Thursday, 30 October 2014

A Killer With An Obsession For Knives

Another man fell victim to knife crime last year, but it was at the hands of a man who obviously could not walk about without a knife, and was fully prepared to use it, come what may.  Sean Humphrey was the victim.  He was stabbed 12 times by his supposedly "good friend" Steven Ross, in a flat in Glasgow on October 28th 2013.  Mr Humphrey, 26,  bled to death, whilst Ross, 27, who was actually out on licence from a nine year sentence for ATTEMPTED MURDER, made his escape.  He left evidence at the murder scene, prints on a door and the murder weapon.  He also left a long trail of blood, after cutting himself during the violent attack.  He walked quickly for nearly half a mile, then got into a taxi in Greenfield Park.

    Ross went to a caravan park in Ayr with his girlfriend.  He was arrested and charged with the murder of Sean Humphrey.  His defence was that he too, was a victim of a knife attack by somebody else.  He said that by going to Ayr, it was not to get away, but to have time for romance!  How do you go for a romantic break after you claim a madman with a knife, killed your good friend and tried to do it to you also?  Where was the frantic call to Police?  Where was the trip to hospital to have your hand stitched up?  What was the attack all about?  How did he manage to stab Sean Humphrey all those times, without hindrance?  No, it was unimportant, I must make a getaway and then go for a shack up with my girlfriend, well out of the way.  Then the court heard that Ross had a number of convictions for knife possession.  He had also been released from prison two months earlier for attempted murder.   His defence naturally tried to use "his background" excuse, citing that Ross`s father was murdered.  Yet, is this an excuse for going about tooled up and ready, attempting to kill somebody, and then within two months of being let out, butchering a "friend."  This sort of bollocks might gain nods of approval from the Prison Reform Trust or Liberty, but what about Sean Humphrey?  What did he do to warrant such brutality?  Ross received 20 years.

    Seeing examples of thugs who constantly carry knives with impunity, reminds me of one person in Ellesmere Port, who was the only man allowed by the Police to walk about tooled up, and that was because he was a grass.  He was the most notorious knife merchant in the town, yet it was incredible what he was allowed to get away with and also how far the Police would go to protect their man.  One time, he threatened a woman with a knife, but when the cowards in uniform turned up, they proceeded to intimidate the victim.  She lived in fear of this man after this and had to be rehomed away from the area by the council.  Oh I could really go to town on this alleged "hardman" - this has produced howls of laughter in the Port after jailbird Bronson referred to this guy as a "top legend and proper hardman" yet this "hardman" turned into a quivering wreck every time he was faced with a member of my brother-in-laws family, considering the amount of beatings he has had off them.  This man is NEVER a victim.  Need I say anymore.

Owney "The Killer" Madden

Here is a gangster that virtually most people today will have never heard of.  Yet, he rose to become one of the powerfulest gangsters in America, having friends like Luciano, Lansky, Schultz, Siegel, Costello.  A role call of the might of New York`s underworld.  But what is remarkable about him is that he came from Leeds!!  A Yorkshireman who went to New York and rose to the top of the criminal world.  Despite his elder brother gaining a New York accent, he carried on speaking in his native accent until his death.  He even opened one of the most famous nightclubs in America, that had the cream of the Jazz age playing there.

     This New York Mr Big was born Owen Vincent Madden on December 18th 1891 in Somerset Street, Leeds.  His family consisted of mother and father, Mary & Francis, elder brother, Martin and younger sister, Mary.  The family moved from Leeds to Wigan and then onto Liverpool, where the father toiled in textile mills until his death shortly after the turn of the 20th century.  The family later emigrated to the United States, settling in an area of Manhattan, Hell's Kitchen - which certainly lived up to it`s name.  His mother worked to keep the family home going but Madden soon gravitated to a local gang known as The Gophers, one of the many gangs spread around the city.  As to be expected, an outsider, and one with a particular English accent, had to prove himself, and prove it he certainly did.  His reputation for using a pipe or gun became well known.  He clashed with a man from an Italian gang, and shot him dead.  He then was supposed to have shouted "Owney Madden, Tenth Avenue!"  No witnesses came forward, so there were no charges.  This is led to the nickname "The Killer."  He was suspected of at least five murders by 1910, and became one of the leaders of The Gophers, specialising in various rackets, but mostly extortion.

    One subject that Madden refused to bend on and that was women.  No matter how many women he saw, it was suicidal to ask any one of them out for a date.  A man named William Henshaw found out the hard way.  Madden simply shot him.  But before he died, he identified to Police that Madden was the gunman.  When he died, Police arrested Madden, but again, there were "no witnesses" so again, he walked.  Over the years, the Gophers had clashed with rival gangs, most notably The Hudson Dusters.  They ambushed Madden outside the Arbor Dance Hall in November 1912, shooting him nearly a dozen times.  He survived, refused to talk to cops, and within a week, three Dusters had been killed.  One member, a former Gopher, Patsy Doyle, clashed with Madden over a girl named Freda Horner, so in retaliation, Doyle informed cops about the activities of the Gophers.  Then he badly hurt a close friend of Madden`s named Tony Romanello.  It was decided that Doyle had to go.  Another woman, Margaret Everdeane, lured Doyle into an ambush where Madden shot him dead.  Trouble arose when Police arrested the two women who confessed.  Madden was arrested, charged, and convicted of Manslaughter, and sentenced to 20 years in Sing Sing.  He served nine year, being released in 1923.

    He came out of jail whilst Prohibition was in full swing, and he joined a gang of an old friend who had become more powerful, Larry Fay.  Fay lacked the muscle to protect his operations but Madden was perfect, and grew in stature within Fay`s gang.  Soon he branched out on his own into bootlegging and employed a man to be his driver.  This man went on to become a Hollywood star, George Raft.  Madden helped Raft and screen siren Mae West with financial help throughout their careers.  Madden was hijacking liquor convoys belonging to Big Bill Dwyer, but Dwyer decided to avoid a costly and bloody war, by taking on Madden as a partner.  They started an empire of speakeasies and clubs.  Madden, Dwyer & Big Frenchy De Mange gotten a foothold in the Stork Club, and then an ailing club in Harlem, the Cotton Club.  Soon, all the big names of jazz played there, showing Madden, like Capone, was not racist.  They saw these people as musicians, not as blacks.  In the film "The Cotton Club" Madden was portrayed by Bob Hoskins.

   By 1931, Madden was foreseeing the end of prohibition, so he moved into other ventures, such as boxing.  He was involved with max baer and Primo Carnera.  Carnera was said to have had many fights fixed for him to win, to get a contenders spot for the heavyweight title, which he did win in 1933, knocking out Jack Sharkey in six rounds.  But the stench of "fix" proved too much for him and he withdrew from Carnera.  Carnera was then given a famous beating by Max Baer.   One problem Madden faced was the contract killer Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, who was kidnapping members of various gangs and ransoming them.  He snatched a few of Madden`s men.  In the film, Fred "Herman Munster" Gwynne was one such person, echoing what Coll had been doing.  Coll had to go and Madden made sure he eliminated him.  A serious problem arose when he was arrested over a parole violation and now he found himself being targeted by Police.  Also, the 1931 formation of a national crime syndicate, with New York having five families, and them making inroads on his empire, led him to leave The Big Apple and move to Hot Springs, Arkansas.  That did not slow him down,where he immersed himself in various rackets, particularly gambling.  His New York friends did not desert him and over the tears he played host to the big names of organised crime.  Luciano was arrested there, which eventually led to a trial and his deportation.

    He took US citizenship in 1943, and gave up his British passport in the 1950`s.  He married the daughter of the Postmaster, and they remained together until his death on April 24th 1965.  Strange that whenever people or documentary makers go on about British villains, this man who dwarfed anything that has come out since, and personally took care of matters, is never mentioned.  A man who was treated as an equal by the biggest criminals ever to come out of the States.  This is not to praise him but to redress the balance, as I am sick of hearing about the Krays and the Richardsons.  They would never have had the power this man held.  To me, he was the biggest villain this country has ever produced.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

The Murder of Jane Wiggett

There just seems to be a never ending stream of jealous and possessive spouses who will only let their former partners go, when they have killed them.  It is incredible that there are so many people who cannot accept that you cannot make somebody like and love you.  You have to wipe your mouth and move on.  Daniel Spencer, 59, seems to have fallen into this category.  His marriage to Jane Wiggett ended after 30 years, but in July 2013, he went to see his now former wife, at her flat in Cheltenham.  What happened to make Spencer explode with fury is unknown, but what is known, are the steps he took to avoid suspicion and detection.  He strangled his 57 year old former wife and went to great pains to conceal her body inside her own bed, arranging it to make it so nothing looked amiss. 

    Now Spencer started informing family and friends that she had gone away on holiday, but after two days, people entered the flat but did not see anything unusual about the bed, showing how well Spencer had done his task.  He kept on telling Jane`s family that she had been contacting him and that everything was fine, but the family were suspicious of him and 3 weeks after she "went away" her family reported her missing.  The next day, Police searched her flat and found her body.  Immediately, the search was on for Spencer.  He was arrested days later at a hotel by Birmingham Airport.  Police believed he was ready to flee the country.

