Sunday, 31 March 2013

Graham Titley - Agent Provocateur

Graham Titley was a professional informer used by the Midlands Regional Crime Squad to entrap selected people into committing crimes, for which he was very handsomely rewarded.  Titley was a low level criminal caught in possession of thousands of pounds worth of counterfeit money, so he started some horse trading with the Police.  That is, grassing people up people he knew had committed certain offences, in lieu of a reduced sentence.  This was in 1990, and around six months later, he went up in front of a judge, but a letter of recommendation was put into the judge by a high ranking officer, pleading for leniency, citing that Titley would be able to assist Police in capturing top flight criminals involved in drugs, organised crime, and even would be able to help in the fight against terrorism!!!  Despite an extensive criminal record, though not for major crime, he received 18 months and served less than half.

    When Titley was released from Prison, the Police wished to use him in an undercover operation against a major organised crime figure in the West Midlands area.  David Docker, a man in his sixties, a former active criminal in his earlier years, but now running a business selling unwanted retail stock, was targeted.  Permission was sought for the operation, citing that Docker was a big league criminal, cleverly hiding his wealth by appearing to have a modest style of living.  He was also stated to have terrorist connections.  With just these assertions, the go-ahead as given.  Titley and undercover officers attempted to persuade Docker to import a huge amount of cannabis into the country, but he thought they were not as clever as they thought they were, and tried to see if he could sting them for any money.  This fell through so a new plan was hatched using forged American Express cheques.  A CPS official gave his blessing for the Police to obtain false notes to use in the sting.  If Titley and any undercovers had to commit crimes in order for the sting to work, then they would not be prosecuted.  Docker and some of his friends went to a meet with Titley, but were swooped upon by Police.  The fake notes had been stored in a car but Docker and his friends never saw them.  They never paid Titley any money.  Docker spent a long time on remand and his trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court, it all fell apart.  Titley had been paid for other operations by Amex and Police refused to release documents the defence needed.  When eventually, they were, the detective handling Titley suffered a nervous breakdown and resigned from the force, not appearing at court.  The judge threw the case out.  Titley went on to live a nice existence courtesy of the money he received for his roles.

John Banks

This individual is notorious for his connections to the Security Services and for the recruitment of mercenaries in the seventies.  Banks had been dishonourably discharged fron the Army, had convictions for blackmail and been a paid informer for various agencies.  He has been described as an "Agent Provocateur" and has had people jailed on his say-so, but everything has not been very rosy with his informing activities.  His involvement with mercenaries began in the mid seventies with fighting that was going on in Rhodesia, as it was then known.  I do know one former paratrooper who was approached to volunteer for this African campaign but turned it down.  The whole recruiting exercise fell apart.

    Banks returned with the recruiting of mercenaries to fight in Angola.  This is actually what happened, despite the ridiculous claims of one man.  It was spelled out by Dave Tomkins & Chris Dempster in their book "Firepower" about their role in the fighting in Angola.  It was also reiterated to me in an email from Dave Tomkins himself.  British mercenaries were in Angola; Costas Georgiou(Callan) Nick Hall & i think, Mick Wainhouse.  After a spectacularly lucky attack on the MPLA forces, more mercenaries were requested.  NICK HALL came back to Britain and asked JOHN BANKS to do the recruiting.  Georgiou DID NOT do any recruiting.  He was out in Angola!!!

    Banks then surfaced in a trial at the Old Bailey involving arms for the IRA in which three men received lengthy prison sentences.  It was claimed that Banks persuaded the accused to buy guns from him, making the whole scenario, a set-up.  Back in the seventies, juries simply would never believe that kind of behaviour went on.  Banks then found himself in jail for blackmail, but absconded from an open prison, being a wanted man for eight months.  Yet when he was recaptured, the authorities gave him an astonishingly light punishment.

    Banks popped up in more criminal cases including drugs, murder plots, military plots, intimidation of witnesses, and yet he was still highly regarded by Police & Security Services, and most disturbingly, he had no conscience at all when it come to setting up and betraying his friends.  It is alleged that Banks has been paid a great deal of money for his informing activities.  There is still a great deal more information in the public domain about Banks, which is worth people researching, and shows the depths of criminality that informants can sink to.

Dubious Convictions

Today I am looking at two convictions for murder going back to 1972 & 1980.  One was freed after twenty five years in prison for something he did not do, the other still remains in prison(I believe) despite evidence that showed Police pressurised a witness to change her statement.  The first case was that of Andy Owens, a soldier facing a dischsrge from the Army on medical grounds.  Owens was stationed at Tamworth Barracks, but was facing a mental breakdown, and he went into a Police station claiming to have seen the face of a murdered girl in his dreams, and would they show him a picture as to ease his mind.  There had been a murder of a young lady and so was immediately taken into custody, and after three days of intensive questioning, he "confessed" to the murder.  This was in the days when a suspect did not exist at the station until the Police said so.  Owens was lifed off.  His mental state was unimportant as was glaring inconsistencies in the "evidence" which convicted him. 

    The most outstanding was the fact that it was acknowledged that the killer would have been absolutely covered in blood.  Not one stitch of clothing or uniform of Owens` had ANY blood on it all.  Owens went through his sentence saying he was guilty and this put him into an open prison and then he decided that years of admitting his guilt was too much and he declared that he was in fact totally innocent.  Owens was waiting for a parole hearing when he was instantly transferred to a much higher security jail.  Eventually he was released in 1997 ater serving twenty five years, and his conviction overturned.

    The second case concerns a man named Alfred Fox from near Rotherham in South Yorkshire.  Convicted in 1980 for murdering his wife and her mother in an arson attack, he was convicted on circumstantial evidence and most importantly, a witness.  This witness, a woman named Myrtle Westhead who lived across the road from the scene of the crime, saw a car exactly like the one that Fox owned, driving quickly away from the scene.  Fox received life imprisonment despite the fact he did have alibi evidence.  It was in 1992, that Fox`s lawyer came across a statement from Mrs Westhead, an early statement in which Mrs Westhead stated the car was completely different from the one she later said.  Contained in the files was also an instruction from a senior officer requesting detectives go to see the witness to see if she would change her identification.  After a couple of weeks of visits from the Police, she changed her statement.  All this has not been enough for his conviction to be overturned.  All in the good cause of "Noble Corruption."

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Cliff Twemlow - The Tuxedo Warrior

The Tuxedo Warrior is one of the names applied to doormen, and one man who was more than a doorman, was Cliff Twemlow.  Cliff was born in Hulme, Manchester in 1936.  He started his first job as a doorman in 1952 at the tender age of just 16, in Morecambe.  He left there after some time due to a nasty fight with his head doorman, and made his way up to Glasgow.  His doorman activities came to an end after he was nearly castrated in a huge fight in a ballroom, and somebody hit him with a broken glass.  The fight started when the infamous local rough nuts, the Cameron Brothers arrived back in port off their merchant ship.  Being a sassenach made him a target for goading from the Camerons.

    After emerging from hospital he went through numerous jobs and over the years, a couple of marriages.  At the age of forty, he needed a job and so went back to working as a doorman at a posh nightclub in Manchester.  He worked out constantly, to stay in shape, and after a couple of years, he decided to make films cheaply with his friends.  These were shot on video which was extremely cheap, and used some professional actors and extras he knew.  He composed the films` music scores despite no musical knowledge, arranged all the fights, and starred in thirteen low budget thrillers, such as Tuxedo Warrior, GBH, The Mark of Satan & Lethal Impact.  One man who appeared in many of these films was reknowned Kung Fu instructor, Steve Powell, from Manchester.

     Cliff also did scores for other films and programmes, wrote two novels(I have "The Pike"), but in 1993, at the age of 57, Cliff passed away from a heart attack.  Some clips from his films can be viewed on YouTube.

Friday, 29 March 2013

The Crossbow Cannibal

This is the man who revelled in calling himself this name when appearing in court, for three truly horrific crimes.  Stephen Griffiths was portrayed in some newspapers as a "boffin" making it seem that he was a college or university lecturer, when the truth was he was simply a student.  He was studying for a Ph`d on serial killers, a subject that would never had been accepted years ago.  It shows the diversity of courses and subjects you can now study and receive a diploma for.

    Griffiths lived in a block of flats on Thornton Road, right in the heart of Bradfords` red light district.  He murdered three prostitutes, Susan Rushworth, Suzanne Blamires & Shelley Armitage.  What brought his downfall was shooting one of his victims in full view of a cctv camera in the hallway of the block of flats and then infamously raised his middle finger as a gesture of defiance.  The caretaker, on seeing this footage, informed the Police who swooped on his flat.  During questioning, he eventually confessed to three murders, and dismembering his victims.  DNA from one of the victims was found on his cooker, indicating he may have eaten body parts.  Body parts had also started popping up in the River Aire in Shipley.  Forensic testing established  the body parts as belonging to Shelley and Suzanne.  He has never said what he had done to Susan Rushworth`s body.

    One day, out on my round, the traffic was backed up on Tong Street, and one of my cutomers came past.  I asked what was causing the hold up and I was told that it was the funeral service of Suzanne Blamires, and that there TV cameras there.  I remember seeing numerous missing posters of Shelley Armitage for months, before the arrest of Griffiths.  What is interesting in the behaviour of Griffiths, is that his brazen gesture to the camera, and his statement to the court "I am the Crossbow Cannibal", yet when questioned by Police, he kept his head down and mumbled any responses.  Obviously he did not have a captive audience.  He went on a hunger strike in Wakefield Prison and I thought that they should make him suffer in any way possible, just like he did to his victims.


