the record straight.  On October 17th 1970 on Chelsea Bridge, the stand off was between the Essex & Chelsea Nomads and The Road Rats/ Nightingales/Windsors & Jokers. Subsequent reports of a fatality are incorrect.  Peter Howson, from the Essex Nomads was shot and wounded.  He was later jailed for a shooting in the New Forest, then later went to Brighton University where he gained a PhD.  There were a number of arrests and one Road Rat, Paul Lutman, was jailed for twelve years.  

    The incident at Cookham Dean in September 1983 does not have just the version provided by the media.  One story as that a woman was staked out to be raped by the bikers and a fight broke out.  Another was that a photograph was taken showing bikers in their colours and also identifying them.  The brawl with Satan`s Slaves resulted in two deaths.  Rats Colin Bunting & Mike Harrison.  Twenty Slaves were forced into a small building and it set alight.  The Hells Angels calmed the situation.  Four were badly wounded and fifty one arrested.  Most of the RR & HA left the scene and some took up to a month to be arrested.  Mr Smedley points out that the photograph incident is true, but much involving the RR is rubbish printed by the media.   Thank you to Mr Smedley.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Clara Harris - A Woman Scorned

Clara Harris was a woman scorned.  Cast aside for a younger woman, she exploded into deadly violence that saw her kill her husband.  Clara married David Harris on Valentines Day - February 14th 1992.  They had two children plus a daughter from David`s first marriage.  He was an Orthodontist, and his success spread to owning a number of Orthodontist Surgeries.  The Harris` lived the good life and had settled in Friendswood in Texas.  They owned their own cars  with Clara driving a Mercedes Benz.  Some years later David had started an affair with receptionist Gail Bridges, a younger woman. 

    Clara decided to try to win her husband back by going regularly to the gym, to tone up her body, had breast implants and visited tanning shops.  All this she hoped would show her husband that she was as good as a younger woman.  But this did not work.  Clara had hired a private detective agency to get the goods on David, and it was on July 24th 2002, the private dick told her that David was at the Hilton Hotel with Gail Bridges.  Clara drove to the Hilton with her step-daughter Lindsey.  It was stated that Clara attacked Gail in the Hotel and that staff had to escort her out to her car.  She did not drive away but waited for the couple to emerge from the hotel.  When they did, she ran him down, but that not being enough, she reversed and then drove over him again, a couple of times.

    Lindsey had witnessed her step-mother kill her father, and she recounted what she had witnessed to the court.  The episode had so traumatised her that she had attempted suicide four times.  The detective agency had been at the scene and they had actually filmed what happened, making devastating evidence.  Clara was convicted and sentenced to twenty years in prison on February 2003, their wedding anniversary.  She resides at Mountain View Unit in Gainesville in Texas.  She was denied parole in 2011.

Patrick Higgins - Child Killer

This case was one of the major forensic breakthroughs in the early 20th century and the first major case involving legendary pathologist Sydney Smith.  Yet it involved a most appalling case of child murder by the father, and was brought to justice by fantastic forensic work by Smith & Prof. Harvey Littlejohn.  This tragic tale began in 1913 when two farmers were walking by a flooded quarry, outside of Edinburgh, when they spotted what looked like a big bundle of rags in the water.  Picking up a long branch, they brought the bundle closer when they realised it was the bodies of two young children tied together.  They immediately went for the Police, who had the bodies removed and sent to Prof. Littlejohn.

    The children`s bodies were badly waterlogged, and the presence of adipocere told Smith that the bodies had been in the quarry for between 18 & 24 months.  The adipocere actually preserved the stomach contents, and these were vegetables, so Smith deduced that the vegetables were seasonal and put the time of death at some time at the end of 1911.  He also made a crucial discovery, that broke the case.  A shirt worn by one of the deceased had a mark on it that was the sign of the Dysart Poorhouse, and this led them to Patrick Higgins, a widower and drunkard.  He had been unable to look after his children so he put them in the Dysart Poorhouse but had been unable to pay the small fees, for which he had gone to prison. He took his children out of the Poorhouse and went for a walk with them down to the quarry......

    In September 1913, Higgins stood trial for double murder but pleaded temporary insanity.  This was rejected by the Jury and he was sentenced to death.  He was hanged on 2nd October 1913.  Sydney Smith went on to become one of Britain`s greatest pathologists of the 20th century.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Rena Salmon & The Murder of Lorna Stewart

Rena Salmon was a woman scorned but in this case, it was not the wayward spouse that was killed, but his pregnant girlfriend.  Rena went to the salon of her rival and shot her twice with a shotgun that belonged to her husband.  Then she calmly called Police, admitting to what she had done.  She said that she had originally intended to commit suicide in the salon, but shot Lorna Stewart, 36, instead.

    Rena Salmon had married Paul Salmon in 1985, and had two children.  He worked as an IT consultant and earned very good money, giving his family a good life, and good home in Great Shefford in Buckinghamshire.  But years later, things had changed.  Rena had learned from the husband of Lorna Stewart, that her husband and his wife were having an affair.  Paul Salmon had moved into a flat in Iver, Buckinghamshire.  Lorna Stewart and her children had been taken to Australia by her husband in an attempt to save their marriage, but she came back to the UK and moved into Paul Salmons` flat.  He had also started divorce proceedings.  He was 42 and his wife, 43.  Rena hired a locksmith on 5th September 2002 to open a secure cabinet containing her husbands` guns, and then on 10th September, the former Army Corporal went to the beauty salon run by her love rival, situated in Chiswick, West London.

    She walked in, and according to witness Lindsey Rees, Lorna said to Rena "Have you come to shoot me?" "Yes" was the reply, and two shots rang out.  Then Rena picked up the telephone and called the Police, telling them that she had just shot her husband`s mistress.  She did not deny killing Mrs Stewart, in court, but denied murder, claiming diminished responsibility.  The Jury did not believe her and convicted her on a 10-2 majority.  Paul Salmon had told the court that Rena had attacked Lorna in her own home, had attempted suicide and even spoke of killing her children.  She was sentenced to life imprisonment

The Muriel McKay Kidnap & Murder

This is a case I remember when I was young as it dominated the news media for months, and the fact that Mrs McKay was never found.  What happened was that the kidnappers snatched the wrong person.  The intended target was Ana Murdoch, wife of media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, but the woman taken was Muriel McKay, wife of his deputy, Alick.  The kidnappers were two Trinidadians, Arthur & Nizamodeen Hosein.  Arthur Hosein came to Britain as a tailor`s cutter, did some national service, then married a German girl named Elsa.  1967 saw him buy a farmhouse on the Hertfordshire/Essex border.  Later a plan to make money was hatched with his brother.  They decided on the owner of the News of The World newspaper, Rupert Murdoch, and followed his limousine to an address in Wimbledon.  They did not know that the Murdochs were on holiday, and the McKays were staying at his home.

    It was at 7.45pm on 29th December 1969, that Alick McKay came home to find the house in disarray and his wife missing.  He ran the story in the Murdoch newspapers, despite Police pleas not to.  He received a phone call with a male voice saying "We are mafia M3" and that they took his wife because Ana Murdoch was not there.  He demanded £1,000,000 or she died. A note was received with his wife pleading for her husband to get her released.  Alick McKay and his daughter Diane made a TV appeal to the kidnappers that they could nt get their hands on that much money.  On New Year`s Day, Mr McKay received a call telling him to get the money or else.  A doctor went on TV stating that Mrs McKay needed medication or she could die.  Mr McKay sent his friend Eric Cutler to see a Dutch clairvoyant, Gerard Croiset, who said she was being held in a place on the Herts/Essex border.  Police made searches of border areas but found nothing.