    Spencer went on trial at Bristol Crown Court in late July 2014, denying the charge of murder.  The post mortem revealed that Jane had been struck hard before being strangled.  She had fought hard against Spencer as traces of his blood were found under her fingernails.  The Jury convicted him of murder, and the Judge sentenced him to a minimum of 16 years jail.  He shouted at the Judge "Why don't you just put a bullet through my head?"  What sort of sentence did he expect?  Did he think he was going to get sympathy because he was nearly 60?  As for a bullet in the head, no doubt Jane`s family and friends would think that would be a very appropriate punishment for Spencer, but then again, this is not China or Russia.

Welsh Footballer Hanged

There have been a few deaths involving footballers over the decades, but one football player was hanged for murder shortly before World War One.  This man  was Edgar Lewis Binson.  Not an actual professional player, he did dream that one day his skills would be noticed by the local team, Cardiff City.  But an extreme fit of jealousy, left a young woman dead, and he standing on a trapdoor at Cardiff Prison.  Bindon had been courting the daughter of a sea captain, Maud Mulholland, but the relationship was basically doomed as her parents did not approve of him.  Maud was 20 and Bindon, 19.  She worked as a shop assistant, whilst Bindon was an insurance agent.  He spent much of his spare time playing for two local amateur football teams.  Maud ended their relationship and started to see a man named Bernard Campion, but this fizzled out but started again some time after.  Renewing her relationship with Campion was to lead to her death.

    On November 4th 1913, Bindon turned up at her home in Theobald Road, armed with a revolver.  Her father disarmed him but allowed him to speak to maud.  She told him that it was over.  He refused to accept it and went and bought another revolver from somebody he knew.  He wrote letters to his mother, which showed that Bindon `s state of mind.  November 9th, saw Maud and Campion go out for a walk, and at 10.00pm, Campion walked with her to his tram stop and she carried on home.  At 10.50pm, she ran into Bindon, who produced a revolver.  Witnesses say that Maud started to run and a man chased her, firing at her.  He hit her 5 to 6 times.  He made no attempt to flee, and when taken to a Police station, he fully admitted what he had done.  With an execution, he was sure to be reunited with her forever.  He was inevitably found guilty but the jury made a strong recommendation to mercy.  Bindon was not interested in appealing his sentence though his Solicitor made great efforts with the Home Secretary, on behalf of his client.

    On Wednesday 25th March 1914, Bindon was hanged at Cardiff prison, assisted by William Willis.  He reportedly walked onto the scaffold without any assistance or fear.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The Unsolved Murder of Gloria Booth

This 1971 unsolved murder goes through periodical reviews by Police, but recently, a retired cop believes that the victim, 29 year old barmaid Gloria Booth, was an early victim of Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe.  Two aspects of the case do not convince me, which I will come to later.  What is known is that on Saturday night, June 12th 1971, Gloria left the pub she worked at, the White Hart, in Yeading Lane, Northolt, at 11.30pm and was seen walking along the A40 towards a Polish War Memorial.  Then it was early sunday morning, June 13th, that a newspaper delivery boy took a shortcut through South Ruislip Park that came across the virtually nude body of a young woman.  He had the calmness to check for a pulse then he ran home to tell his parents.  Meanwhile, a dog walker found the body and summoned Police.  He made an understandable mistake in covering the body, thus contaminating any evidence gathered, to preserve some dignity.

    Police checked her movements. Her estranged husband was quickly eliminated as a suspect - they were going through a divorce - as his movements were solidly alibied.  A post mortem revealed that she had been strangled, but there had been no sexual assault, giving rise to some theories that not only was the killer a sexual pervert but also impotent.  A shoe was found hidden under a bush but her other clothes had just been strewn about the murder scene.  She had been seen alive at 12.15am and later at 1.30am.  The Pathologist determined that she was dumped there after being murdered elsewhere.  Traces of brick dust and oil were found on her body.  Had she been murdered in a factory, or garage, or similar? Gloria had been mutilated.  She was supposed to have met a barman from the Viking Pub to go to a party but the Barman did not go as he had to call a doctor for the landlord, so did not leave the Viking until at least 1.00am, putting him in the clear.  Police believed the killer was local as Gloria had been dumped in the darkest part of the park

    Had she been taken there in a car or carried?  Police staged a reconstruction which gave them a few new leads but nothing substantial.  Another possibility is that the killer made two trips; one to dump the body, the second to deposit the clothes.  The case ran cold and now goes through a case review every couple of years.  But what about the claim about Sutcliffe being the culprit?  I do not buy it for two reasons.  One, the body was covered in bite marks, and as far as is known, Sutcliffe was never a biter.  Second, it is claimed that in 1971, Sutcliffe lived in Alperton, West London.  And Sutcliffe worked as a mechanic at this time.  That should be pretty easy to ascertain.  His family would certainly know.  And I have not heard anything about Sutcliffe living in West London.  Again, facts that should be easy to obtain from his family, providing that they would talk about their infamous sibling.  No, I am not convinced that he is responsible.  But his later job as a lorry driver would take him all over the country, and I wonder how many opportunities he acted upon by sheer chance.  I believe Gloria`s killer is still walking free or in a pine box in six foot of soil.

    UPDATE:  Reader Barry Glenister contacted me to say that the murder happened right near his parents home.  He says that an unreported fact was that the contents of Gloria`s handbag were scattered amongst the bushes bordering his parents home in Walnut Way.  He believes the killer left the park either by Walnut Way or Masson Avenue.  He arrived there the day after the murder, not knowing what had happened and was questioned by Police.  Thank you to Barry for this information.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Paddock Wood Murder

This case was one in which it was initially thought that the victim had been abducted by foreign agents, due to the highly sensitive post she held working for the Ministry of Defence.  This all started on Sunday July 20th 1969 when 21 year old Diana Davidson was watching her boyfriend play in a cricket match in the small Kent village of Paddock Wood.  But she grew bored with the game and decided to go and pick some wild flowers, but never returned.  Her boyfriend enlisted the help of some of his friends to search for her but she could not be found.  He called Police to report her missing.  On being told of her occupation, the Police took this very seriously and contacted the Ministry of Defence.  Her job entailed missile research, so this could have been a planned abduction.

    Her description was circulated to the media, all airports and seaports were watched, and patrol boats checked all vessels in an area of the North Sea and the English Channel.  A report came in that a woman said she had been molested by a driver of a Jaguar car.  Was there a connection to the disappearance of Diana?  This was discounted when a woman matching Diana was seen getting into a Hillman Minx, a small car, by a man with longish hair and wearing a scarf.  Then a woman came forward and said Diana had spoken to her about collecting flowers from a pond near by.  It was believed that this was where she was abducted.  A week later, a farmer was walking his dog when the dog started burrowing in weeds on Mount Pleasant Road.  He looked to see what his dog was interested in, and he looked into a ditch by where the dog was burrowing.  He had found the nude body of Diana Davidson.  She was face down in the ditch.

    The manhunt was intensified but no leads came in so a reconstruction was mounted in order to jog people`s memories.  The post mortem revealed she had been strangled but not sexually assaulted, despite her clothes being torn off and discarded.  A length of cotton cord was found by the body.  She had scrapings taken from under her fingernails, and traces of blood was found.  Forensic scientists conducted different tests but came up with the same result.  The blood group was the rare AB Negative.  Blood samples were taken from numerous men in Paddock Wood and sent for examination.  One came back AB Negative.  It belonged to Roy Andrew Carter.  Police went to his home to take him in for questioning and to search his home.  He was shown a length of cord identical to one used to strangle Diana.  When asked if he knew what it was, Carter replied it was a pyjama cord.  When informed that it was identical to the murder weapon, Carter confessed.

    His defence was Manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but this was rejected by the prosecution.  It is believed that upon seeing the young woman, Carter was overtaken with lust, got himself the pyjama cord, and followed her.  During the attack, she fought him ferociously, enough to enrage him to kill her without fulfilling his intended sexual assault.  On November 17th 1969, he was jailed for life.

The Fitting Up of George Thatcher

Today we have a look at that old British Police tradition, the "Fit Up", meaning a frame up.  Despite the long held view that British cops never do these kind of criminal activities, they still go on, regardless of the Police & Criminal Evidence Act (PACE).  It must have been a very frightening prospect to suddenly find yourself in the Condemned Cell, for a murder you did not commit, and indeed, were never even near.  Yet that it was what happened to a small time thief called George Frederick Thatcher.  He was a safe blower, and he had managed to blow open three safes at three cinemas, on the same night.  What he was not, was an armed robber.  But his nightmare was to be found guilty of murdering Dennis Hurden in 1962, during a botched robbery.