The Case of the Kinky Policeman

This case I came across in a book about Police and dubious incidents.  It started out as a rumour throughout the force that a PC had tied prostitutes to a huge cross in his home and one had died.  After a number of days, the smell caused neighbours to complain and so the body was chopped up and dumped in nearby Epping Forest.  Sounds too fantastic for words, and as a rumour, that is all it stayed as.  Nearby Kings Cross is a notorious haunt for prostitutes and sexual deviants, and it was thought that was where the constable picked up the women.

    Soon after, a constable was arrested and charged with the murder of lesbian prostitute Pat Malone, who hailed from Redcar in the North East.  Pat Malone plied her trade in Kings Cross.  He was also charged with dismembering her, depositing the remains in Epping Forest, and thereby preventing a lawful burial.  The constable, Peter Swindell, admitted that Miss Malone had died in his home, during a sexually deviant session.  Swindell paid well for the women to undergo severe bondage but it involved a mask with restricted breathing capabilities and so it was assumed she was suffocated.  The pathologist was unable to ascertain the cause of death as to the dismemberment and severe decomposition. Swindell was cleared of murder but was jailed for five years for disposing of the body.  It has never been clarified just how Miss Malone died, and Swindell has never said so, or indeed, been asked!

Fueling Organised Crime

Reading in our local paper about how the authorities raided a house, a few streets away from me, and discovered a tonne of illicit tobacco.  I wonder how they managed to put a tonne inside a house, or had a garage completely filled, but it does raise an arguement.  Indeed, a TV advertisement was broadcast stating that if you buy cheap alcohol or cigarettes, you are funding organised crime.

  This is a fair arguement but step back and look at the situation realistically.  Who has brought this black market to the fore?  That`s right.  The Government.  With tax, tax, tax, tax, how can people afford them?  "We`ll get people to stop.  We`ll tax them them out of it."  However, this does not seem to have broken through the greed-addled minds of ministers, that many ordinary people are not footballers, bankers or showbiz stars.  They struggle to make a living and buying cheap cigs & booze is a way of enjoying a little something.  Why are so many pubs closed?  Why are more people having drinks at home?  Because they do not have the money to throw around.  It might look as if we are a nation of pissheads on the cop documentaries that are on TV all the time.  Yes, there are people who can go and piss it up, but there are many who work long and hard in return for a pittance.  Buying from a illicit supplier is one way of having something, but crying that you are funding crime does not work.  When are we going to see adverts and out and out campaigns against drug pushers?  These people ARE organised crime and these parasites inflict more damage and harm to people and communities than somebody buying cheap cigs.  But with all this talk constantly being bandied about that drugs should be legalised, obviously they are thinking of all the lovely money pouring in from addicts, and those after a "buzz."  These illicit suppliers are not pouring money into the coffers of the Exchequer, so they are obviously bad boys.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Biggs - The Gesture Said It All

We had another gangland funeral and the emergence of old villains saying farewell.  King of the bullshitters, Courtney was there, and a journalist wrote that Courtney has allegedly embellished his life story to make it more interesting.  Pause for laughter.  Courtney says and does anything for publicity and money, and as for the claim that he has killed, he was offered £25,000 cash to prove he was "acquitted of murder!"  Not surprisingly, Courtney has continually ducked this offer, as his claim is crap!

    Then we come to that old parasite Biggs.  Did he come back because he missed the country?  If you believe anything like that, then you are thick!  Brazil was good enough for him to stay in for all these years, yet he will not get all the treatment he wants for declining health.  So he comes back here, prepared to go back to jail, in return for free treatment.  No doubt he receives better treatment than hundreds received at Stafford Hospital.  Biggs made a two fingered gesture to reporters, and that sums up his attitude to everything.  If the authorities had a set of balls, they would have put him back on a plane to his beloved Brazil.  He made his bed, he should die in it.  Obviously, authorities listened to the whingeing of the apologists and the sentimentality. 

    Let us not forget the violence inflicted on the driver, yet it has been sickening listening to NeuroSurgeons like Fraser & Edwards, "He only had a couple of stitches in his head!"  What about the damage inside?  I felt the film about Edwards, with it`s "comic" approach was disgusting, and a public relations exercise.  Others will see it different, which they are entitled to, and think the old sentimental crap about Biggs, which again, they are entitled to.  I am not taken in by it.

George Kelly - Corrections

I put on a post about two cases from Liverpool.  The Burns & Devlin and George Kelly case.  I received a reply correcting my post.  Charlie Connolly pleaded guilty to robbery After Kelly was convicted, and despite his bias against reprieves, it was down to the Home Secretary as to whether a reprieve was granted, not Lord Goddard. The first time they met was at the Bridewell. I think the reply was from George Skelly but I could be wrong, but if so, thank you and I stand corrected.

Monday, 25 March 2013

British Serial Killers

Our history of Serial killers does go back as far as American killers.  They had Jesse Pomeroy, H.H.Holmes, Carl Panzram, Albert Fish and others, whereas we had the usual baby farmers, or poisoners like Neill Cream or the Sisters from Liverpool who killed lodgers and family members simply for the insurance money.  Of course you cannot forget ole Jack.  Then we had the so-called Brides in the Bath Murders before and during WW1, committed by George Joseph Smith and the controversial evidence of Bernard Spilsbury.  In this Spilsburys` demonstration showed how the murders could have been committed but ultimately did not prove that this was how they happened.  This was a build up to the saga that ran for years that the mere word of Spilsbury was enough to send somebody to the gallows, and his deification.

    The next I can think of was Gordon Cummings, otherwise known as the "Blackout Ripper" who murdered four women in a short killing spree in London in 1942.  He left a trail of evidence that led him to the gallows.  Then we had John Reginald Halliday Christie of the infamous address, 10 Rillington Place, in Notting Hill in London.  He murdered at least eight people, including his own wife, and that of Beryl Evans.  Her baby was murdered and her husband Tim, hung for it.  It is still a disputed point as to which of them did kill the baby.  Scotland then produced one of the worst remorseless killers ever, Peter Manuel, killer of nine people.

    The conception of serial killers has changed over the last forty years, as we then had Sutcliffe.  Just how many did he kill?  I do not believe he murdered Marguerite Walls, as she was strangled and I do not think Sutcliffe had the guts to do such a close up personal thing as a strangling.  His victims were struck with blunt instruments like a hammer, to incapacitate them, and from behind.  To me, if it came to a woman possibly fighting back, Sutcliffe was a coward. The Byford inquiry into the investigation, examined twenty similiar attacks. They believed Sutcliffe was responsible for ten of them and that he should be considered a suspect for the other ten.

    Following on, we had Michael Lupo, Dennis Neilson, Peter Tobin, Colin Ireland, Stephen Griffiths, Levi Bellfield, Robert Black, Fred West & Steve Wright.  Not as many as the USA or as many victims but becoming a very worrying trend.

British Police Do Not Do That

I have striven to do write a totally varied collection of posts, trying to avoid the obvious subjects, like the Krays & Richardsons, Ted Bundy, Fred West, etc, as there will be plenty of people covering them.  However, when a person is seemed to be obsessed with executions, I think that is a little disturbing.  I can understand writers & researchers like Steve Fielding being experts on executions and hangmen in Britain, it is a subject that fascinates them.  However, when a man writes in a crime magazine, "according to my files..." about a person on death row, to me that was troubling.  I have a massive interest in crime but I have never kept files on a particular criminal subject, even when I was doing two criminology courses.

    This man obviously does not like anybody suggesting that British Police frame innocent people.  He refers to people who campaign against certain cases, such as Hanratty, as being of "The Left!"  He used the Leftie tag in another letter to this magazine.  So I wonder what he would call my family & myself when we could tell of how a Police force have given a virtual licence to kill, to a thug , simply because he is a grass.  Of how the Police BLATANTLY tried to fit up a member of my family on sex charges.  Despite irrefutable proof of innocence, they went all out to frame him.  A cowardly senior officer turned and looked the other way when my family members` solicitor made a complaint, making it very clear just WHO gave the orders in that station.  It was stopped when the Solicitor brought in a Barrister who was taking no crap from the Police.  When they protected this thug when he tried to attack my elderly father, my mother told the Police to piss off, and was threatened as a result.  No doubt she received her instructions from Moscow.

    There are many great Police Officers but there are also a great number who are a disgrace.  There were, certainly in the past, many who thought detection was getting a conviction, no matter what.  "This person looks likely, we`ll make the evidence fit him."  However, there are people who think that corruption in Police exists everywhere except here.  Why?  BECAUSE WE ARE BRITISH!  and that makes us different from everybody else on the planet!  Remember British Police Officers do not swear!!!  Anybody who thinks different is part of "The Left"  By the way, despite the DNA "evidence" I still regard Hanratty as being fitted up all the way to the gallows. 