    The McKays received a call on 1st February, telling them that the son, Ian, was to put £500,000 in cases and go to a crossroads on the A10 road.  A cop went in his place but nobody showed up.  They called again on the 6th, saying that Alick & Diane were to take the train to Epping, wait for a call, then take a taxi to Bishops Stortford, leave the cases by a mini van that was parked by a garage, and leave.  Again, cops went in their place.  However, somebody not knowing about the operation, reported the cases to the Police, and a Volvo was seen repeatedly passing the cases.  A registration check led them to Arthur Hosein, owner of Rooks Farm, on the Herts/Essex border.  His fingerprints were found on the ransom demand, and he and his brother were arrested and charged.  Police scoured the farm and surrounding area for weeks, but there was no trace of Muriel McKay.

    They were put on trial at the Old Bailey on 14th September 1970.  They blamed each other.  Convicted without a body, Arthur Hosein received life, plus 25 years for kidnapping, 14 years for blackmail & 10 years for sending threatening letters.  Nizamodeen received the same sentences except for kidnapping, which he received 15 years.  It is not surprising to know that they have been out of prison for many years, which made their sentences a joke.  They have NEVER told what they did to Mrs McKay, yet a parole board gave them release!  The belief is that they killed Mrs McKay and fed her body to pigs, hence absolutely no trace.  A terrible crime and a travesty of so-called punishment.

    An update and correction to this post; Nizamodeen was released but Arthur was consistently denied parole, causing him to complain to the European Court of Criminals - Sorry Human - Rights in 1985 & 1996, dying in Ashworth secure hospital around 2009.  The younger brother was paroled whilst being allowed to remain silent about what happened to Mrs McKay.  Great `eh!  Thanks to Sublimeport for the corrections.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

The Shooting of Stephen Waldorf

This notorious case highlighted the use of lethal force by the Police.  What made it all the more appalling was that they had almost shot to death, the wrong man.  Not content with pumping bullets into a severely wounded man, one of the officers then proceeded to violently pistol whip the victim into unconsciousness.  What made the Police start firing in a crowded street, and firing into a car with passengers?  The train of events began on 5th August 1982 when a man called David Martin, disguised as a security guard, entered a private cinema in Portman Close in the West End of London to rob it, but it went wrong, and Martin tried to escape.  Police were quickly on the scene, but Martin was armed, and he opened fire on the Police, seriously wounding one officer.  Martin escaped.

    He went to ground but was traced to Crawford Place, located off the Edgeware Road in September.  Police moved in and found Martin disguised as a woman.  He drew two guns but before he could use any, he was shot and wounded by Police.  He was in the cells at Marlborough Street Magistrates Court, but again, managed to escape. It was December 24th. Police now knew he had a woman friend, Susan Stephens, and she was put under surveillance.  She had received phone calls from Martin.

    14th January 1983 saw Susan Stephens travelling in the back of a hired Mini.  Driving was a friend Lester Purdey.  In the front passenger seat was film editor Stephen Waldorf.  Unknown to them, they were being trailed by a car with armed Police officers inside.  Only one knew what Martin looked like.  They were stuck in traffic in Pembroke Court, in the Earls Court area of London.  One officer approached the car on foot, DC Finch, who claimed the driver seen him, spoke to the passenger, who reached for the back seat.  Finch fired two shots into the near side rear tyre, then shot four times at Stephen Waldorf.  The other armed cop, DC Jardine, fired five shots through the rear window at Waldorf.  Lester Purdey leapt out of the car and ran,  Waldorf tried to follow Purdey despite serious injuries.  He was shot twice through the open door by Jardine.  Waldorf later remembered somebody putting a gun to his forehead, then saying "OK cocksucker!" then pulling the trigger, but his gun was empty.  Waldorf was then brutally pistol whipped as he lay critically injured, handcuffed and  dragged onto the pavement.  Susan Stephens was dragged screaming hysterically , from the car.  Stephen Waldorf had serious head, abdomen & liver injuries.  Miraculously, he survived.

    David Martin was later arrested again.  When challenged, he ran into West Hampstead Tube Station, but was arrested without incident.  He was convicted in court of the attempted murder of PC Nicholas Carr and sentenced to life.  He later committed suicide in prison.  Stephen Waldorf made a complete recovery and received £150,000 in compensation from the Police and Sue Stephens received £10,000 in compensation.  Finch & Jardine went on trial for attempted murder but were cleared.  The general consensus at the time, felt that the Judge`s summing up gave the Police a licence to shoot to kill, regardless of the situation.  Police firearms training has improved considerably but there are still serious incidents of unarmed people being shot dead, producing the claim that we are now very close to government sanctioned death squads. The fact that the officers were cleared means I cannot give my opinion on the actions due to our gracious libel laws.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Triple Killer Barry Prudom

This episode from the early 80`s showed a forward thinking Police Chief bringing in an expert tracker to locate a man escaping from surrounded areas, and this tracker leading Police to his hideout, which resulted in death.  This man, Barry Peter Prudom, became dubbed by the media "The Phantom in The Forest" but there was nothing glamorous about this vicious killer.  He murdered two Police Officers, attempted to murder another and cold bloodedly shot a tied up couple in the head.  The lady survived but her husband died.  This was no hero.

    Prudom was born Edwards in Leeds in 1944 but his mother remarried some years later to Alex Prudom and he changed his name.  He ended up in an approved school during his teenage years but after leaving Meanwood Secondary School, he got an apprenticeship as an Electrician.  In 1965, he married Gillian Wilson and had two children.  In 1969, Prudom joined B Squadron 23 Special Air Service (V) based in Leeds but was rejected for being unstable and a lack of discipline.  He started a job as a grocer and even worked in Saudi Arabia to bring in more money.  Whilst in the Middle East, his wife left him for another man and cleaned out the bank account.  He hooked up with a woman named Carol Francis, and travelled around, even working in Canada and the US.

    Back in the UK, 1982, Prudom was arrested and charged with a violent assault but failed to appear in court and so a warrant was issued for his arrest.  Prudom had with him a gun that he smuggled in from the US. On 17th June 1982, PC David Haigh went to serve a summons on a poacher near Harrogate, but was not heard from. A colleague found his car near Norwood Edge, and PC Haigh dead from a shot to the head.  An enquiry cleared the poacher and a man whose name was written on PC Haigh`s clipboard.  Prudom was in a green Citroen, which was seen by the murder site, and the diligent work of an officer put a name to the suspect; Prudom. The car was found burned out by Ledsham in West Yorkshire.  Prudom made his way to Torksey in Lincolnshire, where he broke into the home of pensioner Freda Jackson.  He tied her up, stole money then left her.  He moved on to nearby Girton, where again he broke into a house.  He tied up the occupants then ruthlessly shot the couple in the head.  George Luckett died, but miraculously, Sylvia Luckett survived and somehow broke free of her bonds and reached a neighbours` house.

    Now Prudom was at Bickley where Police dog handler Ken Oliver challenged him.  He responded by shooting PC Oliver in the face, and as he staggered for cover, shot several times more.  His dog attacked Prudom and was shot twice but it survived.  Police converged on Dalby Forest in force and searched for the gunman.  He escaped.  At Old Malton, Police Sergeant David Winter and PC Mick Wood challenged Prudom who shot at them.  Prudom pursued the officers , shooting Sergeant Winter three times.  He died.  Journalists covering the story were actually at this murder scene where Prudom attempted to shoot them, causing them to scatter.  Amongst possessions found, was a survivalist book written by former SAS man Eddie McGee.  Indeed, it transpired that Prudom had attended some of McGee`s survivalist classes.