    Three armed bandits arrived in an Austin Cambridge - certainly had a few of them in my family - at the Royal Arsenal Co-op Society Depot in Mitcham, on November 17th 1962.  Two bandits, armed, stormed into the office, whilst a third man, who was also armed, kept watch.  Suddenly, employee Dennis Hurden arrived on the scene, and was told by the gunman on watch to stay still.  But Mr Hurden did not and kept moving.  The robber panicked and shot him in the face, killing him.  The other two robbers came out with just over £500 and they sped off. They crossed a bridge where they had parked another car, but this attracted attention and a witness made a note of the number plate, as it drove off with the three men inside.  This led Police to Philip Kelly.  A Night Watchman witness thought he saw four men in one of the cars.  Soon they had arrested John Hinton & Charles Connolly, but pressured Kelly into giving a fourth man.  This was achieved by taking him up to the water tank in the attic of Tooting Police Station and repeatedly dunking him until he spluttered out the name of George Thatcher.

    Thatcher was arrested but later released.  He was then rearrested and charged with Capital Murder.  On trial for his life at the Old Bailey in March 1963, he was defended by renowned QC Christmas Humphreys, who despite his reputation, had spent barely 15 minutes talking to his client throughout the trial.  As to be expected, Police Officers swore his life away - a claim was made that most of the "evidence" against Thatcher was thrashed out in the station canteen - his three co-defendants naturally chose to stay silent, and that the Judge's summing up was biased against Thatcher.  The others received jail, he received the death sentence.  At this point, Kelly blurted out that he was the killer.  This was ruled inadmissible and Thatcher was taken to the condemned cell, where he remained for four weeks.  Kelly confessed to a priest that he was indeed the killer of Dennis Hurden, but again this was ruled inadmissible.  Thatcher was reprieved, not for being innocent but because the Judge had made a mistake.  Thatcher remained in jail for 18 years.  Upon release, he met a woman and they moved to the West of Ireland.  George Thatcher died in 2014.  Subsequently, the officer in charge of the investigation committed suicide, and over 500 officers ended up leaving the force for corruption and suspected corrupt practices.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Egan`s Rats

The criminal history of the United States is littered with hundreds, if not thousands of gangs that exerted control over cities, towns and even entire states.  Some are well known such as the Purple Gang & The Five Pointers.  Another gang that had extensive control over a city, was Egan's Rats.  Their powerbase was St Louis in Missouri, though that did not stop wreaking havoc throughout the state.  Their reign lasted for some 35 years, and saw gangland violence and murder that rivalled New York and Chicago.

    The beginnings of the gang go back to 1890 and the leadership of Tom Kinney and Tom Egan.  The members of the gang were mainly Irish American, but they did have Italian American and Jewish members.  The most notable was Max Greenberg.  They started out as political strong arm men for Democratic candidates.  They used intimidation to persuade people how to vote or not at all.  But this was not all.  They were pickpockets, burglars, they stole from the railroad companies.  They worked out of the Kerry Patch waterfront, whilst Kinney got involved in politics, going to the Missouri House of Delegates as representative of the Fourth Ward, then later, on to the State Senate.  By 1904, they were the powerfulest gang in St Louis.  They included murder in their resume`, by killing rival gangster Fred Mohrle in June 1909, whilst he was awaiting trial for the murder of Rat Sam Young.  Retribution came early the next year in February 1910 when John Barry was shot dead in a courtroom by Henry Diederichsen.

    1916 saw an all out war with the Bottoms Gang.  What made the war worse, was that Harry Dunn, one of the Rats, had defected to the rival mob, over dissatisfaction over Tom Egan refusing to support Dunn`s brother whilst he was incarcerated.  There were numerous killings on both sides.  Dunn was murdered in September 1916 in the Typo Press club by Rats Walter Costello and Frank Newman.  1920 saw the end of Tom Egan, courtesy not of a bullet but Bright`s Disease.  His younger brother Willie took over, but could not control the younger members.  Egan wanted to concentrate on bootlegging but others wanted action, in the form of armed robberies, and they rampaged through the state, robbing banks and armoured vehicles.  But then came another major defection; Max Greenberg.  He joined up with the rival Hogan mob, and in October 1921, Willie Egan met his end outside his bar on Franklin Avenue, in a hail of bullets. There was no doubt which mob was responsible.

    Now Dink Colbeck took reins of the Rats and instigated a shooting spree throughout the city.  Even innocent bystanders were not immune.  But there was much pressure from the public on authorities to act, resulting in the Rats making peace with the Hogan mob.  Now there was no drive by shootings going off everywhere, Colbeck had his men committing robberies and murders throughout Missouri.  With all this mayhem, a chink in the armour was showing, in the shape of Rat Ray Renard.  He feared being killed so he decided to roll over and tell all to cops.  This resulted in nine of the gang, including Colbeck, jailed for a mail robbery at Staunton, Illinois.  It sparked the end of the gang.

    Some of those not taken down, moved about.  Fred Burke went to Chicago and was alleged to be part of the St Valentine`s Day Massacre hit team.  Leo Vincent Brothers was convicted and jailed for the June 1930 murder of Chicago Tribune reporter Jake Lingle.  Pete & Tom Licavoli went to Detroit and formed the River Gang, specialising in bootlegging in that city and in Toledo, Ohio.  When the nine Rats were released from jail, their position of power was long gone, so they ended up working for a mob boss named Frank Wortman.  Colbeck was shot dead in a street on February 17th 1943.

Another Killer Given Life Without Parole

The exclusive list of killers sentenced to a whole life term is getting longer and longer.  This is something that the Government and Home Office is going have to face up to and accept.  The latest entry that will have the Prison Reform Trust and Liberty weeping buckets of tears - though not for the victims - is a man released to kill again.  This time his murder was not a frenzied attack but a cool and VERY calculated act.  This double killer is Paul O`Hara, from Heywood, just outside of Rochdale.  The victim was 40 year old Cherylee Shennan, who ran her own second hand furniture business in Rawtenstall, Lancashire.  She ran the business with her partner, but their relationship ended.  She began a relationship with a man she had employed in her business.  That man was Paul O`Hara, 41.  But soon, Cherylee`s behaviour changed, and she showed signs of violence, which many women dismiss as accidents in the home.  She secretly confided that she was frightened of O`Hara and had suffered considerable violence.

    Her family were worried about her and on hearing what O`Hara had actually inflicted on her and threatened her on two occasions with a knife, they reported their concerns to Police.  A Police man and woman came to the house, but O`Hara was close by with a hammer, and upon entering the house, the officers tried to defuse the situation.  There was no defusing O`Hara.  He exploded with violence, attacking Cherylee and the two officers, injuring them.  The male officer managed to get Cherylee out of the house but O`Hara got hold of a kitchen knife and went after Cherylee.  The officer was unable to protect Cherylee, and then O`Hara proceeded to calmly and with deliberation, stab Cherylee numerous times.  The stabbings were not in a frenzy, but according to witnesses, very controlled.  Other officers arriving on the scene, overpowered the knifeman with CS spray, whilst Cherylee was being tended to by paramedics, with an air ambulance waiting.  She died at the scene.

    At Preston Crown Court in 2014, the Judge was taking no prisoners and sentenced him to a whole life sentence.  The details of O`Hara`s murderous past was revealed.  He had been released in 2012 after serving fourteen years for murdering his former girlfriend, 21 year old Janine Waterworth, days after she ended their relationship.  She was STABBED 12 times, close to her home in Oldham.  His excuse was he thought she had taken up with another man.  He had been no stranger to sentences for violence.   His excuse for the attack on Cherylee was that the cops were taking him back to jail.  You cannot use women as punch bags and expect to keep getting away with it, but O`Hara has twice responded with knives, fatally.  No doubt the families of Cherylee and Janine think the state should respond with a hood and a length of rope.  Oh that would horrify the professional whingers and apologists.  But then again, these cunts do not have to live with the pain like the families of both victims.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Israel Keyes - Serial Killer

This is a name I have come across during research but have never delved into it, but now it turns out that Keyes was not just a serial killer but a motiveless killer.  Thankfully, this vermin decided to top himself after confessing to murdering Samantha Koenig, but before he could be brought to trial for a double murder.  He readily confessed to an additional five murders, though did not provide any names or specific details.  What he did, was to abduct Samantha from the Common Grounds Coffee Kiosk in Anchorage, on February 1st 2012.  He did rob the cash till but this was captured on cctv.  Samantha was found later dead in a lake, located north of Anchorage.  Keyes had Samantha`s debit cards and phone.  He tortured her to get the PIN number and used her phone to lay a false trail for Police.  Keyes travelled extensively, but was finally arrested in Lufkin, Texas.  He was charged with kidnapping and the death of Samantha.  Soon he was dropping hints about at least seven other murders.  He readily confessed to murdering Samantha.

    Now he was telling of a double murder he committed in Essex, Vermont in June 2011.  The victims were Bill and Lorraine Currier.  They were targeted by Keyes because he wanted absolutely no interference from children or dogs.  He wanted to kidnap and kill.  The Curriers were perfect, he decided, after staking their home out for three days.  Cutting their phone lines, he broke into the house armed with a gun.  They were in bed, so he tied them up with plastic ties he was carrying, and then forcing them into their own car, and driving them to a derelict farmhouse.  But moving them one at a time, gave them a chance to break their bonds but a fleeing Lorraine was caught and forced into the old house.  In the house, Bill was breaking free, but Keyes retaliated by beating him with a shovel but Bill kept resisting.  Keyes shot him dead.  He then went to Lorraine, raped her and then strangled her.  However, their bodies remain undiscovered.

