Tuesday, 1 July 2014

The Pitts Family

There are many people who believe that crime in London starts and ends with certain brothers from the East End or South London, and nobody else about warrants any attention.  Yet London, like many of the cities in Britain, will have had deep rooted criminal families throughout their history.  Some of these families names are unknown outside their stamping grounds because of the fact that they do not court publicity, and are not eager to appear in front of a camera.  One of the numerous families that have inhabited the Capital, are the Pitts family.  Long established, they have had three family members that became notorious.  One of them, Shirley, was a top class shoplifter, making Harrods her personal fiefdom.  Born in 1926, she followed the family tradition of crime, and perfected her trade as a teenager and by the 1950`s, was thought of as the best shoplifter in the country. She even organised shopping raids on the continent.  She was jailed three times but prison did not deter her, and she kept up her shoplifting right up to her death in 1992.  A huge cortege of Daimlers made the procession to the cemetery, where she was buried in a Zandra Rhodes dress she had acquired the week before.  A floral tribute said "Gone Shopping"

     The other members of the family - their father had died in prison in 1962 - were blaggers(armed robbers) named Charlie & Adgie(Henry).  Charlie copped an 18 year sentence in 1984, along with his son-in-law  Sean McDonald, who was sentenced to 8 years, for the kidnapping of Shirley Goodwin, wife of John Goodwin, another villain.  She was abducted by four men armed with shotguns, they relieved a wall safe of a substantial amount of cash and a threatening letter was left for Goodwin.  He was already in prison, but he and his lawyer co-operated with Police.  Mrs Goodwin was held captive in a disused holiday camp, whilst demands for money were passed onto Goodwin.  Police were able to trace where Shirley Goodwin had been held, because of a deception devised between Goodwin & Police.  A letter was collected from his sister, for the gang, and the person who picked it up was followed discreetly.  The vehicle first went to an address, Rennethorne Gardens, and then they discovered a place on the Isle of Sheppey, down in Kent.  Mrs Goodwin, by this time, had been released by the gang.  Charlie Pitts & Sean McDonald were soon arrested and put on trial.  Positive proof that organised crime was a hell of a lot more than the usual two mobs.