   McGee was brought in and started tracing the fugitive.  The town of Malton was sealed off by Police who believed Prudom was still there.  He broke into another pensioners home, taking them and their son hostage.  He shared a meal with them , tied them up and left.  He had a shelter rigged up, 300 yards from the Police station where the centre of operations was based.  McGee noticed dew drops disturbed on grass and followed a trail to a shelter.  The Police moved in, and threw some stun grenades by the shelter.  A shot rang out, so the order to fire was given.  Prudom was found with a bullet wound to the side of the head.  He had taken his own life.  Prudom lies buried in an unmarked grave in Harehills Cemetery in Leeds.  In 2011, Ken Oliver, the officer seriously wounded by Prudom, passed away.

Monday, 21 October 2013

The Murders of Annie Eels & Samantha Tapper

This brutal double murder at least had one redeeming factor and that is the twisted bastard who committed it was caught and received a minimum of twenty five years.  What drove the killer to murder two women was that he was a gambling addict who owed around £16,500 to banks and credit companies, and thought that their place of work would provide a nice sum of money.  They worked at Rachael`s Health Studio, a massage parlour, in Shrewsbury town centre.  Annie Eels, 55, was simply the receptionist and not involved in any illicit goings-on.  The other victim, Samantha Tapper, 23, was a prostitute.

   Garry Harding, 22, from Welshpool, Powys, had waited in Shrewsbury Town Centre, passing the time reading a newspaper, and keeping observation on the parlour until he knew they were alone.  He had a blunt instrument with him.  Before he had spent time scouring the internet on various methods of killing, showing premeditation.  He knew the studio as he had used it for sex with prostitutes.  It was July 1st 2006 when Harding made his move.  He entered the studio posing as a client but immediately attacked Mrs Eels, from LLansantffraid in Powys, striking her at least 16 times with what may have been a hammer.  He then attacked Samantha Tapper, from Wolverhampton, striking her at least 14 times.  Harding then searched for money, finding money that Miss Tapper had made from her clients.  The deceased were found in a front room, in the early hours of 2nd.

    Harding was quickly arrested and put on trial at Birmingham Crown Court.  Three hours into the trial, he pleaded guilty to both murders and was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years, which considering the research into killing he did, was a bit light.  He should have got a whole life sentence, meaning he leaves prison in a pine box.  A pity.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Unsolved Murder of Brenda Evans

Another unsolved Chester murder was that of 17 years old Brenda Evans on October 7th 1977, in the village of Poulton, south of Chester.  Brenda, of Yew Tree Cottage, Poulton, worked at the village Post Office & General Store, and what was customary for her, was during her lunch break, she would walk to her aunt and uncles` house, for a bite to eat, then return to work.  On this particular day, she bade farewell to her relatives to return to the Post Office.  She never made it.  Her boss, Sam Roberts, was surprised that she had not returned, and later, her mother popped into the Post Office.  Mr Roberts told her of Brenda`s absence, which surprised her and she immediately became concerned.

    Mrs Evans organised a search party with relatives and friends.  Later, the mother of Brenda`s boyfriend, John Pritchard, discovered her body in a wooded area.  Edith Pritchard found her body, dumped down a 12 foot manhole.  She had been strangled with her own tights.  John Pritchard, a farm worker, was working just over a quarter of a mile away, cutting hedges.  This prompted Police to question him intensively, which they did for 27 hours.  He was not released from Police bail for four weeks, but the investigation ground to a halt.  The case gets the standard periodical review and with the advances in DNA and forensic technology, Police hope that something may surface.  As with the hundreds of unsolved murders, maybe one day the guilty will be caught.  Let us hope so.

The Unsolved Murder of Lynne Trenholm

This edition of the murder casebook opens with the unsolved murder of 29 years old prostitute Lynne Trenholm at a massage parlour in the Broughton area of Chester, down the road from where I originate.  It was at 10am on a sunday morning, 9th June 1991, when her body was discovered in an upstairs room at Pinky`s Massage Parlour.  She had been stabbed to death in a frenzy.  The parlour, understandably, closed soon after.

    The Police launched an intensive manhunt in which more than 700 people were interviewed, including a number of men who used Pinky`s solely for sexual purposes.  They were sure that many more men who used Pinky`s had not and would not come forward.  The solitary clue Police have, is a fingerprint that cannot be eliminated.  This from time to time, is entered into the fingerprint system but it still fails to find a match.  After some time, the case ran cold, but it is reviewed at least every two years, with public appeals for any information.  A review and appeal in 2001 did produce 18 phonecalls from the public, but this did not result in any arrests.  There have been further appeals in 2011 & 2012, with the Police hopeful that somebody may pass on that vital piece of information.

    The mother of Lynne, who hailed from Failsworth, outside of Manchester, has made her own appeals to the public to come forward.  She said "It did not matter what she did at Pinky`s".  At the end of the day, she was the victim of murder, and twenty two years on, hopefully, the perpetrator will be brought to justice.


Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Mysterious Death of Herbert Wilkinson

This unsolved murder goes back to 1967, and the Cheshire village of Middlewich.  Herbert Wilkinson had been a Solicitor but he found himself in trouble over his practice, which led to him being struck off by the Law Society at the end of 1966.  It was also alleged that Wilkinson had homosexual tendencies.  The Law regarding homosexuality was changed in 1967, when sex between consenting adults above a certain age was no longer a criminal offence.  It was on June 2nd 1967, that Wilkinson wrote out a note for his housekeeper and then he vanished.  His body was discovered in October 1967 by two men looking for fox earths.  Wilkinson had been buried in a shallow grave beside the Trent & Mersey Canal at Whatcroft.  He was later identified by pieces of his clothing and his shoes.  Autopsy could not conclusively prove the method of death, but it was thought to by strangulation or a blow from a blunt object.

    The murder investigation was headed by Chief Superintendent Arthur Benfield, a man who came to prominence by leading the Moors Murders enquiry.  During an intensive hunt, lasting more than six months, Benfield could not produce a suspect to be charged.  The hunt became one of the biggest in the country, with Police taking more than 800 statements, and interviewed 8000 people in Middlewich and 9000 people across the country.  Later, at an inquest at Northwich in March 1968, the Jury delivered a verdict of wilful murder by person or persons unknown.  The location of the grave was in a remote spot so Police believed that Wilkinson had been taken there by boat.  The case remains open.

An Unsolved Ripper Murder?

It has just emerged that an unsolved murder from 1979 MAY have been committed by Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe.  This is the belief of retired Police Officer Chris Clark.  What goes against it is the fact it was the same day Sutcliffe murdered Barbara Leach in Bradford.  The murder was that of Alison Morris, a 25 year old teacher from Ramsey in Essex, who went for a walk on September 1st 1979.  She was repeatedly stabbed in a frenzied attack.  Police ruled out the Ripper as it was the day that Miss Leach was butchered by Sutcliffe in Bradford, and despite an intense manhunt, the case remains open and unsolved.

    Retired cop Chris Clark who served with Norfolk Police for more than 30 years, is examining 17 unsolved cases, and is doing his own detective work.  What he has unearthed is very interesting.  He has discovered that Sutcliffe had been seen in the area of the murder around the time of it.  What should be remembered is that Sutcliffe was a lorry driver, and they travel around the country.  A couple spoke to a lorry driver looking for directions for nearby Harwich, and when he was arrested for the murders in the north, they recognised the picture of the accused, as the man asking them for directions.  He had time to get back to Bradford.