    Keyes has told cops about four other murders in Washington State and one in New York State, but refused to give details.  There was an attempt by him to escape from court but he was tasered before he get near the doors by Deputies.  Keyes committed suicide in jail, which brought differing opinions on why.  Was it remorse?  No way!  He bragged that he liked killing, and that it was nothing.  He did not want to spend the rest of his life in jail?  Possibly.  Was it avoid a death sentence?  A good explanation in my view.  Remember all the strokes Bundy pulled in order to avoid the chair.  How Ridgway took a plea deal to avoid the needle.  Whatever the reason, at least he is not around to cause more untold suffering.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Does Killing People Stop Armed Robbers?

The answer to this question, of course, is that it never will.  Donald Neilson was a prime example of that.  Another man was John Hinton, a career criminal.  Hinton was part of a team that robbed a Co-op dairy in Mitcham, South London in 1962.  A man was killed.  Hinton was sentenced to life, but as in many fairy tales involving the Parole Board, he was released on strict licence in 1978.  Did this curb his criminality?  No!!! In March 1978, just weeks after being released, Hinton and a man called Alan Roberts, targeted a Hatton Garden jeweller, Leo Grunhut.  They attacked him as he left his home in Golders Green.  Hinton shot Roberts by mistake, in the thigh, badly wounding him.  Mr Grunhut then made a break for it, to get back in his home.  Hinton cold bloodedly shot him in the back.  The haul came to £3000 cash, and over £250,000 in jewels.  He took his wounded partner to a South London garage but Roberts died from loss of blood.  Hinton buried him in an embankment in Dartford.  Leo Grunhut died from his injuries four weeks later.  Hinton was never caught for this.

    Hinton was put on trial in 1981 and faced seven robbery, an attempted robbery plus two conspiracy charges for which he received fourteen years.  He managed to escape from a prison in Portsmouth, Kingston, in October 1990 and went to Brighton and carried out a £90,000 jewellry raid.  Then after the Brighton raid, he found himself a partner, and in December 1990, they robbed a jewellers in Burlington Gardens, Piccadilly, London.  The haul came to £420,000, after they terrorised the shop owners.  Hinton fired shots at them as the brothers chased him, but Police were quickly on the scene and they overpowered him.  Hinton was jailed for life in 1991.  He may have been in his early sixties, but this was a very dangerous man, who had no hesitation in committing murder.  Strange how, despite a robbery involving a murder, 1963, did not come under a Capital charge - Murder in the furtherance of theft.  One Bradford man was executed in 1959 on this charge, yet in 1962, two men killed a man in his home, in Cutler Heights, Bradford, as their intention was to rob it.  Surely this was Murder in the furtherance of theft, but no, they were jailed for life.  The crime was not a Capital crime.  These are some of the examples of twisted legal wranglings since Sidney Silverman had the Homicide Act(1957) introduced as law.

Decision To Release Triple Killer Roberts

This is one of those memorable decisions by authorities to release a hardened killer.  In this case, the three victims were unarmed Police officers, and it was over an out of date tax disc and the fact that three men were observed in a car.  Two officers were shot dead by the gunman`s vehicle, the third was cold bloodedly executed whilst in his car.  The events began on Friday 12th August 1966, in Shepherd's Bush, London, when the officers went to speak to the occupants of the car.  Inside were John Witney, John Duddy & Harry Roberts.  DC David Wombwell was shot through the head by Roberts.  He then shot DC Christopher Head in the back.  He jumped from the car and went to the unmarked Police car and shot PC Geoffrey Fox.  Why?  

    The idea was that they were going to rob rent collectors, postmen and post offices.  They were armed but Duddy and Witney said that Roberts said if there was trouble, they were not leaving witnesses.  The cold blooded murder of PC Fox proved that.  Witney and Duddy were traced and arrested, but Roberts went on the run.  He had served in the armed forces, and knew survivalist skills but after a massive manhunt, he was found and surrendered without a fight.  All three were given life sentences.  Roberts was given 30 years but has been in for nearly forty eight years.  Roberts was no stranger to extreme violence.  He was jailed for seven years for attacking and robbing a very old man.  The victim died one year and three days, after the attack in November 1958, so he was saved from a murder charge by two days - up to a year and a day after an attack - which could have resulted in a Capital Murder charge.  Roberts was said to have been released on strict licence some years ago but it was revoked after he was frequently consorting with criminals.  Understandably, the Police are very unhappy about this paroling of a triple killer.

    But fear not, the release of Roberts will undoubtedly put big grins on the faces of Liberty and The Prison Reform Trust.  Not to mention the "radicals" young and old.  The people who allegedly hated the wealthy Capitalists, and the Fuzz who were their private army.  One can imagine them feeling so happy for Roberts in their very plush homes, power suits and no doubt, expensive cars.  (Certainly no pursuit of wealth here - oh how very capitalist!)  The families of all of Roberts` victims will have to live with it.  But then again, since when do victims and their families count?  There will also be the rush from the old Underworld faces to fete him at dinners, stand up and applaud this "hero."  Being a good person does not mean anything in sections of society.  A bastard is better thought of than an honest, hardworking person.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Tilly Devine - Crime Queen of Sydney

You do not get very many British citizens who go to another country and establish a fearsome reputation on the wrong side of the law.  Tilly Devine was one such person, and like Stephanie St. Clair, she took on the men at their own game and won.  She was also avoided by many men because she had a very dangerous temper, plus she could hold her own in a fight.  She gave as good as she got.  Particularly to men.  Yet, who would of thought that this girl from Camberwell who rise to the top of the Sydney Underworld in the 20`s, 30`s & 40`s?  Whilst making vast amounts of money through prostitution, drugs, booze and extortion, she did have a long running war with another powerful brother madame, Kate Leigh.  (Was this the basis for the film "Kitty & The Bagman?)

    Matilda Mary Twiss was born in Hollington Street Camberwell, London on September 8th 1900, and by 1915, she was active as a prostitute, working alongside both English and Australian girls.  It was in 1916 that she met an Australian serviceman named Jim Devine - born in Brunswick Victoria 1892, died in Melbourne 1966 - then married the following year, on April 12th 1917 at Sacred Heart Church in Camberwell.  Tilly carried on prostituting for the next couple of years, giving birth to a son in 1919, in between numerous arrests and time spent in cells.  The charges were usually prostitution, assault & theft, and in her career, she racked up an impressive 200 plus convictions!  Her husband decided to go back to Australia, so she upped and followed him, leaving their son with her parents.  She arrived in Sydney in January 1920, joined up with her husband, and slowly built up a formidable legacy of crime.  A law was passed in New South Wales in 1905 that forbade men running brothels, but women got by, using other criminals for protection and of course by paying off the Police.

    Tilly was supplying girls for various men of stature.  The best went to politicians and businessmen.  Girls doing it for money to pay for clothes, drugs or to live, went to men higher than working class men.  The older women were for servicemen and the ordinary man in the street.  Jim Devine became a violent standover man, was a pimp, thug and wife beater.  He was arrested for trying to kill her after a violent argument, but she refused to give evidence.  He was involved in three other murder trials but was acquitted in each one.    But by the 1940`s, she had had enough of Devine and divorced him in 1944.  A year later she married serviceman Eric Parsons, but was charged with shooting him in the leg.  She was acquitted and they stayed together until his death in 1958.  What brought Tilly down was the taxman.  In the 50`s she was hit with bills that drained much of her money, but she continued living it up like a queen until her death on November 24th 1970, at Concord Repatriation Hospital, and was buried without any fanfare in what is now called Eastern Suburbs Memorial Park.  Her great rival, Kate Leigh, died in 1951.  She too, fell victim to bad book keeping with the taxman.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Phantom`s MC

This club is one of the lesser known OMG`s or as they like to point out, a 1%er club. The Phantom`s started out in the late 1950`s as a car club, but it was in 1962, that they voted to become a bike club from there on, and have been going strong for 52 years.  The club is based in Detroit, and has a small number of chapters, though reports of where they exactly are, can be mistaken.  They do have chapters in Washington DC, Maryland, Florida, a Nomad chapter - Nomads do not have a set base, hence the name - and one in Georgia.  They are said to be in Ohio and Kentucky. ( I am willing to be corrected on any point here)

    But, as with many OMG`s, they come under scrutiny of Law Enforcement, and nine arrests went down in 2013, with all facing charges of Conspiracy to Commit Murder, along with racketeering and other charges.  They were said to be a violent and armed gang, but this is only hearsay and charges have to be proven in a court of law, otherwise they are to be regarded as innocent.  They, like all other clubs, have their motto, ******** Forever Forever *******  I have stated before on another post that crime writer Yves Lavigne was right, in that he did not regard the HA as a criminal organisation, but an organisation of criminals.  There is a difference.  Clubs will have criminals in their ranks, but also will have members who will not take anything thrown at them.  The task force that arrested the nine, was a multi-force co-operation, comprising local, state, ATF, FBI and other agencies.  Questions were raised about so many cops yet so few arrests!  