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Kelly, Burns & Devlin

The names of George Kelly, Alf Burns & Eddie Devlin are firmly entrenched in the Liverpool Underworld of the late 1940`s & early 50`s, mainly due to the long held belief that all had been fitted up all the way to the gallows by none other than Bert Balmer, a leading Liverpool detective.  The Kelly case centred around the robbery and murder of two people at the Cameo Cinema in Liverpool in 1949.  At the time it was the biggest manhunt in Britain.  A suspect emerged, George Kelly, and he was put on trial along with his alleged co-conspirator Charlie Connolly.  The first trial ended in a mis-trial being called, and a new trial ordered.  What set the rot in was hat Connolly pleaded guilty to robbery and avoided a Capital charge.  Kelly went on trial a second time, and was convicted and condemned.  It was widely believed that if Connolly pleaded guilty, then they HAD to be guilty.  Kelly was hanged at Walton Prison in 1950.  His defence barrister was a young Rose Heilbron, who went on to become the first female high court judge.  She had an up hill battle in Kelly`s appeal as she was up against Lord Goddard, the Lord Chief Justice who NEVER granted a reprieve to a condemned person.

    A campaign ran from then until 2003 when it was decided to quash the conviction of Kelly as unsafe due to the actions of Balmer, a cop with a notorious reputation for framing people.  Kelly was exhumed from the grounds of Walton prison and reburied in church grounds.  Two books were writen about the case, one by Barry Shortall, the other by George Skelly, the youngest brother of the man Kelly was drinking with when the murders took place.  It emerged that the first time Connolly met Kelly was when he stood beside him in the dock.  He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge because he saw the way that Kelly was being fitted up and did not want to chance a death sentence.  He only came into the case when a prosecution witness put his name up as being involved.

    What is generally accepted that what happened is that the actual killer of Leonard Thomas & JB Catterall got clean away with double murder.  His accomplices were believed to be Jimmy Northam, a small time thief from Birkenhead, and a lookout, a teenage prostitute, Jackie Dickson.  Both were prosecution witnesses, allegedly coached in their evidence by Balmer.   Balmer did have a grudge against Kelly, as he was a known woman beater, and Balmer allegedly had a thing about Kelly`s girlfriend.  Kelly was also a part-time informer for Balmer.  However, nobody deserves to be fitted up all the way to the gallows.

    Two years after the Kelly execution, two other young villains found themselves facing Capital charges for the murder of Beatrice Rimmer.  Both were convicted and hanged, despite their alibi that they were breaking into a warehouse in Manchester at the time Mrs Rimmer was murdered.  In this case, Balmer again used people allegedly involved in the actual murder, to get Burns & Devlin.  George Skelly is researching thoroughly, this case for a book.  What must never be forgotten is that in these two cases, three people were murdered by thugs.  In the Kelly case, he has never been officially identified, in the Burns/Devlin case, it MAY well have been the prosecution witnesses.   Legendary Liverpool Lawyer Rex Makin did not like Balmer at all, saying that he did not rely on evidence, and fitted up numerous people.

Roger Graef - Documentary Maker

Do you remember those Police documentaries on the BBC in the late seventies/ early eighties?  They were made by Roger Graef and showed the Police in a light totally alien to the Z-Cars & Dixon of Dock Green cosy image.  In the first, a detective broke down in tears after being transferred back into uniform.  What I remember him saying that when asked if he wanted the film crew to leave the Chiefs` office but he said no, that he believed they should see everything.  A sentiment not shared by many others.

    The one episode that did cause a huge furore was the interview of an alleged rape victim.  One responded that her story was "The biggest load of bollocks I have ever heard."  The men who attacked her led her out of a pub, but the plod responded with why she did not cry out or scream or anything.  They did not consider that she was probably paralysed with fear.  She did not press charges, although this could very well have been as a result of the "interview" with the Police.  The manner in which they conducted the interview would have had cavemen and rapists applauding out loud.  All were hauled across the coals by superiors and it did lead to a complete change to how victims were treated.

    Another documentary involved detectives hunting armed robbers.  What was notable was that they were effing and blinding all over.  Later they said it was to make it unshowable.  And here I was thinking that they reacted like all people who can turn the air blue.  Clean up TV campaigner Mary Whitehouse thought that coppers might say the odd swear words under pressure, but it is ridiculous to think that being a copper transforms them into a super moral person where language is concerned.

    Roger Graef also wrote a book about Police in which he interviewed numerous officers from many different forces, and it turned out to be an eye opener in which ordinary uniformed officers wielded considerable power simply by their standing in the local masonic lodge.  An ordinary Pc gave the real orders in one station because he was the local lodge Grand Master, and another Pc was a driver for a ranking detective, who it seemed, took some of his orders off his driver because he was the Deputy Grand Master!  When this Chief retired, his driver gave him a thorough slagging off at his leaving party and nobody DARED to stop him.  Truth does hurt, particularly at that time in Britain.

I Was Murdered PT3

It is remarkable that very religious people can stand up and preach about the Bible and what it stands for, yet go against it`s very principles.  An example was the murder in the Seattle area of Dawn Hacheney.  This young lady thought she was married to a wonderful man, yet he did not break any of the Ten Commandments, he blew them to smithereens.  It statred out that he was having virtually an affair with a fire & brimstone woman church member named Sandy Glass, a woman who claimed that God was sending messages through her.  Not surprisingly, many people believed this rubbish.  Both Glass & Hacheney talked about both of their spouses being dead, so they could start a life together.  Soon after, a fire swept the Hacheney home claiming the life of Dawn.  It was at first thought to have been an accident, but it seems that Hacheney had told another woman that he had deliberately set the fire.  Also the Police & Fire Dept. were looking closely at it. 

    Hacheney it seemed, just could not stop breaking commandments, as he was involved with two other women, sending steamy text messages to them.  Finally, Hacheney was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife, which he denied.  During questioning, it appeared that Hacheney was trying to control the interview, indicating that under the public facade, he was a control freak.  He was convicted and sentenced to twenty six years & eight months in jail, but not surprisingly, he has consistently refused to admit his guilt.  One thing that is remarkable is just how many convicted killers are "Pillars of the community & church!"  They have NO hesitation in breaking two of the Ten Commandments, "Thou shalt not kill!" & "Thou shalt not commit adultery!"  Everything is acceptable in their warped minds, but in many cases, one person is always overlooked and that is the victim.  Dawn Hacheney had done nothing to warrant her murder, and that she happened to marry a man who could not keep his pants on, whilst spouting religious diatribe.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

I Was Murdered PT2

Case number two from this excellent series is that of Denise Huber, who disappeared from Costa Mesa in 1991.  She was 23 years old and tall at 5ft 10, so she would not have been easy to overpower.  She was a music fanatic and went to a concert, but never returned home.  Police were informed and her best friend drove around and came across her car parked on the side of a road with a flat tyre.

    As it was on a road, Police brought in sniffer dogs, who picked up a trail but it vanished after 75 yards, indicating that she had been snatched.  Despite an intensive search, the case eventually went cold.  In 1994, in Prescott, Arizona, a truck was thought to be a bit suspicious as it had an electrical cord running from it.  Police had it opened and found a big freezer inside.  Inside it was the body of a female with her hands handcuffed behind her back.  There was no ID for her so a missing persons search brought up the disappearance of Denise Huber, and it was established it was her.  Police arrested the owner of the truck, a man named John Famalaro, but he refuses to say anything to Police.  He is charged with murder, but again refuses to speak, even in his own defence.  The Prosecution has enough forensic evidence, so Famalaro is convicted and sentenced to death.  He is on Death Row at San Quentin Prison but has still refused to admit his guilt.  No explanations as to why he kept her in cold storage for three years.

I Was Murdered PT 1

A good series that is on the Discovery Channel`s Investigation Discovery is "I Was Murdered" and tells it from the position of the victim, as if he/she is speaking from the grave.  One story was that of a bar owner named Jerry Monroe, who was shot at his bar, the victim of a robbery, it seemed.  After the Police started investigating, a woman came forward to say that she saw a man emerging from a wooded area, very early in the morning.  She thought this suspicious and reported it.  Police searched the area but found nothing.  Initially, it was thought that a couple of small biker clubs might have clashed and Jerry got caught in the crossfire. Turned out to be nothing.

    The young man seen by the woman turned out to be Jerry`s step-son, Leslie Emerson.  The witness identified him at the funeral.  After a grilling from the Police, he cracked and admitted he shot Jerry.  He dropped a bombshell by saying that his mother paid to have Jerry killed.  She paid him to find a killer but the son ended up carrying it out himself.  He took the rifle and disposed of it in some woods, and later showed the Police exactly where he had disposed of it. The reason being that his mother Vicki, and Jerry were having marital problems, and rather than face a divorce and risk losing the bar, she decided that the best way was to have him killed.  She and her son were both lifed off.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Chicago Joe & The Showgirl

This was a 1990 film starring Keifer Sutherland & Emily Lloyd, based on real events.  The two principal characters were Karl Gustav Hulton and Elizabeth Jones. He was born in Sweden in 1922 and enlisted in the U.S.Army after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  He found himself in England and a chance meeting with Jones, led to a very short but violent crime spree.  She was born in Neath in South Wales in 1926, but had a troublesome childhood.  Her ambition was to become, of all things, a stripper.  Their partnership lasted just six days.  The first victim was a lady that they accidentally collided with.  She on a bicycle, they in a car.  She died in the accident and they robbed her instead of informing the Police.  Then they attacked another woman, beat and robbed her.  If that was not enough, they threw her into a river, hoping she would drown.  Thankfully, she did not.