    Alison was stabbed with a single edged blade.  Now those people whose way of looking at things "Criminal Minds" style who say that Sutcliffe used a hammer and screwdriver and it does not fit his MO.  Well, let us be logical. Criminals do not work to an MO set in stone.  Who is to say that Sutcliffe did not keep a knife in his lorry and his murder tools in his car?  Remember that in 1969, Sutcliffe was arrested carrying a hammer and screwdriver but was charged with being "equipped for theft".  He was arrested in the red light area of Bradford.  Was he "looking for a place to rob" or was he looking for a vulnerable victim?  Earlier in 1967, a Bingley taxi driver was brutally attacked by a young bearded man with a hammer, and was left with injuries that left him unable to work again.  On a hunch, detectives took all the photofits they had compiled during the Ripper hunt, plus Sutcliffes` 1981 AND 1969 arrest pictures.  The taxi driver immediately picked out the 1969 photo as his attacker.  This was shot down by a senior detective with "He only attacks women!"   Obviously, as author Michael Bilton pointed out, he changed his attacks from men to women, as they would not fight back as much, as the taxi driver did.  Michael Bilton also links Sutcliffe to an unsolved 1964 murder of a Bingley bookmaker.

    There are retired cops who find retirement boring and look for tasks to keep them and their minds active.  Doing their own cold case reviews is a very good way ala "New Tricks" and they are capable of unearthing more and new evidence.  More power to men like Chris Clark.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Unsolved Murder of Victoria Hall

The murder of young Victoria Hall remains an open case after fourteen years, and Police seem to be no nearer to a successful conclusion.  A young man was charged with her murder but the evidence relied totally on bits of dirt, which was challenged by defence lawyers, and the Jury agreed by acquitting him fairly quickly.  

    Vicky Hall was just 17 when she vanished on Sunday night 19th September 1999 after a night out with her friend Gemma Algar to the nightclub The Bandbox in Felixstowe.  They were on their way back to their homes in nearby Trimley St Mary, when they parted company. Vicky was just two hundred yards from her home.  Gemma said she heard some screams but did not know who it was.  Vicky was found twenty five miles away in Creeting St Peter near Stowmarket.  She was unclothed and dumped in a water filled ditch.  An autopsy revealed she had been suffocated but not sexually assaulted.  

    Police launched a huge inquiry but did not get any suspects until the case of a young businessman was prosecuted that ended in acquittal.  One very interesting person did emerge years later due to his notoriety; Steve Wright, the Suffolk Strangler.  He lived in Trimley at the time and the night before the disappearance of Vicky, a car was seen following a young woman.  A witness could only give a partial registration number, so the Police used their national computer to get matches of partial car numbers in the area and surrounding areas.  This flagged up Wright but he was never interviewed and not considered a suspect.  I wonder what they think now.  Hopefully, one day the Hall family will get the answers they have been seeking.

Gangland - The Sons of Silence MC

This outlaw bike club is now one of the major OMGs in the US, which puts them amongst the Angels, Pagans, Outlaws, Bandidos, Mongols, Warlocks, Gypsy Jokers & Galloping Goose.  They were formed in 1966 in Niwot, Colorado, and formed a second chapter in 1968 in Iowa, then adding more chapters in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North & South Dakota,Tennessee & Wyoming.

    The club later on took the route that other big clubs have taken by establishing clubs in other countries, and set up their first European chapter in Munich in 1998, then setting up three more German chapters in Freising, Gangfoken & Nurnburg, then in 2007 another chapter in Viernheim.  They suffered a number of arrests and jailings of members over the last ten years for firearms and drug offences, but they did cement friendships in Scotland by a contingent visiting the Blue Angels in Glasgow.

    There was a documentary about the annual Sturgis Rally shown on TV years back, and there was footage of the SOS.  One was trying to properly interpret the Latin logo that is on their colours and one other kept correcting him, annoying him so much that he threatened to have the knowall  knocked back to being a prospect.  Expect more European chapters from this club.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

More Tales From Liverpool

Today I relate some more tales from Scouseland that I have acquired over the years.  Back in the seventies, the main nightclubs there were the Grafton and the notorious She Club.  One friend related a story of a coach party going to Liverpool for a big night out, and ended up at the She Club.  Due to the size of the party wanting entrance, one small but very broad doorman, told this guy that they all could come in but they were going to be watched, and any hint of trouble, then they were all out instantly. "Well", he said, "we were having a great time but as usual there is always one that spoils it for everyone.  This bouncer grabs the lad starting trouble, and with one hand around his neck, he lifts him off the floor and says to me, "All of you out now or you`re fucking dead!"  They did not argue.  He also related another tale of nightlife in Liverpool, when he witnessed two huge doormen kicking the living daylights out of some fellow.  "One kicked him, he hit the wall immediately behind him, he rolled back from the wall, where he was met with a kick from the other.  This happened a number of times.  I did not hang about, and moved away quick!"

    Another tale is from a guy I worked with in the eighties, who was from a criminal family in Liverpool, though he was apparently the only one who was not an out and out villain.  He did "help out" his family in disputes with anybody.  One such touch of "help" involved a guy being held against a wall whilst he drove a car into his legs!  He also kept a sawn off in his home "just in case!"  He did have opinions about certain hard men.  "Eddie Bean?  Handy feller but there are guys smaller than him that can flatten him" (Bean was a hard nut doorman who ran into the "Stanley Boys")  "Eddie Palmer?  A very handy guy with his fists"  (Ricky Tomlinson remembered him being doorman at the Colombo Club and said Palmer was a knock out merchant)

    Getting more up to date, one mechanic I worked with told of running back to Liverpool, none other than Curtis Warrens` main man, Johnny Phillips, who casually opened the glove box to show off the gun he had in there.  This mechanic worked at the garage that Phillips took his car to.  He said he shit himself when he was shown the gun, as he then kept looking around for signs of an ambush as Phillips had had  a serious fall out with other Liverpool villains, and this was well known around Liverpool and Birkenhead.

    A great friend of mine, Keith died quite recently and he often spoke of a relative who worked on the door at the She club, and the night he saw him in action.  They were having a private do at some  club when seven lads wanted to come in but when told they could not, started some trouble.  This guy told Keith to hold his drink for him, went out and flattened all seven of them!  I will not put his name.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Jane Andrews - Murderess

Jane Andrews was a working class girl who craved an extravagant lifestyle but when that was threatened she exploded with violence.  One man was lucky; he walked away from her but another was not so lucky.  She viciously murdered him.  What made the story all the more headline grabbing was the fact that Jane Andrews worked for Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.

    Jane Andrews was born in 1967 in Cleethorpes to a joiner and social worker, who did well at school, but suffered from depression, panic attacks and an eating disorder, leading to a suicide bid at 15.  The family moved to Grimsby, and at 17, Andrews had an abortion.  She entered Grimsby Art College, and later found a job as a childrens` clothes designer for Marks & Spencer.  It was in 1988 she answered an anonymous advert for a dresser and was interviewed by Sarah Ferguson, who immediately took her on.  Her job now found her making a new circle of wealthy and influential members of higher society.  She married in 1990 to Christopher Dunn-Butler, an executive for IBM, who was very much older than her.  This marriage ended five years later due to her very adulterous behaviour.  She then met Dimitri Horne, the son of a wealthy Greek businessman.  This relationship did not last, and Horne left her.  She reacted to him leaving her by smashing up their flat. She then took an overdose but supposedly did not require any medical treatment.   Another dream of marriage to riches had gone.