    If any bikers from the States can help with a question, it would be appreciated.  I remember getting a few issues of "Chopper" during 1976 - we did get it over here in Blighty - and one guy wrote a story about a solo trip to Alaska on his bike.  He was black, and was in a Detroit club.  To this day, I remember him putting that it was a club of 35 men, no women.  Would anybody know what this club was?  I do put up a good few posts about bike clubs because bikes have always been a great interest to me, though I could never get to grips riding one.  Two of my brothers had bikes, my dad did, and so did his dad.  Plus, the biking world does not consist solely of the HA.  Ciao!

Stephanie St. Clair - "Queen of Harlem"

There has not been many true "Queens of The Underworld" but this lady was certainly one.  She withstood threats & intimidation from Dutch Schultz, even avoiding a hit team he sent to eliminate her.  She also battled against corrupt cops who were used by their Italian paymasters to put rivals out of business.  One way or another.  In the end, Stephanie St. Clair died an old and very rich woman.  How many Italian mobsters could boast that?  Stephanie also had another angle that has never been widely acknowledged.  Not only was she a woman, but she was black!  She arrived in this world in 1886, though it is disputed where she was actually born.  Some say Martinique in the East Caribbean, others say an island off Mexico.  What is not in dispute was that she entered the USA from that great city of European crime, Marseilles.

    Stephanie arrived in the States in 1912, settling in Harlem, where ten years later, she invested $10,000 she had into a numbers racket, or Policy, as it became known as.  By the following year, 1923, she was one of the biggest policy operators.  She had previously been associated with an Irish gang known as the Forty Thieves, but decided to branch out on her own.  What made it safer for her was a man she brought in as enforcer, bodyguard and trusted number two, was the formidable Ellsworth "Bumpy" Johnson. He was later the mentor to Frank Lucas and was portrayed by Moses Gunn in the Shaft films.  The only problems Stephanie encountered throughout the twenties, was not from the Italians - they had the upper hand on Prohibition - but from cops.  She did pay out regular bribes, but some of the Mob, in particular Dutch Schultz, resented the fact that a woman and that she was black, was making a great deal of money.  Some names applied to her obviously did not go down well.  "Madame Queen of Harlem" was one, another was "The Tiger From Marseilles".  She was arrested by cops on a trumped up charge, and went to prison for eight months.  She had made many complaints to authorities about police harassment, but was ignored.  She responded by putting articles in local newspapers about payoffs she was forced to make to senior cops.  She later gave evidence to a commission investigating corruption.

    Prohibition ended in 1933, which saw a substantial drop in turnover for the Mob, so Schultz decided that the numbers racket in Harlem was now his.  Schultz his men dishing out violence and intimidation to those who refused to pay to him, and of course, a good few murders to make his point.  Stephanie and Johnson withstood violence and intimidation from corrupt cops sent out by Schultz.  He sent an assassination team to kill her but she managed to avoid them by hiding under a huge pile of coal.  Bumpy Johnson approached Lucky Luciano, and a deal was struck.  He took over Schultz`s policy rackets and cut Bumpy in.  If the Mob had any problems in Harlem, the Mob had to go to Bumpy.  Then Luciano had Schultz taken care of.  Whilst he lay dying in hospital, Stephanie sent him a message "As ye sow, so shall ye reap".  Now Bumpy was gaining huge power and influence so Stephanie started slowly moving away from the numbers game, and she died in Harlem in 1969, a very rich woman.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Young Boys, Inc.

Young Boys, Inc, or YBI, was a street gang that sprang up on the west side of Detroit in the latter part of the 1970`s.  This street gang operated differently to all the other gangs, by using a structured plan that was very much like a corporation, in which tasks were assigned to youngsters, and this was the job they did, unless the leaders promoted them or decided to eliminate them.  The leaders were Ray Peoples & Butch Jones, and their "team" comprised of neighbourhood boys who were recruited from ten years of age and older.  They were used not only as dealers, but runners and the older ones, as muscle.  They even adopted the supermarket approach by using various names for all the different drugs they supplied.  They took this supermarket approach even further by offering freebie samples and two for one deals.

    Jones & Peoples treated their boys extremely well, by paying them a good wage every week, and the best salesmen were handsomely rewarded.  The best boys went a step higher in their organisation.  One aspect they never shied away from was murder.  Enemies, informants, rip off merchants, and anybody deemed as dangerous or bothersome, were killed without compunction.  This business model was adopted by other gangs but it was the YBI who had the stranglehold on the Detroit heroin market.  One of the main enforcers for the YBI was Kurt Napier, aged 19.  His violence and intimidation was so much that he was labelled the city`s Public Enemy No.1  But the cops had not been idle and were planning a city wide swoop on the gang and arresting as many as they could.  Napier decided to go out in a blaze of glory.  He got hold of other enforcers and they tore around the city, extracting unpaid debts and giving severe beatings.  He was chased by cops in a stolen car and captured.  He went down for a life sentence.

    Ray Peoples and Butch Jones were jailed in 1982, but after being released, Peoples tried to re-establish himself in the Detroit Underworld, but even after a short time away, the scene changes and other villains have stepped up to the plate.  They were not happy about Peoples, so they simply had him killed.  Butch Jones was in jail for a 12 year stretch but was named in an indictment in 1987 by a Grand Jury, naming 26 individuals, including Jones` wife and a cop!  Jones was said to be running the organisation from jail in Texas, and was responsible for the murder of five people.  This seemed to signal the end of the YBI.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Frank Matthews - Pioneering Black "Mr Big"

There has always been major black gangsters in many of the big American cities but it is probably down to the racism of the domineering white gangsters, that they were never heard about.  Big time villains like Capone & Owney Madden, actually gave big breaks to many of the black jazz men & women who went on to fame & fortune, showing that despite the racism of their Underworld contemporaries, they were not.  But it was in New York that names did emerge.  From numbers king in Harlem, Eddie Jones, to Bumpy Johnson, Frank Lucas, Nicky Barnes & Frank Matthews.   Matthews was not a New Yorker but hailed from North Carolina.  He later moved from Durham, NC, to Philadelphia, where he immersed himself in the Numbers racket, but was find out how cops liked black villains making a name and money for themselves.  He was arrested and given a choice to leave Philadelphia or else. He wisely chose to move on.  He arrived in the Harlem area of Bedford-Stuyvesant, living with an outgoing woman named Barbara Hinton, and they had a growing family of their own.

    He soon worked his way into the drug trade but decided against working with the Italians, as they always wanted control and the lion`s share.  He dealt with two brothers who were importing heroin on a grand scale.  Soon, he had a firm grip on heroin sold on the East Coast of the country.  His tentacles spread to L.A, Vegas, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Detroit & Cleveland.  He did not have his contacts over.  He sold top quality drugs for a fair price, but money payments were on time or else.  He was extremely ruthless on slow payers.  Within five years, he had amassed a vast fortune.  This was by 1970.  Cops were now on to him and extensive tailing soon revealed the scale of his operation.  He had a large number of men and women, whose task was to cut and bag the drugs.  He had them working shifts, something that Frank Lucas also did.  Finally, in July 1972, addresses were raided and huge amounts of drugs were seized.  But Matthews evaded the raids but eventually, the following year, he was arrested in Las Vegas.  Extradited back to New York, he posted bail, then vanished.  He allegedly disappeared with his girlfriend, a minder, and up to $20,000,000, but has never been seen since.  Nicky Barnes took over remnants of his empire.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Elaine Parent - "The Chameleon Killer"

This woman was during the 1990`s the "world`s most wanted woman."  The "chameleon" tag was what she applied to herself when she sent a mocking card to Florida police who ended up spending 12 years hunting her down.  She was even sought by Scotland Yard.  What was proven against her was that she brutally murdered and mutilated 34 year old Bank Clerk Beverly McGowan.  Elaine Parent was a ruthless conwoman who would do anything to achieve her aims.  Even the most horrific murder.  

    What is known about Elaine Parent was that she was born in the Bronx on August 4th 1942, to an American father & French-Canadian mother.  She was involved in petty crime for many years but her conniving ways took an exceedingly dark turn in 1990 in St. Lucie County, Florida, when Beverly McGowan advertised for a roommate, to help pay the bills.  She received a call from an Englishwoman called "Alice" who claimed to work for IBM.  Beverly vanished, and her credit cards were being used sporadically.  The user was even claiming to be her.  Then on July 19th 1990, a gruesome discovery by a young couple fishing in a small canal, which was basically a swamp.  The torso of a woman.  She had been decapitated and her hands had been removed.  There was a mutilation to an area of her stomach.  A small tattoo on her ankle led to her identification as Beverly McGowan.  The mutilation to her stomach was to remove a tattoo there.  But the killer(s) missed the ankle tattoo.....

