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.