    She was introduced to a successful young businessman, Tom Cressman, in 1998, and very quickly moved into his Fulham home.  Now she lost her job at Buckingham Palace, officially to cost cutting, but it was alleged that Sarah had a fling with a Count, who had taken a shine to Andrews so she had to go.  Andrews now found a job at Claridges but she lasted just two months before she lost this job.  Everything now rested on Tom Cressman marrying her, but he refused to.  He was said to have met another woman, which Andrews found out about, which resulted in yet another row.  This one was so violent, Cressman phoned Police but in time honoured tradition, they did not respond.   This was fatal for Tom Cressman.  Whilst he slept, she smashed him over the head with a bat, then stabbed him several times.  She then fled, calling and texting various people, but was found in Cornwall, again having taken an overdose.  She received treatment and was charged with murder.

    At her trial, she claimed she suffered abuse at Cressman's` hands, and that she suffered abuse as a child.  This did not sway the Jury; she was convicted and given life.  Incredibly, in 2009 she escaped from East Sutton Park Prison in Kent but was recaptured days later in a hotel with her family.  She was denied parole in 2012.  

    Let us look at the facts.  She saw wealthy men as her gateway to a life of luxury.  When they were ending it, it threatened her world of hoped for opulence.  She could not handle a man finishing with HER.  This was not love.  The man was a means to an end; luxury.  What would she be faced with?  The possibility of having to get a man who was not loaded.  Heaven forbid.  Was it murder?  Of course it was murder!  She stood over him with a cricket bat and proceeded to smash his head in.  That was not enough.  She then stabbed her helpless victim a number of times.  That is not manslaughter, it is cold blooded murder, but considering the couple of times she has already been denied parole, shows just how lightly she got off.  Many would have served fifteen years plus before that.  Is she a danger?  Think of her track record when it comes to men rejecting her.  It will take a brave bastard to brush all that aside and get cosy with her.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Michael & Suzan Carson

This murderous couple ended the lives of two men and a woman, simply because of the delusional "beliefs" and the goading and urging of Suzan Carson, to her lover, Michael.  They were not actually married but she adopted his surname.  Her name was Susan, but she changed the second "s" to a zee.  She had a warped view of the muslim faith and just made anything fit her beliefs, and the claim that she was psychic.  She had long dabbled in hallucinogenic and other drugs, which no doubt, did not alter her perception of the world, as they are harmless.  Right.  Her husband divorced her, fed up of her drug taking and lifestyle.

    James Carson had married young and had a daughter but his wife divorced him after nine years, unable to cope anymore with his personality and mood swings.  He then ran into Suzan who then told him he was now called Michael.  It was 1981.  They travelled around, taking drugs at every opportunity, staying at any place that they were welcomed.  A young woman called Keryn Barnes, who was taken with their philosophies and lifestyle.  A very tragic mistake.  Suzan convinced Michael that she could spot a witch anywhere and Keryn was one, so she had to die.  She was battered around the head and stabbed eleven times.  They fled the San Francisco area and went down to Southern California, and ended up staying at an illegal marijuana farm.  After a short time, they fell out with a friend of the owner, Clark Stevens.  Stevens was shot a couple of times in the head, later revealed, at Suzan`s urging.  They disappeared.  Much later, remains were discovered and the Police were brought in!  The person in charge wanted to grow marijuana, but not be involved in murder.

    The couple got a ride from a man called Hellier but they soon fell out with him, and when the car stopped, Carson shot him after much urging from her.  They took off in the car, and a chase ensued.  Suzan was driving and crashed but they escaped into dense woodland, staying in an old hut.  Carson travelled to Los Angeles to get more drugs but was arrested due to a resemblance to a wanted rapist.  Using a false identity, he managed to bluff his way out, and had managed to hide a gun in the Police car when arrested, due to a sloppy search.  He took off back to Suzan, but the gun was discovered in the car.  Pictures of Carson were circulated amongst Police departments down the West Coast, and San Francisco cops immediately recognised the man they were seeking for the murder of Keryn in 1981, two years previously.  A hunt ensued and eventually they were arrested, and charged with three murders in three different jurisdictions.  Carson would plead to Keryn`s murder if he could have a press conference.  They both freely admitted the other two. This they played up to with relish, loving the exposure, with her sickeningly grinning all the time.  They were both lifed off, believing that they had done no wrong.  She was a number of years older than Carson and it was believed that Keryn was murdered because she was young and attractive and Carson might have taken a serious liking to her.  He did whatever Suzan told him to.  I believe the victims were murdered simply for no reason; she deciding on the spot "They have to die!" and using her twisted beliefs and logic as an excuse.  Should have put the pair of them down.

TV Crime Shows - How Realistic Are They?

I just bought a dvd box set of the first series of "The Sweeney" the first real hard hitting crime series, and it brings to mind, just realistic was it?  First off, we have to accept that the criminal underworld is vast, especially in London.  People can be forgiven for thinking that the underworld centred around the Krays & the Richardsons, but they were only a part.  There were numerous other criminal families, and gangs, or associations of criminals, to make it absurd that one man or gang held total sway.  Journalist Andrew Jennings labelled Roy Garner, "Londons` top gangster" a claim ridiculed by journalist Martin Short, again, pointing out there has never been a sole overlord.  That tends to belong to the world of fiction.

    Watching Regan & Carter, you see that the Police tackle all types of crime, armed robberies, extortion rackets, drugs, smuggling, fraud, counterfeiting, stolen cars, pornography; anything that turns out money.  There is so much variation and the people involved, ridicules the sharp suited overlord.  One claim made to me was that when the Sweeney was being filmed, "They did not have a clue how armed robberies were carried out, so they had to come to us to be shown how".  This was from a man who has long thought of himself as a gangland figure, but in reality was a small time thief and brawler, in and out of prison for fighting , mainly with Police.  Did writer and creator Ian Kennedy Martin approach the TV network saying, "I have a great idea for a show but we will have to approach the underworld for lessons in how to stage a robbery?"  Pause for laughter.

    Obviously villains would have had to learn going to armed robbery school,.  Could you imagine a villain walking into a room "Right, balaclavas or stocking masks on, lads.  What I am holding is a sawn off shotgun, the tool of use for blaggers!"  Absurd isn't it?  The reality was that the film crew and cast used a nearby pub that was a drinking hole for cops and villains, and somebody would say, "a security van would never have gone down a street like that" or "you have to be extremely careful getting an illegal wiretap".  That was the extent to participation of the underworld and it was also revealed that stunt co-ordinator Peter Brayham knew some villains who gave him tips.  Villains have hung around some film sets.  Bob Hoskins told of getting tips from villains filming "The Long Good Friday" and Robert Mitchum spoke of Boston villains hanging around the set of "The Friends of Eddie Coyle", to me, one of the best American crime films.  There was no loyalty in this one.  Reality is so much different from fantasy.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Other British Subcultures

After the Teds, we had numerous subcultures built around music, although before the others arrived, one era that was producing "Shock" newspaper stories was in the early sixties, and the young who listened to trad jazz - don`t laugh - and scenes of destruction followed some concerts.  Personally, I think it was people who got a bit pissed up - what`s new there?  Towards the mid sixties we had the Mods and Rockers, with the full scale pitched battles at seaside resorts that generally never happened.  Some reporters were even paying Mods and Rockers to fight each other, to get a scoop!  