    Her cards were being used, and a flight was booked to Heathrow Airport, London.  The killer had fled the country.  At Heathrow, a woman claiming to be Beverly, tried to hire a car with the card, but it was refused as the card had now been cancelled.  The woman was forced to pay with cash.  The cancellation aroused suspicions and police notified.  They checked with Florida police, to discover Beverly had been murdered.  They now started a fugitive hunt, but the mystery woman had vanished.  It was not until some years later that they discovered that the woman had lived in England for five years, explaining how she had a perfect accent.  She also lived in South London with a former lesbian lover, a businesswoman.  But the relationship was very fraught so Parent took off to the States, then on the run, she went straight back to her lover.  But again, things were not good.  Parent ended up using threats, blackmail & intimidation against her old lover, to get her way.  

    Police now heard from a woman who had been a victim of this conwoman, and so built up a picture of how she operated.  She claimed to be an expert in numerology - predicting the future using numbers.  This woman fell for the trick of telling her her social security number and her bank numbers(!!!!) and even after constant pressure and crying, allowed her to use her birth certificate.  Did Beverly unwittingly give her details?  Working in a bank would have given her warnings.  Did Parent force her to give her details before Beverly was murdered?  This, undoubtedly, would have been at gunpoint.  Did she have an accomplice who did the mutilations, or was she a lone wolf?  Another murder was discovered elsewhere where a woman had her head and hands chopped off.  Coincidence?  I do not think so.  Other mysterious deaths have been thought to have been possibly committed by Parent.

    Back in the States, she was arrested at Miami Beach and found with three identities.  Very sloppy work by cops, in which they never ran any of the details through the computer, resulted in her being bailed.  Then she started turning up in New Mexico, and then back in Florida.  April 6th 2002, cops called at an address to arrest her, but whilst she went into a room to dress, she shot herself.  She took all her secrets to the grave.  How many murders had she committed?  More than one?  I believe so.  Where did her name come from?  She sent to cops a photo of a painting of herself and called herself "The Chameleon" on the back.  Like other con artists, she scoured graveyards taking details from gravestones, names, dates of birth, etc, to get new identities.  One English conman called Carl Hildebrand was one such person.  He took the names of deceased children!!!!!  His crime wave came to an end in Florida, due to the attentiveness and professionalism of a Florida State Patrolman, who did not let his investigation into him slide. Elaine Parent thankfully is no longer around to flaunt her parasitic ways, and kill because somebody refused to believe her bullshit.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Danny Greene & The War With the Cleveland Mob

Danny Greene was one of those people who liked to think of themselves as Irish - for whatever reason - but his years of crime, bombings, and his feelings of invincibility, were at some point going to end in tears.  He helped turn Cleveland into the bomb capital of the USA in 1976, and his relentless taunting of the local Mafia family to the media, were headline grabbers.  What was not so well known was that for some years Greene had been an informant for the FBI.  Was this a case of "you grass guys up, we look the other way where you are concerned?"  This case also led to the arrest and subsequent co-operation of Mafia man Jimmy Fratianno.

    Danny Greene was born in 1930, but despite his grand use of the colour green for anything, he seems NOT to have had any Irish heritage.  It was on the west side of Cleveland that he built up labour racketeering, gambling and loan-sharking interests, and on top, got involved in the Longshoreman`s Union,and started clashing with the Licavoli family.  The FBI had turned Greene after convicting him of labour racketeering, but later, local cops had information that Greene was extorting money from out of town construction companies.  Greene did have a ally in John Nardi, a nephew of mob man Anthony Milano, and one prize they sought was control of a local Teamsters Union.

    1969 saw Greene have a serious fallout with his close friend Mike Frato.  Greene had formed the Cleveland Solid Waste Guild but haulier Frato was not playing ball.  1971 saw a bomb explosion kill Arthur Snepenger as he tried to plant a device on a car belonging to Frato.  Frato later tried to shoot Greene but missed and Greene shot him dead.  He was acquitted on the grounds of self defence.  Greene then had a serious dispute with Shondor Birns over money borrowed from a New York family to start up a bar.  Greene refused to pay, so a contract was put on him.  Two men took it up but both missed.  One was an attempted shooting, the other was a completely failed bomb attempt.  Another team from Collingwood took up the offer on Greene.  They blew up his apartment whilst he was in bed with his girlfriend.  Both were unscathed.  This started the tale that Greene was seemingly indestructible.  John Nardi was taken out in 1977 with - what else - a bomb.  IT was detonated by remote control as he sat in his car.  There were numerous attempts to kill Greene, but every time they failed.  In one tv interview, he was calling the Italians "maggots".

    But his time was soon to run out.  Los Angeles mob man Jimmy "The Weasel" Fratianno, brought in independant guy Ray Ferrito, to deal with Greene.  He had big promises made to him by the Cleveland Family if he succeeded.  He did.  He caught Greene with - a car bomb.  A car parked next to his ended Greene`s life.  But Ferrito was seen driving away, and witnesses not only gave a description, they took his licence plate as well.  He was soon caught.  Ferrito was expecting to be well looked after by the Cleveland mob whilst he was incarcerated but it seemed the promises were not going to be met.  He also feared a hit whilst in jail, so he rolled over and told all.  His information later led to the arrest of Fratianno.  Interviewed for the documentary series "Crime, Inc"  Ferrito described the initial satisfaction of killing Greene as "drinking a glass of good wine."  

Colin Chisan - Lucky To Escape The Noose

This is another of the obscure cases that nobody seems to have heard about, but did involve divided opinion by medical experts in court.  The story kicks off way back in August 1962, and a garage owner named Colin Chisan, who was extremely intolerant on many subjects, was a very opinionated man, and thought to have been somewhat paranoid.  He was very intolerant towards young men, despite having an adopted son.  What was more disturbing, though is an indication of the thinking at the time, was that Colin Chisan had a firearms licence, despite the obvious signs being displayed by his behaviour.  He had a number of firearms plus a deadly collection of bayonets & knives.   He needed all these to protect his family from any tearaways or "Teddy Boys", even though most of the teddy boy era had passed.

    Events turned tragic  at around midnight on August 5th 1962.  Three young men were strolling past his home, listening to a small radio and having a little singsong.  But this innocent pastime was too much for Chisan.  He went out and confronted them, to turn the radio off, which they did but Chisan labelled them teddy boys.  This upset them so they turned the verbals back on to Chisan, who ran back into his house and came out brandishing a .22 rifle.  He fired two shots in the air to scare them off, but instead of running, they confronted him so he shut his door.  They kicked the door in, as Police were called but in the hallway, two of the youths, Henderson & Tait staggered out of the house.  An ambulance took them to hospital but Tait died.  Police found two shell casings by the gate, blood in the hallway, then took possession of the rifle and a sword stick.  Later, it was determined that the sword stick was exactly the same diameter of a .22 bullet.  This would be the cause of divided opinions on what killed Tait.

    Because of a firearm being used, if convicted, Chisan could hang because it would be deemed a Capital Crime.  The autopsy carried out by Dr Colin Corby concluded death was from a .22 bullet.  Two pathologists called by the defence stated they believed it was by the sword stick.  Dr Walls, head of the Police laboratory at Scotland Yard, could conclusively say which it was.  Chisan was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to life.  Dr Walls was not wholly convinced the sword was responsible.  He found traces of lead around the hole in the dead man`s jacket.  He remembered that unjacketed lead ammunition was toughened with antimony.  He sent the coat to a government laboratory that used an electron beam.  This discovered lead and antimony, proving Tait had indeed, been shot.  But Chisan was already convicted and now he had been certified as clinically paranoid.  He remained incarcerated.

Monday, 13 October 2014

The Murders of George & Terry Brett

A notorious multiple murder trial was told of the horrifying tale of how a young boy was ruthlessly shot to death by "hitmen".  One of the killers is on a whole life sentence, whilst two others he accused of complicity in the killings, were freed by a Court of Appeal 23 years later.  The killings of the Bretts was more horrific because the alleged "Code of honour" was violated.  This is the old adage that women & children were safe.  Yeah right.  The story went that George Brett, an East End lorry driver, had battered somebody in a fight and so the loser decided to have Brett taught a lesson.  A permanent lesson.  £1,800 was the sum allegedly paid to Harry McKenny.  A man calling himself "Jennings" paid a visit to Brett, offering some work, on Saturday January 4th 1975.  He was to follow the pin stripe suited man and he would show him the what he wanted him to do.  Brett took along his son Terry, who was 10 years old.  At the old church hall that this man was supposedly using his business for, when Brett was shot with a sten gun.  His son, who had just been handed a teddy bear, was then shot through the head.  This was the story of John Childs, the man in the suit, and he claimed (naturally) that the shooter was big Harry McKenny.  McKenny & Terry Pinfold were convicted solely on the word of Childs, but were freed 23 years later on appeal.