    Their next move was to commit cold-blooded murder.  They robbed a taxi driver named George Heath, and then they shot him dead.  George Heath had a cleft chin, so it became known as the "Cleft Chin Murder."  Jones gave herself up to Police and Hulton was arrested later.  Put on trial, both were convicted and sentenced to death.  Jones was reprieved, in a decision that apparently Winston Churchill disapproved of. Hulton was hanged in 1944, and Jones served ten years in prison.  When released, she disappeared, whereabouts unknown.  The Chicago Joe tag came from the fact that Hulton claimed to Jones that he was a Chicago gangster.

Michael Lupo - Serial Killer

Michael Lupo was an unusual serial murderer, in that he was gay, and targeted other gays.  We did have another serial murderer of gays, Colin Ireland, but he was not gay.  Michael Lupo was born in 1953 and from Italy, and had travelled around the world but settled in London.   In 1986, two men were found murdered, strangled and eventually Police enquiries led to the arrest of Lupo.  He was further charged with the murders of two other gay men, and the attempted murder of two others.  Lupo pleaded guilty to the four murders and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

    As Lupo travelled around the globe, enquiries were made as to any similar murders in the cities he visited.  Lupo died in prison in February 1995 from an aids related illness.  Details of Lupo`s sex life emerged and it transpired that he was into sado-masochistic sex.  In trying to trace the killer, the Police watched the Al Pacino film "Cruising" in order to spot traits that could point to the killer.  Lupo had claimed to have had more than three thousand male lovers and he contracted the aids virus.  He said that this news set him off on his killing spree.

The Execution of Ernie Jones

Ernie Jones was never a household name in the annals of crime, and the only claim he could have had was being on the long list of executed persons in the twentieth century in Britain.  So what is the story of Ernie Jones?  Ernest Raymond Jones lived in the Wyke area of Bradford, in Temperance Street.  The year was 1958 and he had come up with a job to make himself some money.  However, this job was to have the most tragic circumstances for an innocent man and ultimately, for Jones himself.

    His plan was to steal around thirty thousand cigarettes from a Co-operative store in Lepworth, near Huddersfield.  He broke in and was busy packing cigarettes into a big bag when he heard a noise.  He hid and then a man walked into the store.  It was store manager Richard Turner.  Jones made his escape but in the resulting scuffle, Richard Turner died.  Jones told his best friend what happened, and as a result, the friend reported it to the Police and Jones was arrested.

    Jones was committed for trial at Leeds Assizes on December 10th 1958, but what was unusual was that his trial was one of four murder trials going on there that month.  One was for murdering a child, another was a gang attack on a man using knives and choppers!  Jones` trial was the only one that was for Capital Murder!  It was said by Police that Jones stated that he hit Mr Turner, only to knock him out.  Jones in evidence said that he pushed Mr Turner out of the way and he fell down some stairs.  Jones was found guilty and sentenced to death.  His appeal against his death sentence used the defence that he already had his haul and the accidental death of Mr Turner did not constitute "Murder in the FURTHERANCE of theft" and so did not fall in the boundaries of the new Homicide Act.  This was rejected and his sentence stood.  Ernie Jones was hanged at Armley Prison on February 11th 1959. 

    The argument that would be presented these days was that Jones was guilty of manslaughter but it must be remembered that a man died whilst his store was being robbed, and Mr Turners` family suffered the ultimate loss.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

The Cigarette Murder

It can be a little disconcerting when you pass the scene of a heinous crime, and you will spend time trying to picture just what took place at that scene.  About fifteen or sixteen years ago, I was with some people from Leyland in Lancashire.  We were driving through a picturesque village called Brinscall, when Stephen asked me, "Have you ever heard of the cigarette murder?"  "Funny you should say that, Stephen, I am reading a book that deals with it."   "Hold on," he said , "the house is coming up" and with that he pointed to a very cosy looking house.  So just what was the cigarette murder?

    This harsh tale began in 1990, when a man named David Wilson became involved with Colonel Hector Portillo of the Mexican Army.  In reality, Portillo was really a conman named Michael Sporn, born in New York in 1955.  Sporn had over the years ran scams involving alcohol, gold and other commodities, but a ready made market to reap in countless millions involved the sale of black market cigarettes.  Mainly Marlboro cigarettes.  Wilson was not an accountant, but helped some people with taxes, sending money abroad, and various other fiddles.  Some of these people were criminals and as Sporn was looking for somebody to help him acquire a ship to carry out the scam, he and Wilson were introduced.

    Sporn, or Portillo, let it be known that through his military connections that some factories in Mexico were churning out unofficial Marlboro cigarettes. In total, he had one hundred containers of cigarettes, amounting to virtually one billion cigarettes, ready to be shipped and sold around the world.  This attracted many agents looking for investors, and it was generally accepted that the phantom cargo of one hundred containers had been sold as many as five times over.  Portillo needed plenty of genuine paperwork to show that the cargo existed, was waiting in certain ports awaiting transportation, and the ship had picked up the cargo.  Portillo had no problems acquiring his paperwork, with both forgeries and genuine certificates.   Portillo and Wilson bought a ship and that was sent to pick up the cigarettes.  Everything seemed hunky dory.

    Unknown to Wilson, Portillo ended up using paperwork for at least six different ships supposedly transporting the cargo around the world.  Wilson showed copies of the paperwork to a maritime expert who quickly pointed out that it was a scam.  Wilson then tried to put a stop to it, informing numerous people that the cargo did not exist.  Certain people were very quickly annoyed with Wilson.  This scam was worth hundreds of millions.  In March 1992, two men burst into his Lancashire home, took him into the garage and cold-bloodedly executed him.  The murder of David Wilson brought the scam crashing down with Lancashire Police running a massive international enquiry.

    In 1993, Stephen Schepke was jailed for life at Carlisle Crown Court.  He had a private detective keep Wilson under surveillance and passed his details on to Sporn or Austin as he also became known as, was extradited to Britain and tried at Liverpool Crown Court.  He was found guilty and sentenced to a minimum of twenty years.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Crime Inc.

Mafia Incorporated was a six part documentary series a bout the Mob first broadcast in 1984, and narrated by the investigative journalist Martin Short.  It included interviews with mobsters like Jimmy Fratianno, Gerry Denono and Joey Cantalupo.  It showed essentially how the street soldiers operated, such as running loan sharking.  One guy in a secretly taped phonecall was telling one of his customers that unless he came up with the money now he was going to "Break every fucking bone in your body.  Do you understand? Every fucking bone!"  The client quickly assured him he would pay up.

    One man running his own dock was standing up to the Mob, but was being bombarded with threats and intimidation.  They wanted behind the scenes control, but this man was resolute.  No way was he handing control of his dock to gangsters.  Eventually he co-operated with the Police and set up a sting that caught them out on tape, and it sent them down.  After the trial, the dock owner had to have permanent protection.  He always had an armed guard and always carried a gun.

    Jimmy Fratianno talked about that infamous picture taken at the Westchester Theatre around 1976.  In the picture was Frank Sinatra with a group of men.  Members of this group included head of the Gambino Family, Carlo Gambino, his successor to be, Paul Castellano, Jimmy Fratianno & Gregory DePalma.  Depalma years later was to be taken down by an FBI agent posing as a guy known as Jack Falcone.  His real name was Jack Garcia, a CUBAN!!  Fratianno talked of his involvement in crime, some of the murders he helped perpetrate, and the picture.  I remember him saying that Sinatras` claim that suddenly a group of men gathered around him to pose for a photo, was "baloney!"  He said "Sinatra knows me, Carlo, Paul.  He likes being around made guys.  He thrives on it."

    I remember my younger brother doing his Joey Cantalupo impressions.  "You tell that motherfucker Louie to pay that rent or I`ll cut his balls off!"  "This was an absolute monster of a man and when he was told that, he actually shit himself!"  It was a very interesting series but that was thirty years ago and the crime scene has changed drastically. Now it is the street gangs calling the shots.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Lynn Siddons Murder

This brutal murder took place in 1978 near Derby but the person who was put on trial was present at the killing but not responsible.  It took eighteen years for the family of Lynn Siddons to finally get justice, in the face of Police indifference and legal wrangles.  The person put on trial was fifteen year old Roy Brookes, a small, thin and weak boy.  The real killer was his evil step-father , Michael Brookes.  Lynn was led to a quiet spot by Roy Brookes, after being forced to by his step-father.

    Michael Brookes had a long and sick obsession with stabbing women.  In particular blondes.  Lynn was blonde.  He hid and waited then grabbed his victim and started stabbing her multiple times.  It was a frenzied attack.  When she did not show up later, her family searched for her but were told lies by the Brookes family.  The Police displayed total indifference to her being missing, citing that teenage runaways always return at some point.  After a number of days, she still had not returned home, but again the Police were indifferent.  Her family and friends were frantically searching all over, and putting up missing posters all over Derby.  Then the horrifying discovery was made.  Enquiries were made and Roy Brookes was arrested and charged, even before the post mortem report was made.  Police incredibly allowed Michael Brookes to speak privately to his son during questioning.  After Brookes left, Roy said that he alone did it alone.  How a tiny scrawny weak boy totally overpowered a taller, heavier and stronger girl was not questioned by Police.