    The "hippie" era arrived with wankers like Timothy Leary wanting to look cool to youngsters with the "turn on, tune in, drop out" bollocks he liked to promote.  The Rockers had now turned to serious biking and forming clubs in the American style.  Many of these bikers were called "Hells Angels" but the truth was, until 1973, Britain only had two official Angel Chapters; London & Wessex.  The hippie era carried on to the mid seventies, and then the biggest shock to hit Britain since the Teds, arrived; the Punk era.  Many jumped on the bandwagon but it did produce many bands that did and do, live on.  It was also when we really first started seeing body piercing such as safety pins through the lips and noses.  Nowadays, nobody notices.  But this era did bring other cultures, a Mod revival, Soul Boys, skinheads - reviving the skinheads and bootboys of the late sixties, early seventies.  New Romantics, heavies.  In the late seventies, I had let my hair grow and it was over my shoulders, and one day in my local, I ran into a lad I had worked with about a year or so before.  "You've become a heavy" he said on seeing my long hair.  To which I said that no, I let my hair grow because I felt like it.  I did and still do, love heavy rock.  For a number of years now, people involved in doorwork or thuggery go around with shaven heads, so it is not really a subculture but it is taken as a "uniform" for a thug, somebody sending out the message "don`t fuck with me".  What will come next?

The Teddy Boys

We have always had young and violent subcultures, such as The Hooligans in London, the Cornermen in Liverpool, the Scuttlers in Manchester and the Sloggers/Peaky Blinders in Birmingham.  It was at the beginning of the 1950`s that another "danger to the public" emerged, initially down in London, which quickly spread throughout Great Britain, and that was the "Teddy Boy".  This was somebody who wore a long coat, or drape suit that was of Edwardian style of forty plus years previously.  They created their own look by wearing drainpipe trousers and shoes, often suede that were known as Brothel Creepers, lace ties from the American west, and hair shaped with brylcreem into what was known as a "Ducks Arse".  The teddy boy monicker was not coined until a notorious murder trial in September 1953.

    Their brand of music after 1954 was rock n`roll that was popularised by Bill Haley & the Comets and Elvis Presley and the release of two films that shaped the moral degeneracy of the young; "Rock Around The Clock" and "The Blackboard Jungle".  Both films caused riots in cinemas throughout Britain as teds destroyed seats and - gasp! - "danced in the aisles".  What was true that it did spurn a violent culture where no reason was needed to attack and seriously harm somebody, cause mayhem, and basically do as you pleased.  This was not true of many teds, who simply wanted to be part of the culture, but there were a great many who revelled in it.  
    Many towns and areas had what was known as their own "King of The Teddy Boys" who had plenty of fights with people looking to take their crown.  As time went on, many teds did not wear the drape coats but made their stand by simply having their hair done in the appropriate DA, and the willingness to fight.  The style generally faded after the mid sixties as society entered the "Counter Culture" of West Coast America.  

    The name "Teddy Boys" was coined by the Daily Express on 23rd September 1953 after the trial of six young men for the murder of John Beckley aged 17.  They shortened the word "Edwardian to "Teddy" and the phrase stuck.  They were originally known as "Cosh Boys" - a 1952 film of the same title featured a young Joan Collins - but the "Ted" label stuck and newspapers filled with horror stories about this new youth cult, though some stories were greatly exaggerated.  Michael Davies aged 20 and Ronald Coleman, 15 were charged with the murder of John Beckley, who died from stab wounds.  Four others were charged alongside them.  The jury could not agree on a verdict, so the four were acquitted but held for assault, for which they were punished.  They could not agree on a verdict for Coleman, who was acquitted but, like the others, held on assault charges.  Michael Davies was retried again at the Old Bailey on 19th October 1953, and after a four day trial, was convicted and sentenced to death.  He put in appeal after appeal and finally after 92 days in the Condemned Cell, was reprieved by Home Secretary David Maxwell-Fyfe, who earlier in that year had no hesitation in refusing a reprieve for a young man who it was openly admitted, had not committed murder.  That man was Derek Bentley.  Davies was released from prison in October 1960.  One of the others originally arrested, stated that Davies had NOT stabbed John Beckley, but said Davies seemed to enjoy the notoriety so they all thought he may as well carry the can for what one of his friends had done.  An echo of the case was a 1962 film entitled "The Boys" starring Richard Todd, Dudley Sutton(who was sentenced to death) and Ronald Lacey.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

The Peanut Gang

The Peanut Gang was a notorious street gang that operated in South Liverpool from the thirties to just after the war.  At that time, Liverpool was awash with juvenile gangs, ranging from three youths up to a dozen plus, but the Peanut Gang had many members, though it was never established that they had any leaders.  They were also known as the Park Lane Gang, owing to the area they lived in.  This area included Caryl Gardens, Brassey Street, Dombey Street, and others.  Their ages ran from young teens to their early twenties.  Their name came from one of their leading members "Peanut" McGlynn.

    Their crimes ran the gauntlet of a crime sheet; assault, intimidation, street robberies, burglaries, stolen cars, and a particular form of income was from attacking and robbing sailors and soldiers.  Liverpool was the second busiest port in Britain, and a stopping off point for troops being brought from the USA and Canada.  This was known as "Rolling".  Once when a number of them were in court and they were facing jail terms, one of their defence lawyers was none other than Sydney Silverman, the MP who managed to get the Death Penalty suspended, then had the criteria for a Capital Offence changed to five certain offences. Rose Heilbron, one of the first, if not the first, female Barrister, defended some of the others.  She later defended George Kelly, but failed to save him from the gallows, and became a High Court Judge.

    Their reign of terror continued throughout the War years, with numerous complaints from the public for the Police and the courts to stamp them out once and for all.  Some were barely teenagers and magistrates complained that they were legally too young to receive a flogging, and despite being sent to approved schools, this did not deter them.  In fact it was a badge of honour for them, making their mark for the elders of the gang to see and appreciate.  Youngsters going to school were particular targets, mugging them, and some were unfortunate enough to see their assailant smash a bottle, and then sadistically, stick it in their faces.  But as the war came to an end, as they had gotten older, some dropped out, due to working properly, raising families, but it was the thought that many, many men whom had fought in the war, and had a taste for real combat, returning to Liverpool, were just too much for the Peanut Gang to face, and so they fizzled out.  But gang violence has continued to ravage the city right up to the present day.

Tough Cops

In years gone by, there were plenty of cops who were as tough as the thugs they faced.  An influx of tough men into the Police, was courtesy of the end of World War 2 where men who had fought bloody combat, looked for employment.  One of my uncles, nearly in his mid-eighties, remembers some joining the Ellesmere Port force, commenting that they were really tough.  As a teenager, he was big and strong and could fight but it appears he came unstuck a couple of times with them.  Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Robert Mark, remembered as a uniform constable in Manchester that constables would have stand up fights with local toughs, one on one, and the locals would crowd around to cheer them on.

    A particular incident occurred in Liverpool back in the 30`s/40`s, where a young tough challenged a young uniform beat constable to a "straightener", as he was arrested.  The officer would not back down to such a challenge, and they went somewhere quiet, where the constable removed his jacket, telling him "I'm not in uniform now" and then proceeded to hammer him senseless.  The unfortunate thug had to be carried away, unconscious, by his friends.  Threats like this and violent attacks were commonplace on officers.