    Childs claimed that the bodies were taken to his flat in Poplar, dismembered and then burned in the fireplace.  A Professor of Medicine, along with forensics specialists, conducted a test with a pig to see if it was possible.  They succeeded.  But just exactly who carried out the murders?  Childs` evidence these days, would have been thrown out as it was contradictory, and he has kept changing the story over the years.  One tale about George Brett was that at one time he was knocked down by a car, in mistake for Ronnie Kray.  The stand out feature here is the ineptitude of the driver.  George Brett was a lorry driver.  How does a lorry driver dress?  Does he walk about at all times in expensive suits like Kray did? Would he have walked about without minders around him or being shadowed by adoring photographers? The truth about the murders of the Bretts will probably never be know, and it serves as a warning never to think children will never be harmed by villains.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

The World of Health Spa Murders

Miami, Florida has some of the plushest and most expensive clubs, restaurants, hotels and boats in the world.  It is a mecca for wealthy people, the cocaine capital of America, and some of the highest murder rates in the world.  This triple murder happened Sunday 23rd July 1978.  The owner of the World of Health Spa on Sixth Avenue, John Mitchell, had not arrived home, so his wife contacted his father to go and see if he was still at work.  He was not to know that he would walk into a scene of horror.  Just inside the club, he found 33 year old John, shot to death.  He immediately called Police, who did a sweep of the club.  They found a young woman, naked, with her clothes strewn around, shot to death in a hallway.  Then they came upon the body of a fully clothed woman in one of the whirlpool baths.  She too, had been shot to death.

    Linda Mitchell arrived at the scene, to be met by Steve Beattie, a friend of John`s.  They could not fathom the motive.  Robbery?   The manager`s office had been ransacked, but that could have been a smokescreen.  John Mitchell had owned massage parlours in Fort Lauderdale, but these were legitimately run and had no connection to the sex trade.  The two women were 18 year old Patricia Beck & 34 year old Carol Raduazzo.  They were part of the Spa`s cleaning team.  One forensics officer, Eddie Stone, tried out a technique they were developing, in which it could be possible to lift a fingerprint from a body.  He had no success with John or Carol but he struck gold with Patricia.  He lifted a print from a calf.  This was sent to the fingerprint laboratory, and a couple of days later, they had a hit.  But to be certain, they sent it to the FBI.  They confirmed the identification.  The print belonged to Steve Beattie.  He went into the station for routine questioning, but after a lengthy interview, he was charged with three counts of murder.  He denied all against him and gave an alibi witness who corroborated much of his story.  Brought in for questioning, this witness was released as there was nothing forensically to link him to it, but there was no corroboration beyond the two, so he was suspected of being an accomplice.  This man immediately left the country.  (nothing to be afraid of was there!)  Beattie gave two accounts of his movements at the club that day. Some small traces of blood and skin were found on sandals in Beattie`s home, the same blood type of Patricia, but this was long before DNA.  Then Police discovered that Beattie and Mitchell had taken life insurance policies out on each other for $100,000.  Beattie had run a martial arts studio in the back of the Spa, but half of the studio belonged to Mitchell.

    Beattie went on trial in December 1978, but his lawyers could not persuade his friend to come back and testify on Beattie`s behalf.  (I wonder why?)  He was convicted and given three death sentences.  In court, he embraced the death sentences, but later had a change of heart when incarcerated on Death Row.  He applied for a new trial but this was rejected.  So he committed suicide by having sleeping pills smuggled into his cell and taking an overdose.  The date was August 9th 1981.  So who was Steve Beattie?

    He was born in Scotland, and aged seven, his family emigrated to Canada.  The son of a professional boxer, he and his brothers grew up tough.  One even became a World Champion in the 1950`s.  Another went into politics.  Steve Beattie went crooked. He was jailed in the early 60`s for car theft, and after release, he moved to Florida.  He had taken up Karate as a teen and held a black belt 5th Dan by the time he was 20.  He won the state Karate championship for three years.  But he had a passion for mindless violence, becoming a notorious doorman and provoking fights, particularly with weaker people.  ( In honesty, most would be weaker than a man like him)  He liked to think of himself as the toughest guy in the state.  He faced numerous charges of aggravated assault, and on one occasion, rape.  But the complainants would not testify in court, but he was clearly on the Police radar.  He was a man who made many enemies, very quickly.  His fellow Karate instructors did not like him very much as well.  In short, he was becoming the city bully.  But he was not so tough when put in his cell on Death Row.  

    Police believed Mitchell was killed for the insurance, and Carol & Patricia were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Another mystery was the stripping of Patricia, as she was not sexually assaulted, as such a scene would normally indicate.  Was it a power play?  Not content with murdering her, he had to rob a young woman of her dignity?  Beattie never said why.  But at least he is not around anymore.

The Murder of Ivy Virgin

Ivy Virgin was a happily married woman with a family, but she also enjoyed an active social life with her circle of friends.  She lived in Boston in Lincolnshire, and on November 19th 1970, she did her usual routine of chores, such as preparing packed lunches for her son and husband, going out, coming back home and preparing tea then off out again with her friends.  She would then come home late in the evening, but that day was turn to fatal for the 57 year old.  She was returning to her home in Jubilee Avenue, when her husband heard a noise and scratching at the front door.  He opened it to find his wife covered in blood and bleeding heavily.  Her husband desperately tried to stem the blood flow, whilst her son raced to a telephone to call for an ambulance.  It was 11.30pm.

    The ambulance rushed her to the Pilgrim Hospital but she died at 1.00am.  This was now murder.  The questions were; who had committed it?  And why?  Five hours later, at 6.00am a Home Office Pathologist carried out an autopsy.  Present was a scientific officer from Forensics and four detectives.   The Pathologist stated the injuries were ghastly, and inflicted in a clubbing motion.  Then something was spotted in an x-ray.  Embedded in her shoulder was the tip of a knife.  A great deal of people were questioned over the killing, but the case ran cold.  But not for too long.....

    The following year, 1971, during the summertime, a shoplifter was arrested.  In his possession was a knife with the tip missing.  His address was in Jubilee Avenue.  This immediately connected with the Police, who had the knife sent to the Forensics laboratory In Nottingham.  The knife and the tip were a perfect match.  Police now knew they had the killer of Ivy Virgin.  The shoplifter was 15 year old Ray Baxter, who confessed when presented with the knife evidence.  Baxter it turned out, was a peeping tom, who liked to watch courting couples and looking through house windows.  He was about to approach the windows of the Virgin household, when Ivy caught him.  Baxter responded by producing a knife and wildly stabbing and slashing at the defenceless woman.  Because he was a juvenile, he was ordered to be detained for an unspecified period, but he was deemed fit for release whilst in his twenties.  Baxter responded to this kind and civilised gesture by going out and violently raping a woman.  This put him back inside for many years.  I wonder if the parole board still think their decision was right?

Friday, 10 October 2014

The Case of The Body in The Garden

This death goes back to the mid 1960`s and actually happened in Singapore, but the person responsible had gotten away with it for at least six years until in October 1971, Ian Reed entered the Hounslow Police station in London and confessed to killing his wife, Dorothy, back in 1965 in Singapore.  He was serving there in the Army at the time.  What was strange was that Dorothy Reed was alive and well at home.  Except that she was not Dorothy Reed.  Police contacted their counterparts in Singapore who thoroughly searched his former home, and dug up the garden, where they discovered skeletal remains.  Now the task was to identify the body.  Photos were found of Dorothy, and in photos of her smiling, a distinctive clue emerged that compared to the skull of the remains.  A clearly protruding tooth.  The photos of Dorothy were superimposed on the skull, and they matched, particularly the protruding tooth.  Police were now sure this was Dorothy Reed, but who was the woman claiming to be Dorothy in Hounslow?

    Reed, in his confession, said that he married Dorothy, in Singapore in 1958, but some years later, he began an affair with her sister Joan.  Dorothy announced then that she was leaving him for another man.  Reed reacted explosively.  The fact that he was bedding his sister-in-law made no difference, it was a case of "how dare she cheat on ME!"  He claimed she shook her violently and when he stopped, she was dead.  He informed Joan he had accidentally killed her sister, where upon he buried her body in the garden.  In a true state of grieving, she assumed her sister`s identity, and moved back to England with him in 1970.  But even this episode was not enough for Reed, and he soon started seeing another woman.  Joan knew that one wife had "disappeared" so there was no reason why history should not repeat itself.  She warned Reed that she turn him in so he decided to go to the Police and give himself up.

    He appeared at the Old Bailey in 1972, and on June 6th, he was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for 5 years.  The Jury accepted his version of events that the Death of Dorothy was an accident.  The most famous case of using superimposed pictures on bones to identify a person was in 1935, when Professor Robert Glaister proved that remains found, where that of the common-law wife of Dr Buck Ruxton.  He was hanged for the murder of Isabella, and also for the murder of his maid, Mary Rogerson.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Kidnap Gang Sent Down

Robert Collins was upset over a Bulgarian property deal and £40,000, involving the boyfriend of his own daughter, and decided to take matters into his own hands.  He had the man, Wasim Yaqub, abducted from his home in Upton Road, Kidderminster in August 2010, by a gang and taken away.  Mr Yaqub was first taken to a storage container in Coleshill, where they stripped him and then started severely beating him with hammers.  His extensive injuries included two broken ankles.  Not content with this, they moved him to another location the following day, where they proceeded to stab him.  Now he was bundled into the boot of a car, to be moved yet again, but a woman passer-by heard his cries and alerted Police.  The gang drove off before Police arrived and quickly dumped him.  He was found and rushed to the nearest hospital.  Police now made numerous arrests and the gang all faced charges at Worcester Crown Court.