    The family realised that Michael Brookes was responsible and had obviously persuaded his son to take the blame.  Brookes` alibi was totally destroyed in the trial and everybody in the courtroom realised just who the real killer was.  Roy Brookes was cleared but, astonishingly, the Police would not arrest Michael Brookes, as he was not the person charged.  They did nothing in regards to the case afterwards.  The Siddons family knew that the only way to get Brookes into court was they would have to do it themselves.  They started a campaign of harrassment to the Brookes` and wherever they moved, they tracked them down.  Local MPs actually turned detective in order to get justice.  Much information was gathered but every time the DPP would not prosecute.  Eventually, they took Brookes to court with a private prosecution for damages, which they won.  With damning evidence presented, still the Police and DPP would not budge.  Brookes was even going about boasting about what he had actually done, but still the Police did not want to know.  Years on, and a new Chief Constable brought action and in 1996, Brookes went on trial.  Finally, he was convicted and sentenced to life.  This all would not have happened without the dogged determination of Flo, Gail and Cynthia Siddons.  At one point, one of the Siddons women drove a car to frighten Michael Brookes.  He had to scramble out of the way.  He went crying to the Police, who not surprisingly, put more effort into arresting and charging her than they did with Michael Brookes.

    It is a sad and sick reflection on right and wrong that Police can turn a blind eye to a man boasting about committing a truly savage murder, and not display any commitment to solving the case.  With Roy Brookes, it was a rush to judgement.  Eighteen years to get justice with a man that all of Derby regarded as a ruthless killer.  Except the Police, that is.

Monday, 18 March 2013

The Zodiac Killer

I finally caved in and had to put up a post on the Zodiac Killer.  Recently, I watched a documentary on the latest claims, and then carried out a bit of research on these newly named suspects.  The woman who in 2007, maintained that her father, or step-father, was the killer.  Gary Ward Hendrickson.  She spoke of how as a young girl she accompanied Hendrickson as he went on the prowl for victims.  These claims are laughable as they are always made many, many years after the events.  This woman, according to my research, also claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of none other than the man who dropped his pants more times than Brian Rix, JFK.  Pause for howls of laughter.  Predictably, she failed a polygraph test miserably.

    Now we come to the supposedly big breakthrough in the case, and that is of Jack Tarrance.  His step-son made a recording of him admitting it, but was there any corroborative evidence?  This man produced  a huge mask hidden in Tarrances` storage that is remarkably like the mask worn by the attacker of a young couple at at Berryessa Lake.  he says that this mask was handed over to the FBI but nothing has been heard of since.  He claims that they are saying nothing because they want to keep this mystery going indefinitely.  There certainly is an industry built around Jack the Ripper, The Black Dahlia and The Zodiac.  Jack the Ripper will never be solved, The Elizabeth Short murder and the Zodiac; maybe.  But to say it is being deliberately covered up to keep it a mystery is a gross insult to the victims and their families, and to the Police Officers who worked tirelessly on the murders.  Researching on the net about this man has produced scorn on the claim by his step-son, and indeed, he himself has come in for a lot of criticism.  There are people who will say anything to immerse themselves into a mystery and he may even have worn that mask in an attempt to make people think he was the Zodiac.  One person suggested that Tarrance could have indeed, been an undetected serial killer.  A forensic examiner thinks that writings of Tarrance match that of the Zodiac.  We have only heard her assessment on this.

    Now how about that man that Robert Graysmith states emphatically is the Zodiac; Arthur Allen  His book on the subject would indeed persuade you that he has finally solved the mystery.  Pause for a moment.  Now there is not one shred of evidence to link Allen to the crimes.  Researching Graysmiths` claims, other researchers and mystery buffs that pointed out that Graysmith embellished evidence, half truths and even out and out fabrications, to point the finger at Allen.  The film about the Zodiac is littered throughout with factual errors.  One forum pointed out dozens of inaccuracies, comparing them to the facts.  The most ridiculous claim was of a cop called Steve Hodell, who says that his father was not only the Zodiac killer but also the Black Dahlia killer!!!!   What can you say?

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Murderous Women

They say that there is nothing like a woman scorned, although crimes of passion resulting in execution are relatively few.  The most famous is that of Ruth Ellis, and the most horrific was Edith Thompson.  The execution of Ellis actually overshadows the fact a few women were executed not long before her.  There was Louisa Merrifield, the woman who could not keep her mouth shut and she was convicted of poisoning an elderly woman at her Devonshire Road house in Blackpool.  She was hanged at Strangeways on September 18th 1953.  Another woman was Cypriot Styllou Christofi, who strangled and tried to burn her daughter-in-law.  She was executed at Holloway Prison December 13th 1954.

    When a film was made about executioner Albert Pierrepoint, starring Timothy Spall, it opened with a woman being hanged, wearing a pinstripe jacket. This has to be Margaret Allen, a lesbian bus conductress from Rawtenstall, near Burnley convicted of a murder in 1948.  She had a penchant for dressing like a man.

     Another harrowing execution was way back in 1886. This happened at Strangeways Prison in Manchester, and the unfortunate recipient was Mary-Ann Britland, who had to be dragged screaming to the gallows.  It is said that drag marks can still be seen where the execution chamber used to be.  The hangman was Bradford man James Berry, a man who in later years, seemed to have been affected by his trade, like Rochdale executioner John Ellis, who dispatched Edith Thompson in 1923.  Berry ran the Travellers Rest pub on Cutler Heights Lane in Bradford in the very early part of the 20th century.

    In the USA, there are a couple of infamous lady killers, such as Ruth Snyder, Barbara Graham and Martha Beck.  Martha Beck was known, along with her lover, as the lonely hearts killers.  She was overweight, due to a gland problem which also greatly increased her sex drive.  She hooked with Ray Fernandez, and proceeded to use newspaper ads to fleece their victims. Any objections met with death.  They were convicted of three murders but are thought to have committed a good deal more.  They went to the chair at Sing Sing Prison on March 8th 1951.

    Barbara Graham or "Bloody Babs" as she became known as, drifted into crime as a call-girl and eventually joined a gang specialising in robbery, torture and murder.  They robbed one old lady and Graham pistol-whipped her, resulting in her death.The gang were arrested, charged and Graham, Jack Santos & Emmett Perkins were sentenced to death.  Graham went to the Gas Chamber on June 3rd 1955.  Three years later, Hollywood brought out  "I Want To Live" with Susan Hayward, with the usual playing down of the brutal nature of the crimes and sentimentality.  A TV film was made with Lindsay Wagner, which really whitewashed her, as you could not expect Miss Wagner to play an evil bitch.

     However, the most infamous was Ruth Snyder, for two reasons.  First off, her turned white overnight as she waited for execution, and secondly, a reporter had a mini camera strapped to his leg and lifted his trouser leg and operated it at the moment the current hit Ruth Snyder.  This picture was syndicated worldwide, and used as a warning about committing sin.  So what sin did Ruth commit?  Simple.  Adultery and murder.  Adultery is not a capital crime, although it seems it was in the case of Edith Thompson, but murder is.  Her lover was Henry Judd Gray, a weak man who was easily manipulated by Ruth Snyder, and she persuaded him to help her dispose of her husband Albert Snyder.  He survived a number of attempts at poisoning, but one night they hit him with a metal object but he struggled.  They then used chloroform to subdue him and then used a cord to strangle him.  Ruth was then tied up to make it look like a robbery.  It all fell apart when they were tricked into admitting their roles by detectives, and sentenced to the chair.  They were executed at Sing Sing prison on January 12th 1928.

Docks & Seaports

Docklands and seaports have always been a hotbed of high and low level criminality, with large scale theft, smuggling and prostitution at the forefront.  The main ports for decades were London, Liverpool and Salford.  Up to the 1950`s, three families had a hold on the capitals` docklands.  The powerfulest of these families were the Butlers who ran a docking firm called Scruttons.  Everybody who stole from the docks had to pay a cut to the Butlers.  The other two families were the Collins` and the Maddens.

    Liverpool had over eight miles of dock area, which had long been a gold mine for large scale organised theft.  During the second world war, massive amounts of war supplies arrived from America, for Britain and for the war effort in Europe. But large scale thefts were rife and so a major operation was mounted by Liverpool Police, which was so successful that the head of the operation, the infamous Bert Balmer, was praised by none other than J.Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI.  Thefts substantially dropped and the culprits jailed.  After the war, the large scale plundering began again, and a good number of Liverpool villains became very wealthy, due to their highly organised thefts and fencing.  As with villains in other big ports, some of these wealthy villains did not need to expand into any other branches of crime, though some did in the 80`s branch out big time into the drug trade.  In the 80`s and 90`s, Manchester villains were busy shooting and killing each other over "Respect" and territory, but in Liverpool, they got on with the business of crime.  Again, raking in fortunes.  It makes you wonder what city was the city for excellence when it comes to crime.  London or Liverpool?

    Salford was the third busiest port in Britain, despite the fact that is so far inland.  This is due to the Manchester Ship Canal which opened in 1894, and by-passes Ellesmere Port, my birthplace.  In fact I worked down near the docks before I moved away.  This was another port where men became wealthy through organised thefts and dealing very forcefully with anybody who tried to interfere.  It is said that Salford bred more big hard men than any where else.  But, as in time, the docks declined through out the country and in particular in Liverpool and Salford. The Salford Quays were redeveloped into a luxury flats area


The Kidnapping of Jimi Hendrix

This is a largely forgotten about episode in the life of Hendrix, in which he was allegedly kidnapped by the Mafia.  It all started after the Woodstock Festival and Hendrix was living in an area nearby the festival site.  He was purchasing cocaine from a pusher named Bobby Woods.  Woods a few days later was murdered in an alleged gangland hit.  Hendrix was taken by a couple of men to a house and supposedly held.  A message from "The Boys" which infers they were Mafia men, said that Hendrix was being well looked after.  A plan was then hatched in which his now sole manager, Mike Jeffrey(Chas Chandler had quit) was going to rescue Hendrix.