    A rather extreme example of cops dishing out to tearaways, a brand of their own medicine, was carried out in New York City by a beat cop.  This cop was one of the toughest men in the force, and he did not like the local punks causing crime and trouble on HIS beat.  Every time some crime or complaint was registered on his beat, he would line up all the punks, walk down the line giving each one a punch or thump with his truncheon, repeatedly saying, "You don`t do this on my beat!"   Nobody dared to do or say anything as he would have killed somebody without the slightest hesitation.  Eventually, he had the most crime free beat in New York, which brought him to the attention of the Mob.  He was hired as a personal bodyguard by a ranking Mob member.  This happened back in the early to mid thirties.   There is not much chance of that happening today.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The Palatine Massacre

This notorious murder spree stands alongside the St. Valentines Day Massacre, as it was in the area of the infamous slaughter, Chicago, and had the same number of victims; Seven.  That is where the comparisons end, as this was not an underworld feud but a slaughter carried out by two young men for "kicks".  This happened on January 8th 1993 at Browns` Chicken Restaurant in Palatine, Illinois.  The two gunmen had gone in, ordered food, sat down to eat, and as it was near closing time, they then struck.  The wife of the manager was forced to open the safe then she had her throat slit, the others were forced into a big walk-in refrigerator, where the gunmen took turns in shooting the hostages, closing the door, reloading, then opening again shooting.

    An early suspect was a very disgruntled former employee, dismissed a couple of weeks before, but eventually, he was eliminated and the case ran cold.  It was March 2002 when Police received a call from a woman named Anne Lockett, a former girlfriend of James Degorsky, saying that he and a friend, Juan Luna, were responsible.  She said she kept quiet for nine years due to murder threats from Degorsky.  They investigated the backgrounds of the two, and found they had led entirely lawful and peaceful lives since the massacre, which was highly unusual for such an horrific crime.  They did have evidence that could now be checked, through advances in DNA technology.  It was a discarded meal.  Getting from the two DNA samples, the preserved meal was tested and produced a match to one of the accused.  They were arrested and charged.  The reason for the massacre?  Luna wanted to know how it felt to "Ice somebody" and Degorsky agreed to help him.

   Both were sentenced to life imprisonment because a couple of jurors on both trials, bottled it when it came to deciding on the Death Penalty, citing they were young.  They had no trouble slaughtering seven people just for the hell of it.  Families of the victims say they got away with it because they have a life, the victims don`t.  The victims are as follows;
Richard Ehlenfeldt 50
Lynn Ehlenfeldt 49
Guadalupe Maldonaldo 46
Michael Castro 16
Rico Solis 17
Thomas Mennes 32
Marcus Nellsen 30

    They should never be forgotten.

Xaviera Hollander - "The Happy Hooker"

Hands up all those read some of her books during the seventies.  I did.  And they were among landmark books about sexual frankness, though with authors now following the "Fifty Shades of Grey" line of writing, they might be considered old hat.  One point about "...Shades" is that the basic premise of the plot, sexual perversion, bondage, etc is the plot to the "Story of O" by Pauline Reage`.

    Xaviera Hollander was born on June 15th 1943 to parents of mixed heritage in Soerabaja in the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia, and spent her first three years in a Japanese internment camp.  After the war, her family moved to Holland, and in her early twenties, she moved from Amsterdam to Johannesburg, where her stepsister lived.  Here she met and became engaged to an American, John Weber.  But the romance ended, so she moved to New York where she worked as a secretary for the Dutch Consulate in Manhattan. She quit this job in 1968 and worked as a high class call girl, getting more than $1000 a night for her services to wealthy clients.  She soon became so successful she started her own brothel known as the "Vertical Whorehouse".  She enjoyed great financial success but in 1971, the NYPD shut her down and she was deported.

    She wrote her memoirs, assisted by author Robin Moore, but the book itself was written by a woman named Yvonne Dunleavy.  It was Moore who came up with the title "The Happy Hooker".  She claimed that she never asked for cash but her clients gave her plenty of money and numerous gifts.  Right.  She lived in Montreal for some years during the seventies, marrying an antique dealer.  She was also the advice columnist for adult magazine "Penthouse" for 35 years.  She also wrote a number of both fictional and non-fictional books.  In 1997, she announced that she had become gay and had a long relationship with a Dutch woman poet named Dia.  She married again in 2007 to Dutchman Philip De Haan.  She probably blazed a path for the likes of Heidi Fleiss to follow.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Execution of Robert Hoolhouse

This is another one of those examples that never happens in the UK; the execution of a man most probably innocent.  This was 21 year old Robert William Hoolhouse, executed for the rape and murder of 67 year old Margaret Jane Dobson, and how important evidence was never investigated by the Police and the defence Barrister not calling two extremely crucial witnesses.

    It was Tuesday, January 18th 1938, when at 4.30pm Mrs Dobson left the family farm, High Grange Farm at Wolviston, near Stockton in the north east of England, saying she would be returning at 6pm.  It was well past six o'clock when She had not returned so Mr Dobson started a search, aided by his farm hands.  It was at 9.45am the following day that he made a gruesome discovery in a field; the body of his wife.  She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed.  The Police were summoned.  Quickly, they heard of scratches on the face of Robert Hoolhouse.  He was arrested and questioned, but some inconsistencies in his answers led to him being charged.  Soon, the Police believed they had a motive. Hoolhouse and his father had worked for the Dobsons, which also gave them a cottage to live in, but were fired and so lost their home.  This occurred FIVE years beforehand.  If it had been ten to fifteen years beforehand, they would have had the plot to an early eighties slasher film!

    Hoolhouse also had spots of blood on his clothes but claimed that the scratches and blood came from an accident riding his bicycle.  He said that he had been at home at 6 Pickering Street, Haverton Hill until 12.30pm then cycled into Wolviston to visit William Husband, staying until 3pm, then cycling home.  He then stated he was at home from 4pm to 6pm.  He then went back to Wolviston, by bus,to the Husbands` home, arriving there around 7pm, meeting there, a girl he was friendly with, Dolly Lax, whom had been there earlier when he visited.  They then caught a bus to Billingham, visiting a cinema.  There were no scratches on his face.  Dolly and William said that Hoolhouse arrived later than he said on his first visit.  He believed he had got his times wrong, but to the Police believed this gave him the opportunity to kill Mrs Dobson.  The time of death was given as after 5pm.  He was charged and appeared in court on March 28th.  The trial lasted three days and he was convicted and sentenced to death.

    He was executed at Durham Prison on 26th May 1938 by Tom Pierrepoint.  So why is his execution dubious?  First off, on the day of the murder and after it happened, Hoolhouse had NO scratches on his face, as stated by witnesses.  Mrs Dobson was found still wearing gloves, so Police tried experiments trying to replicate the scratches, unsuccessfully.  Even a woman with long nails could not produce a scratch with the gloves on.  Footprints around the body were never preserved with plaster.  Footprints of Mr Dobson were identified but not others.  None matched the footwear of Hoolhouse.  There was no semen stains on Hoolhouses` clothing but enough on the clothing of the victim.  His defence lawyer did not call crucial witnesses such as Margaret Barker who had also travelled on the bus with Hoolhouse.  She saw no scratches.  His next door neighbour, Doris Teale, saw him outside his house after 5pm, at the time he was supposed to have been murdering Margaret Dobson.  But the most damaging evidence not properly investigated was the sighting by Percy Swales, of a tall thin man, aged around thirty, wearing a brown smock, breeches and leggings,in the field where Mrs Dobson had been murdered, around 5pm., and this did not resemble at all, the clothing worn by Hoolhouse that day.  Indeed, an appeal for information on this individual was put out by the local newspaper, but Police were convinced they had the right man, despite the vast contradictory evidence. 