    Jeffrey approached the house where Hendrix was "being held" with two men.  Jeffrey told the two men to wait and he went into the house.  The two men then proceeded to pin a target to a tree and started target shooting.  This was an inference that these men were prepared to use guns if necessary.  Jeffrey emerged with Hendrix.

    Now if you step back and think logically, you will realise this was a complete sham, set up no doubt by Jeffrey, in order to make Hendrix beholden to him.  Hendrix live, was a cash cow, and Jeffrey was nothing but an out and out businessman making huge amounts of money from concerts.  Hendrix was wanting to change his direction, and Chandler was the man who guided him in that direction but he was gone.  Also, most critically, if it was the Mafia, Jeffrey would have been told what was happening.  Demands would have been made and Jeffrey told in no uncertain terms what would happen if he did not comply.  They were made men in the mob and only took orders from the captain of the crew they were in and his bosses.  As for the men target shooting, would that have intimidated two wiseguys?  If the two men were wiseguys, they would NOT have took orders from Jeffrey, THEY would have given the orders.  They would simply have walked in, put guns to the heads of the men there and told them straight what was happening now. After all, they would have the backing of the Family.  In Donnie Brasco, Pacino says to Depp, "You don`t walk away from me, I walk away from you!"  A made man had more power and authority over any street criminal because of who he is.  You do not need to be Jerry Capeci to know this.  Some months later, Hendrix did four shows at the Fillmore Theatre in New York.  This theatre was allegedly tied in to one of the Families.  Percussionist Juma Sultan, who appeared with Hendrix at Woodstock, claimed that Hendrix did the shows because "he was made an offer he could not refuse!"  If such an offer was made, it would have been made to Jeffrey, as Hendrix did not book the shows, he played where he was told, as Jeffrey had him over a barrel with his contract.  Truth can be duller than fiction.

Friday, 15 March 2013

The Murder of Jessica Carpenter

Jessica Carpenter was a young, conscientious teenager who was brutally attacked in her home, raped and then savagely murdered.  This happened in the town of Aiken in South Carolina.  The Police launched a massive manhunt and some very good looking suspects were interviewed, polygraphed but ultimately released.  It seemed that the case would go cold and despite DNA evidence, there was no match on any of the databases, and so it became a matter of waiting for a match.  Eventually, after a long period of time, a match came up to a man called Robert Atkins, who was in jail at the time.

   A detective went to the jail and after a lengthy interview lasting several hours, he confessed.  Atkins was working as a delivery man for a courier firm and had delivered a parcel to the Carpenter household.  Jessica was at home on her own at the time, and Atkins decided that he was going to repay the house another visit, as he wanted the young girl.  When he went back, she was on her own.  He made a pretence of needing to use the telephone, and as he had been there days before, she recognised him and thought nothing of it.  Once in, he attacked her, raping her and then killing her.  Incredibly, the police discovered that he had delivered a parcel to the station just after the murder was committed, and was calm as anything.  Atkins pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty.  Mitigating circumstances were put forward as to what drove him to commit such a heinous crime.  He had reputedly been raped and beaten by his own father and was regularly abused throughout his childhood.  His lawyer said to the judge, "Like father, like son!"

    Sorry, but I do not buy all these accusations that child abuse turns people into murderers and serial killers.  Many people have suffered the most appalling physical and sexual abuse as children, yet, why does this NOT turn them into monsters?  Whatever you do is a conscious decision.  Atkins chose to do what he did, he was not driven to it.

The Legal & General Murders

The so-called Legal & General Murders became a bitterly fought campaign to have the convictions of Reg Dudley & Bob Maynard for the murders of Billy Moseley and Micky Cornwall, two lower level robbers.  Dudley had carved a reputation as a hard man in North London and he had started a lucrative career as a fence, or receiver of stolen goods. Maynard, or "Fat Bob" as he was known as, was not known as a man of violence.

    The chain of events began when Moseley set off for a meeting with a man named Ronnie Fright.  Moseley had been bedding Fright`s wife whilst he was in prison.  Moseley was never seen again and soon parts of his body started popping up in the River Thames, minus his head & hands.  Micky Cornwall was planning a big job so he could "retire" from crime but told some people his plans.  One of these persons was John Moriarty, a man who was soon to turn supergrass.  Cornwall left his apartment before two men called to see him.  They were later identified as Dudley & Maynard.  Cornwall later turned up in a shallow grave, shot through the head.

    Legendary Scotland Yard detective Bert Wickstead arrested a number of people, including Fright, Dudley, Maynard and four others.  It was alleged in court that Dudley & Maynard made incriminating remarks to Wickstead and his detectives.  This was strenuously denied in court.  All but Dudley & Maynard were cleared or given suspended sentences. The two were given life sentences.  Then, a glitch appeared.  The head of Moseley was found in a public lavatory, wrapped in a plastic bag.  The head had been missing for three years but was remarkably preserved, indicating it had been in a freezer.  A long campaign began that saw the sentences finally quashed in 2002, 25 years after their conviction.  Numerous scenarios had been put forward by the prosecution for the motive for the killings.  The legal & General tag came after they walked into a pub wearing overcoats that reminded people of a popular advert on TV at the time.  Nobody else has been arrested for the crime.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Australian Underworld

There is no doubt about it but the Australian Underworld has long been more violent and organised than it`s British counterparts.  Yes, crime has gone on for a long time in this country, but down under, gangland murders are so common place throughout the twentieth century.  The long war in Melbourne from the 80`s into the Millennium has proven that.  The main cities of crime are Sydney & Melbourne, and these cities have had their "Mr Bigs" like Squizzy Taylor, Abe Saffron, Lennie Mcpherson, Richard Reilly, and even women had big prostitution empires that operated for decades.  Women like Tilly Devine & Kate Leigh.

    As an example of how murderous the Aussie criminals were, you have to look at the Painters & Dockers War that ravaged the Melbourne waterfront in the 50`s & 60`s.  Many criminals got a foothold in the docks, and rackets run.  Beatings, maimings, murders.  All part of life with the P & D War.

    Australia has produced a criminal known as a "Standover Man."  Basically, it is a violent man who robs other criminals of their ill-gotten gains.  In this country, they are referred to as thieves ponces, but now they come up with a new name, "Taxmen"  I call them what they have always been called, thieves ponces.  Usually, they are gangsters who do not have the guts or know how to commit the crimes themselves.  The most infamous "Standover Man" is treated as a sort of celebrity; Mark Brandon Read or "Chopper"  However, Mr Read has apparently grossly exaggerated the number of murders he has been involved in and seems to have immersed himself into other people`s crimes.  Plus, every other criminal in Australia seems to be a wanker in comparison to him and his small circle of friends.  His claims have been shot down a few times.

    Some psycho killers emerged over the years, like Chris Flannery and Dennis Allen.  The cops are no strangers to killing criminals like Graeme Jensen, shot to death in his car.  The cops have had many scandals over corruption and had blatantly corrupt officers like Roger Rogerson.  Corruption went right up to the top.  State Commissioners, down to ordinary beat cops.  Top cop Don Hancock was blown up by bikers.

    Different nationalities have strong grips on the criminal world.  The Italians have long been there, now you have Asian gangs, Chinese, Vietnamese.  Biker gangs have long flourished, Hells Angels, Bandidos, Outlaws, Rebels, Black Uhlans, Coffin Cheaters, Satans Slaves, and the Gypsy Jokers, part of the American club that has chapters in Germany & Scandinavia.

    The disappearance of Juanita Neilsen in 1975 from a club run by Abe Saffron has never been solved.  I wonder if it inspired the film "The Killing of Angel Street" and Kate Leigh & Tilly Devine inspired "Kitty and the Bagman"  One film that was supposedly based on real events was "The Money Movers" about the robbery at a security company.  Very tough and very bloody, but I have not come across a crime that may have inspired it.

B.T.K. Killer

The arrest of Dennis Rader brought a huge sense of relief to the people of Wichita in Kansas, and stopped the murder rampage of one of the sickest killers in American history.  Despite all the meticulous planning of the murders by Rader, it was his own arrogance that led to his downfall.  His obsession with publicity, plus the obvious lack of knowledge and just what is recorded on a computer, showed that Rader was not as clever as he thought that he was.

    I also believe that if you look at the time lapse between victims and the years between his last victims and his arrest, it destroys the long held theory that serial killers have a cooling off period.  My belief is that they do not have the urge to kill but a desire to kill.  Sutcliffe attacked a woman in Halifax by telling his friend he wanted to stop for a piss.  Was he driven by rage?  Bollocks!  He simply saw an opportunity, and returned to the car as if nothing happened.  Rader stalked, watched and studied his victims.  He was planning his murders meticulously.  A man driven by rage could not wait and plan so carefully, he would want to get at the victim as soon as he could.

    His crimes were clearly sexual, as he admitted in court, but how can somebody hang a young girl and wank himself off as the girl dies.  Rader, during his scout leader days, took pictures of himself in various kinds of bondage and outfits which is so bizarre but obviously Rader gave himself sexual gratification.  however, during his long period of non-murder, his job as a compliance officer gave him the power over the local residents.  The power would be his aphrodisiac.