    Some years later, the father of Hoolhouse made a deathbed confession that he had been responsible, but he was not seen around the murder scene at the time, did not wear the clothes worn by the mystery man, and it was believed it was an attempt to posthumously clear his son, knowing he would not be brought to justice.   Another example of "It cannot not happen in this country!"

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Murder of Peter England

This shockingly brutal and callous murder took place in Stockport, near Manchester on New Year`s Eve 2001, by a young couple who thought they were Bonnie & Clyde.  The killers were Deborah Taylor & Lee Whiteley, who had been together for just six weeks when they were arrested at the marriage capital of Great Britain, Gretna Green, just inside the Scottish border.  

    But what was the reason for this savage murder?  It seems that there was not one, and it stemmed from the fact that both Taylor & Whiteley were pissheads who attacked and egged each other on, thinking they were like the outlaws from 30`s America or like the characters in the (in my view) overrated and overblown film "Natural Born Killers".   Peter England had been a journalist, starting off as a young man with the long defunct "Daily Sketch" then with other Northern newspapers.  But Peter England developed a serious drink problem and eventually he lived in a small flat, he went each day to the library to read, as he had always been an avid reader.  He would do some shopping, buy some alcohol and stop off at a pub for a drink.  As he liked to chat to people, it is though that it was here that he run into Taylor & Whiteley.

    Taylor, only 17 at the time, had fallen out with her friends due to her drinking and bouts of explosive anger, and Whiteley had been imprisoned for assault, but they met at work; she served him food as he worked for a demolition company doing a job.  The attraction was said to be instantaneous, and they were together everywhere, drinking.  They decided to rob an off-licence (liquor store) but she ran off when the owner grappled with Whiteley, who had swung a meat cleaver at his head.  Whiteley was arrested but astonishingly, despite what Whiteley had tried to do, the Police gave him bail.  The results were deadly for Peter England.  The couple were thrown out of a friends flat after they stabbed each other, and so they ended up later in Peter Englands` flat.  They left to go to a hotel next door to celebrate the new year, where the only thing that looked out of place was the fact that they both wore their coats all the time they were there.

    Days later, the landlord tried to rouse Mr England after not seeing him for a number of days, used a pass key, where he found Mr Englands` blood soaked body, and the flat filled with gas.  He immediately phoned for the emergency services and the Police.  A post mortem revealed Mr England had suffered 34 stab wounds, but it was thought that they had been inflicted over time, displaying totally sadistic behaviour.  Mr England had apparently had clothes moved or taken off because some of the entry wounds in his clothes did not correspond with the body wounds.  Neighbours thought that Mr England had been alive and well into the new year, hearing movement in his flat   Taylor & Whiteley had gone back and spent days in his flat whilst his body lay there.  They then decided to blow up the apartment complex, by turning on the gas taps on the cooker and leaving something burning, but it did not happen.

    Now it emerged that they went to the party in blood soaked clothes and kept their coats on, enjoying the knowledge that they were hiding the evidence of a horrific crime.  They crisscrossed Britain, using the rail network but Police, led by Chief Superintendent Jack Dees, kept up the intense hunt, and finding out about a trip to Gretna Green to get married, they were arrested by Scottish Police.  The fantasy that these two "outlaws" going on the run and declaring their undying love for each other by getting wed, fell apart.  During questioning, they blamed each other.  The Jury and the Judge were not fooled.  They were sent down for a minimum of 15 years, which is nowhere near long enough in my view, but they are out of the way for a long time.  Peter England had done nothing to deserve his horrific death.  Another example of somebody showing some kindness and scumbags responding with horrific violence.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

The Murder of Janis Dundas

This brutal murder was a little close for comfort for me, as it happened about a hundred yards away from where my elderly mother lived.  This took place earlier this year when one sunday I travelled over to Ellesmere Port to visit members of my family.  My mother told me what happened in a nearby street, Atherton Avenue.  The killer was quickly caught, as he tried to drive away in the victims` car but crashed into a couple of cars parked on a street and then into a wall.  The murder scene was gruesome.

    Jack Huxley, aged 20, had been thrown out by his family because his whole life revolved around drugging himself up and being pissed, but his step grandmother, 62 year old Janis Dundas, opened her home to him but a day had not passed before this druggy scumbag brutally murdered an elderly lady who showed him kindness.  Before the murder, he had used the computer belonging to Mrs Dundas, scouring the web for pornography of the sort that appealed to him; young men and older women.  He sexually assaulted Mrs Dundas, then armed with four knives and a meat skewer, he launched into a frenzied attack on his victim, leaving her dead in a pool of blood.  She received a total of 28 knife wounds.

    Huxley, in the manner of scumbags, tried to claim self defence, saying that Mrs Dundas tried to sexually assault him and then physically assault him.  He obviously had to resort to a frenzied knife blitz to save his honour.  But when his trial at Liverpool Crown Court approached he changed his plea to guilty, and received a minimum of 21 years 8 months, which I think is light considering the outright savagery of the attack.  He should have received a minimum of 30 - cue cries of outrage from the bleeding hearts and do-gooders - but a family has lost a much loved grandmother simply because of a scumbag only interested in drugs and porn; drugs,those things that should be legalised "to reduce crime" though the whingeing cunts never come up with answers as to where people with no money can get it in order to buy drugs, and obviously cause no problems to people and families.  Well, wankers, this scumbags` own family had had enough of problems with this baghead.  Try and tell both families that legalisation is the only answer.

Friday, 4 October 2013

The Death of Tommy Smithson

Tommy Smithson was known throughout the London Underworld of the 1950`s as "Mr Loser", a man who always threw his weight around, then would take a more severe beating in return.  He did have tremendous courage as nothing and nobody scared him, regardless of the odds he faced.  He was born in Liverpool in 1920 but his family moved to London two years later, and as he got older, he served in the Merchant Navy for years before he was discharged in the early 50`s.  He then saw potential in making money off some of the Maltese villains, using his strong arm tactics.

    Smithson`s road to destruction began a Maltese pimp known as "Tulip" tried to have a former prostitute known as "Gypsy" that he once controlled, back working the streets for him.  She responded by having a hardman, Fred "Slip" Sullivan throw Tulip out of the establishment they were in, but Sullivan did not know that Tulip was protected by hardman Tommy Smithson, who responded by giving Sullivan a severe beating.  Some reports say Sullivan had his throat cut by Smithson.  But reprisals were sought and Smithson was summoned to a meeting with a number of other villains that included Jack Spot and Billy Hill.  Smithson had a gun but Spot persuaded Smithson to hand it over, to which Hill responded by severely slashing Smithson, and he was slashed all over his body, allegedly had a vehicle driven over him and then thrown over a wall.  It was thought that Smithson might die from the slashing by Hill, which would have been a hanging offence.  Smithson however, made a remarkable and quick recovery and was back on the streets with a heavily scarred face and a paralysed arm, which did not hinder his activities.

    But it was another Maltese, Phillip Ellul, that brought the demise of Smithson. He was blasted to death with a shotgun, but Police could not find the killer.  Smithson had a grand Underworld send off, which six Rolls Royces followed the hearse, and there one hundred floral tributes.  Ellul was charged with two other men.  They were acquitted but Ellul was condemned to death but was later reprieved.  Smithson has become one of the forgotten names of the London Underworld of the 1950`s.