    His downfall came through his arrogance that he was too clever for the Police.  He sent them a computer disc, and from that the Police got all they needed.  The man was a leading figure in his local church.  Naturally, his sick actions did not get in the way of praying to God, and blatantly ignoring one of the Ten Commandments, THOU SHALT NOT KILL.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

British Cold Cases

Here in Britain, we are getting small cold case squads but one man  who is doing his bit is Prof. David wilson, a criminologist at Birmingham University and author of fifteen plus books.  His area of investigation is possible murders by serial killers that are unsolved.  One man in the frame for two child murders is notorious child abductor and killer,Robert Black.  One abduction the students all agreed that fitted Black perfectly, was Genette Tate in 1978.  She was snatched from her bike in a country lane in the south west of England.  Prof. Wilson had proof that Black was delivering in the nearby area at the time, and the opportunist methods he used in his known abductions, makes him the prime suspect for this case. Genette has never been found.

    Another abduction that Prof. Wilson puts Black in the frame for, was the 1969 disappearance of April Fabb.  However, the Police could not place Black in the area at the time.  The snatch had the hallmarks of Blacks` later crimes, and so he should be looked at very carefully.  Black was a delivery driver and so over time developed a knowledge of Britain's roads, as Black travelled all over the country.  He did not acquire a driving licence until 1976, that would never have stopped him driving for a living.  He would have spent a good number of years, working for cash in hand, until he would have had to get a licence.  Until then, he would have been improving his knowledge of different areas.  Until you can prove that Black was NEVER in Norfolk at the time of April`s disappearance, Black has to remain a suspect.  That is common sense.  To say otherwise is typical Police tunnel vision.  I expressed this opinion Prof. Wilson in an email, and he responded that unfortunately, this is a culture within the Police.

Clara Cropper Murder PT3

In this final post on the unsolved murder of 44 year old Clara Cropper, I will share my thoughts with you.  Olaf Flaathe was cleared by the Jury at Chester Assizes in November 1948, in just eight minutes.  The problem I have with the case is the behaviour of the chief prosecution witness, Edith Gill.  Indeed, many old Portites believe that she got away with murder.  I do not support this view.  But what was it about her?

    First off, she denied that she had a violent argument on her doorstep with a man called George Royal.  Royal had a bleeding face, though it is not known how this occurred.  Mrs Cropper and Flaathe were inside the house.  Also there was a young lad.  Gill and the lad denied that she made threats to Royal.  A man called Grimes broke up the dispute and led Royal away.  In court, Grimes confirmed that Gill DID make threats.  Flaathe left through the back door with Mrs Cropper, though he claims he left her at the back gate.  Witness Abigail Crawford stated they left together.  A man walking home past a man standing on a path, where a woman lay with her clothes dishevelled.  The Prosecution say this was the murder.  The witness picked out Flaathe at an I.D. parade.  This evidence was strongly challenged by the Defence.  Flaathe had a squint, and was the only man on the parade with such.  The witness admitted under questioning, that he knew Mrs Cropper had been with a man with a squint because he had been told by Gill, during the period the victim was missing.  As it was dark, no street lighting, and no moon, this rendered the I.D. meaningless, said the defence.

    More disputed points was that Mrs Gill was scrubbing her doorstep early the following morning, which she denied.  The night before, George Royal was bleeding on her doorstep.  This is a point my mother has always said about the case.  It became well known she scrubbed her doorstep early next morning, which raised great suspicion about her.  Another point was the amount of beer bottles Flaathe took into the house.  Bottles were found beside the body.  In court, the young lad complained in the waiting room that the defence lawyer tied him in knots over the amount of bottles.  Gill was said to have turned very angry with him.  They both denied this episode happened, but another witness, the dock watchman said in evidence that it did.  The evidence of the watchman said that he did not see Flaathe return to the ship, though he did see a car pull away from the dockside.  This was undoubtedly the taxi Flaathe said he hired to get back to his ship.  Forty five minutes later, he watchman escorted a man onto the ship.  He described him as balding, heavy built, was covered in dirt, had his shirt torn right down, was extremely agitated and had "fierce eyes."  Yet, incredibly, this was ignored by the Police.  This man had undoubtedly been involved in serious violence, and to have been highly agitated and had "fierce eyes" he had to have been involved in something very serious.  Such as murder.  However, as the Police ignored this, I cannot state that this man was the real killer, but I believe he was.

    As for the behaviour of Edith Gill, was it a desire to be seen as the person who sent the killer to the gallows, or was it something more sinister?  I did contact the FBI and BAU, and received an immediate reply from none other than former top profiler Mark Safarik, it did not help me.  I do not believe Flaathe was the killer, and my conclusions are only my opinions, not a definite fact.

Cold Case Squads

A long time feature of U.S. Law Enforcement are the cold case squads.  These dedicated cops are a shining credit to the Justice system, and many, many cases have been solved, even decades after the murder.  These specialist teams should be a feature of every Police Department in the world.  At the end of the day, murder is murder, and the killer or killers should not be allowed to get away with it.

    A good example was the murder of Robert Haugen in California in 1988.  His home was found ablaze and after the fire was extinguished, his body was found.  An autopsy revealed that he had been stabbed eighteen times, and blood was found all around the apartment.   Suspects were interviewed, given polygraphs and alibis checked, but nobody came on the radar.  In 2001, the case was handed to Sgt Yvonne Shull, and she kept the case file and kept digging.  On the birthday each year, of the victim, his mother would call the Police for an update.  Eventually, a hit came upon the DNA database, and the name was Paul Smith.  At the time of the murder, he was interviewed but was thought not to be involved, partly due to his job as a bible translator for a church.  Yet another example of how church people cannot be involved in evil acts.  Smith was in jail in Las Vegas, interviewed by Sgt Ray but denied any involvement.  Ray showed him the DNA match results.  Still he denied it.  He was extradited and put on trial.

    However, it was discovered that Smith was trying to find a hitman to kill Ray and any potential witness.  The Police put a sting operation into play, with a cop portraying himself as a killer.  Smiths` girlfriend ended up going down for conspiracy to commit murder, as Smith was running the plot through her.  Smith was convicted and received life without parole, but his arrogant and aggressive behaviour in front of the Jury helped sink him.  There has never been an explanation for the crime.

    There has been an attempt bto set up cold case units over here, and indeed, some are operational, but ultimately, it will suffer from the usual British fuck-up.  Whatever happens in the States, we are thirty years behind, and as where they get it right, we fuck-up.  Nothing new, then?

Home Office Pathologists

The role of the Pathologist is still an integral part of criminal investigation, but advances in medical, forensic and surgical techniques mean that they are much more thorough than ever.  The most famous was Bernard Spilsbury but over the years, his reputation has not lived up to his virtual "God" status.  Spilsbury was a showman who used flamboyance, arrogance and a complete unwilling to listen to any other Pathologists opinion.  During the infamous "Brides in The Bath" murder trial of George Smith, Spilsbury gave his infamous demonstration of how Smith MAY have drowned a couple of his wives.  It DID NOT prove that was what happened.  But such was Spilsburys` growing reputation, that juries believed every word that came from his mouth.  If another Pathologist disagreed with his findings, he simply dismissed it as unimportant or irrelevant.  A view is that some people were hanged on Spilsburys` say-so, because nobody would dare question his findings.  Today, he would not get away with it.

    More brilliant Pathologists followed but for some reason they have never been given the "Superman" status that Spilsbury enjoyed.  Sir Sydney Smith, Walter Grace, Robert Glaister, Eric Gardner, Keith Simpson.  Professor Glaisters` work on the infamous Buck Ruxton case.  Ruxton was a doctor whose wife and housekeeper mysteriously disappeared, and much later bones were discovered in Scotland(Ruxton lived in Lancaster).  Prof. Glaister put together as much of the skull as possible and a picture of Mrs Ruxton was superimposed over the skull, and it was a match.  Prof. Glaisters` work was a forensic first but he never received the adulation that Splisbury would have received if he had done it.

    Walter Grace was a lecturer at Liverpool University in medicine and forensics.  He also was the Home Office Pathologist for the North West of England.  He had some cases such as the Red Wharf Bay Murder, the Neston Murder(Don`t know about this one) and the murder of Clara Cropper in Ellesmere Port.  Dr. Grace was not so conceited as to not ask other Pathologists for their opinions.  He knew Spilsbury, Simpson, Gardner, etc.  He was remembered as having a gentle manner in teaching his students.

    Keith Simpson was the main man in London and his crowning achievement was the notorious Acid Bath Murders committed by John Haigh.  He submerged his victims into huge barrels of acid and tried to dissolve them.  This did not work entirely and he poured the contents of the barrels into his yard outside his workshop.  After his arrest, he thought that they would not find any identifying remains, but he did not count on Prof. Simpson.  He found numerous human remains, including human fat, teeth, etc.  The teeth were identified as belonging to one of the victims.  Haigh was sentenced to death and hanged.  His number of victims was six and it was all for money.  He liked to live the high life, and when it was coming to an end, he sought fresh victims to fleece and then kill.  He also claimed he drank the blood of his victims, but this was to get an insanity plea and avoid the noose.  It failed.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Policing - The Other Side Of The Fence

Some decades back, you would never have read a book showing the Police to be lazy or violent, yet this is a trait that has been inherent since the force was first formed.  A nice read is a book entitled "The Cobbled Beat" about a rookie uniform cop in some slum areas of Manchester in the late 1940`s.  Stories include cops doing anything not to be bothered with doing their job, and how some just used their uniform to piss it up every day.  Now we must remember that Police Officers have never behaved like this!  In England that is!

    Truth is very upsetting, particularly when it destroys an image or myth, but everybody will have come across stories of Police indifference.  How about a thug in uniform in Blackpool in the early 60`s.  He used to piss it up in a brewery when he was on duty and felt like tanking himself up.  Free of charge, of course!  If anybody complained he used threats against staff and promised plenty of trouble from his colleagues.  Anti-Semitism was evident in that force in the 60`s as an officer complained to a young uniform that his girlfriend was Jewish.  The lad replied that he knew and in fact he was half Jewish himself.  The officer replied that if that had been known at the time, he would never had been accepted into the force.

    How about a force that will go top any lengths to protect a thug, because he is an informer.  One day, he laid into a man with a baseball bat, leaving him a mess.  The Police refused to arrest him for three days, then put on a sham of arresting him.  Yet, mysteriously, the victim declined to press charges, which should have been attempted murder, but it makes you wonder what was said to the victim to get him to look the other way.  This same force turned a blind eye to an adult having a sexual relationship with a girl from the age of TWELVE!

   I put in an earlier post of how an old age pensioner was arrested by the heroes in uniform, for being a victim and how they took cowardice to new depths by deliberately turning a blind eye to the perpetrator, and literally handing a licence to this perpetrator and others, to do to the victim whatever they chose.  They told the old man if he does not want any trouble, to pack his bags and leave town!  What about the woman whose home was raided by 17 officers, over some driving documents?  Of course this would never happen in the old Dixon of Dock Green world of alleged Policing.  Would it?

New York Kingpins

You mention New York and crime and you think of the Mafia.  The Mob has five families in New York City; The Gambino, Lucheese, Bonnano, Colombo and Genovese Families.  These have been in place since the early 1930`s, and for decades, dominated the crime scene in a huge way.  However, they were not the only crime bigshots in the Big Apple.  There has been a flourishing crime scene in Harlem since the 30`s.  The numbers game was big in Harlem and was in the control of a man named Ernie Jones.  The Mob muscled in on this, and Jones knew he did not have the muscle to take on the Italians, so he cut a deal with them.

    The next King of Harlem was called Bumpy Johnson, and he later on took on a protege`, a man called Frank Lucas.  After the death of Johnson, Lucas was able to step into his shoes and expanded a heroin network throughout Harlem and the rest of the city.  Lucas soon amassed great wealth, and in true underworld spirit, used the Police to eliminate any enemies; he grassed them up!  Never had any hesitation in that, and has always admitted it.  But he was not the only Harlem King.  Another man rivalled him in the heroin business and that was Nicky Barnes, a man labelled "Mr Untouchable"  Barnes headed an organisation called "The Commission" a consortium of drug distributors.  Lucas has always refused to accept Barnes as a rival, dismissing him as nothing but a drug pusher.  Then what the hell was Lucas?  For a pusher, Barnes amassed a great fortune himself, both he and Lucas getting super-rich on the deaths of addicts and the destruction of communities.  Lucas continued using Police until he was sent down.  Barnes was convicted, and whilst inside, his friends turned on him, so he became a government witness and had many of his former friends sent down.

    Another notorious mob, was a gang of hired killers from Hells Kitchen.  This gang was the Westies, and they built up a ferocious reputation for murder, so much that the then head of the Gambino Family, Paul Castellano, used them for contract killings.  Their reputation soared in the 70`s and 80`s with men like Jimmy Coonan and Micky Featherstone.  Some years later, Featherstone turned on his confederates, taking them down.

    The Five Families still carry great weight in New York, the Westies have been demised, and the street gangs have grown beyond recognition, and do not yield to anybody.  Nothing will ever change in the Big Apple. 


Monday, 11 March 2013

Ruth Ellis

Ruth Ellis, fifty eight years after her execution, is still a controversial figure in the history of British Justice.  She was executed by hanging in July 1955, and indeed, was the last woman executed in Britain.  She was convicted of shooting to death her lover David Blakeley, a racing driver.  She shot him in front of witnesses and even handed her gun to a Police Officer who was immediately on the scene.  She openly admitted to murder and did so in court which sealed her fate.  She was hanged by Albert Pierrepoint, and it was claimed that he resigned over this execution which was something Pierrepoint emphatically denied.  

    Was it an open and shut case, as it appeared, or was it something much more sinister?  The conspiracy theory has been put forward by the sister of Ellis, Muriel Jakubait and writer Monica Weller.  She claims that her sister was set up by the Secret Services, to keep her quiet about the spy scandals that had rocked Britain in the early fifties.  That she was told that she would not hang and so kept quiet and that the real killer was Desmond Cussen.  One of the witnesses was a young boy and he recently recalled what he witnessed all those years ago, and it was that he saw Ellis chase and fire bullets into Blakeley.  The claim is that Cussen was hiding across the road and fired at Blakeley to kill him and frame Ellis.  There are a number of points that do not stand up in my view.  Burgess & Maclean defected to Russia in 1951.  Blakeley was killed in 1955, so what would she know that would be damaging to the State?  Her acquaintance with Stephen Ward went back to the late 1940`s.  What did that prove?  Ward was a high society pimp.  Of course he would have rubbed shoulders with powerful, political figures.  Somebody had to provide them with girls for their jollies.  Ward only hit the headlines over the Profumo Affair in which the Minister for War, John Profumo, had an affair with Christine Keeler, whilst she was sleeping with a Russian Naval Attaché.  When it hit broke, Profumo misled the House of Commons over the affair and ended up resigning.  Ward was put up on charges and he ended up committing suicide.  They present no evidence that Cussen was hiding across the street and there is a lot of speculation. 

    So do I buy their claim of a big conspiracy and a frame up?  No.  Simple as.  What I do think about their book is that it is a brilliantly researched work and if people are genuinely interested in the life of Ruth Ellis, it is a far better acquisition than the other books on the subject.  As a footnote, the wife of John Profumo was the actress Valerie Hobson, who appeared in the Hollywood classic "Bride of Frankenstein" alongside Boris Karloff & Colin Clive, when she was only eighteen.

Jack The Ripper

I have held off doing a post on this gentleman as I have done about numerous other big name cases or perpetrators, but finally I could not resist it any more.  There are allegedly over one hundred suspects, with each new book claiming to have finally solved the case.  There was an analysis carried out by the FBI`s Behavioural Science Unit, that put the offender in a tiny area of Whitechapel.  The only known suspect in that tiny area was Aaron Kosminski, a known lunatic.  I   am not putting forward any suspect of my own, but when researchers put forward suspects who are so ordinary and there are no super elaborate theories, such as clues in paintings, Masonic Rituals and Black Magic Rituals, you have to give them credence.  

    Writers like Melvyn Harris did not like anybody contradicting his theories, and was openly dismissive of all other claims if they did not name Dr. Robert D`onstan.  There are very respected researchers such as Martin Fido, Donald Rumbelow, who is a ripper walk guide and Paul Begg, all will give reasonable arguments for and against.  Two claims that give good arguments are that a man called Cohen who was incarcerated in an asylum just after the last murder, and from retired homicide investigator, Trevor Marriott.  Mr. Marriott puts forward a German sailor, and has uncovered similar murders in Germany, and in New York.  This sailor was on ships that docked in London, the German port and New York whilst these murders occurred.  His suspect was found guilty of an horrific murder and was executed in the electric chair in 1896.

    My favourite film on the subject was "A Study In Terror" with John Neville as Sherlock Holmes, Donald Houston as Watson and John Fraser as the Ripper.  A little bit over the top but great entertainment, and in a short slot, none other Barbara "Babs" Windsor as one of the victims.  No elaborate plots, just a man from a wealthy family with a history of insanity, looking to kill the prostitute who had married one of his family.  Jack perishes in a fire.  Watch it if you get the chance.

Scuttling, Slogging & Big Brawls

During the late 19th century, mass brawls seemed to be a feature of everyday life in some of our major cities.  The gangs involved in these brawls and the general criminality had various names and descriptions.  In Liverpool, they were known as "Cornermen", in Manchester, they were known as "Scuttlers" and in Birmingham, they were known as "Sloggers" & "Peaky Blinders."  Huge brawls between streets and areas were commonplace, and this echoes the gang culture in the USA where a person could get killed by simply being on the wrong side of the street.  With these gangs, obviously murder was nowhere as commonplace as it is in the States but killings did happen.

    However, these activities did die out before the time of the first world war, and riots did break out sporadically, with them coming to the fore in the early 1980`s.  One big brawl did take place but was not on the mainland.  It happened in 1941 in South Africa.  Two huge Capital ships were on their way to Singapore to act as a deterrent against the Japanese, but as history knows, this did not work, with both ships being sunk.  The ships were the Battleship "Prince of Wales", badly damaged in the sea battle with "Bismarck" two years before, and the BattleCruiser "Repulse."

    Whilst the "Repulse" was docked in Durban, sailors off the ship were being viciously attacked by Australian soldiers, for no reason other than being "Pommie bastards."  The hard man of the ship a scouse stoker, ordered all the ratings ashore to extract revenge.  This they did.  The only targets were Aussies, and the scouser lead the revenge attacks.  This form of hatred between Australians and British sailors carried on right through the 1950`s, and led to many bar-room brawls.