    Robert Collins, 58, from Bewdley, received two & half years for Conspiracy to kidnap.
    Robert Watters, 47,From Castle Bromwich, three years for Conspiracy to kidnap.
    Tariq Mahmood, 41, from Castle Bromwich, Conspiracy, False Imprisonment & Grievous Bodily Harm, 17 years.
    Tehery Mahmood, 37, Stechford, False Imprisonment & GBH with intent,
    Paul Murray, 42, Birmingham, Conspiracy & False Imprisonment, 15 years.
    Steven Taylor, 37, Aston, False Imprisonment ,two & half years
    Un -named person for legal reasons, 17 years.

The Murder of Richard Deakin

This is the first of two forays into the Midlands Underworld, with the apparently motiveless murder of successful young businessman Richard Deakin.  Yet it cannot be motiveless when the mother of Richard, and the rest of his family receive threatening and abusive cards and letters.  One was a warning to let things by.  These items were handed over to Police.  The horrific murder of 27 year old Richard happened at his home in Chasetown on July 5th 2010.  The boss of a skip hire company was resting, whilst his partner took their children to school.  Two men gained entry to the house and shot him dead.  The Police investigation concentrated on the Wolverhampton and Bilston areas of the Midlands, which resulted in the arrests of two men aged 61 & 33, a year after the murder.  They were bailed later by cops.

    A rumour spread through the area that Richard was a Police informant, but Police firmly dismissed this claim as untrue.  They also stated that an incident just before the murder, in which a man was violently beaten and tortured at a spot in Chasewater, was not connected to Richard`s murder.  Earlier in the year, Richard suffered having his business destroyed by arsonists, and apparently was worried about something before his death.  His mother believes it was motivated by jealousy over his success as a young man.  Possible.  But to do what they did was extreme in regards to outright envy.  Could it have been that he was approached to launder money and he refused?  Laundering money usually means drugs.  It would explain the arson attack, and the shooting of him could have been a decision that he could have been very troublesome for them.  With the authorities.  More and more businesses are being used or targeted to launder money.  Villains now realise that you cannot put in your own bank and think "Nobody would think of looking there!"  That is moronic.  To do it properly, you need intelligent businessmen, bankers, lawyers, accountants, to carry it off successfully.  A businessman with brains would be ideal.  But most are not crooked.  I hope the Deakin family receive closure on this terrible tragedy.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The Nice Bank Robbery

There have been some bank robberies in which the felons patiently tunneled their way in, and were able to rob the contents at their leisure.  Conan Doyle used it as the basis for his Sherlock Holmes story "The Red Headed League" but it was in 1969 when British criminals carried out such a robbery, at a bank in Water Street in Liverpool.  Then in 1971, there was the robbery at Lloyds Bank in London, that produced the ridiculous claim of "compromising royal photos".  Then in 1976, the French had their own take on the crime, with the robbery of a bank in Nice.  The man that was alleged to have masterminded this crime was Albert Spaggiari born on December 14th 1932, and a thief from a young age.  He later joined the Army was involved in the Algerian War, and was supposed to have been a member or sympathiser for the OAS, a far right nationalist group, vehemently opposed to communism.  He settled down into a career as a photographer but was bored.  He said that he was inspired by a book, into tunneling into a bank in order to rob it.

    Towards the middle of 1976, he had a thirteen man team that was to go into the sewers and drill their way through at least eight metres or more of concrete.  He had been in the sewers conducting sound tests to see if the sound travelled enough to be heard.  He had his drillers work in shifts, and ran it with military precision, careful not to exhaust his team.  This took them two months of steady careful work.  They broke through on July 16th, and entered the supposedly impregnable vault of the Societe Generale Bank of Nice.  Over a period of six days, they plundered gold, jewels and cash worth 50,000,000 Francs or £24, 000,000 in todays currency.  They left a message on the wall stating that no violence was used in the robbery.  But despite no evidence for Police to go on, one man of the team was arrested and he soon told all to Police, resulting in the arrest of Spaggiari.  He repeatedly denied any knowledge of the crime but eventually admitted his guilt.  He said that the money was to fund an international movement but did not specify which one.  None of the haul was ever recovered.

    Spaggiari asked to see a Judge, to hand a document about his defence.  Suddenly, Spaggiari raced to an open window and leapt out, landing on a lorry parked below the window, and then onto the back of a waiting motorcycle, which sped off.  He was taken to Paris, and he was whisked out of the country, spending the rest of his life on the run.  He wrote a book about the crime and died in Italy on June 8th 1989.  Then in 2011, French Police arrested a well known criminal named Jacques Cassandri, after he wrote a book about the crime, saying he was fed up of all the credit going to Spaggiari.  He claimed he masterminded it and that Spaggiari was merely a small player in the crime.  Cassandri was safe because under French law, too much time had passed for him to be charged, but it did result in mass arrests, including his own family and a Politician from Corsica.  Marseilles gangster Tony Zampa was said to have helped in some capacity but it was never proven. There has been a number of films about the raid, including one British version called "Dirty Money" starring Ian McShane, Warren Clarke & Stephen Grief  

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Gaetan "Tony" Zampa -Marseilles Godfather

In this day and age there is a subnormal culture, particularly in this country, that any street peddling drug pusher harbours the delusions that he is a "gangster" and does his "best" to try to live up to it.  You do read and hear about the villains who have operated at the top , in some cases, for decades but there are those are the real deal.  In France, where the ferocity of the criminal world, has long put Britain`s to shame, particularly in Paris and Corsica.  The best known outside France, was Jacques Mesrine, killed in a Police ambush in the latter 70`s.  One of the so-called "Godfathers" in Marseilles was Gaetan Zampa or Tony Z.  

    This long operating & powerful gangster was the son of a pimp.  Not an inspiring start, but his criminal career took off when he took up his father`s trade; pimp.  He came to the notice of one of the Pigalle crime syndicates, the Trois Canards, where he proved his worth by being as violent as anybody, in his role as an enforcer.  He  rose through the ranks of the Underworld, and owned nightclubs, and was in direct competition with Gilbert Hoareau.  This former hairdresser had become a major name in the slot machine business until a ban on them was brought introduced in 1983.  He built up a nightclub business in competition with Zampa.  This suave club owner was thought to have been involved in numerous major crimes including the St Gerard`s Day Massacre at the Bar Du Telephone, the murder of an investigative magistrate, other killings and attempted killings, the Nice Bank Robbery, and even part of the French Connection. His end came when he was arrested, along with his wife, for tax evasion and fraud.  He agreed to a deal with authorities that allowed his wife to go free and he was sent to Les Baumettes jail, where the regime was very tough.

    The prison contained his biggest and powerfulest enemy, Francis Vanverberghe, and being in close proximity to this greatly feared villain, probably led him to take his own life on July 23rd 1984, by hanging himself in his cell.  His rival, Hoareau had been murdered in 1983.  After Zampa`s death, a deadly war broke out between the dead men`s associates.  Hoareau lost a son, brother and nephew in the ensuing war.

The West Bromwich Shootings

It is nice and reassuring for the authorities to release a mass killer after just fifteen years, and then years down the line, he is arrested for very serious offences.  But not only that, he had a new identity.  The news of the arrest of Harry Street, a man responsible for shooting dead 5 people and seriously wounding 3 others in 1978 in the West Bromwich area of Birmingham, was none other than Barry Williams.  How was he released so soon?  Simple.  He pleaded diminished responsibility and sent to Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital, and was obviously deemed fit for release by a Mental Health Review Board.  The fact that he had in total, 8 victims, obviously meant nothing.  A man like this should never have been released.  I was told a story that a man served 24 years for setting fire to a haystack!  No doubt a more dangerous man than somebody who guns 8 people down!

    The events began on October 26th 1978, when father and son George & Andrew Burkitt, were working on a car in their driveway.  Williams shot them both dead.  Then he entered the house and shot Iris & Gillian Burkitt.  Gillian survived, Mrs Burkitt did not.  Neighbours, Joe & Judith Chambers heard the shots as they both looked out from their house, they were hit by multiple gunshots from Williams, but they survived.  He sped off in his Ford Capri, through the Bustleholm estate firing indiscriminately.  Police flooded the area with officers but Williams had vanished.  He was heading in the direction of East Midlands, and upon reaching Nuneaton, he stopped at a garage to fill up his vehicle.  He shot the garage owner Lisa Di Maria dead, then shot her husband Michel.  He died later in hospital.

   The manhunt was widened, and his car was spotted on the Derbyshire Moors, which resulted in a high speed 30 mile chase, which was brought to a halt in Buxton, when chasing Police rammed his car and overpowered him.  He went on trial at Stafford Crown Court in March 1979.  He denied 5 murders and 3 attempted murders but pleaded to Diminished Responsibility.  He was to be detained indefinitely in Broadmoor.  But in 1994, he was discovered living in a hostel in the Birmingham area.  He had been deemed fit for release!!!!  A very understandable public outcry, led him to being moved to a residential home in Llys Merchion in North Wales.  Was here that it was decided to change his identity?  No doubt the locals would have screamed blue murder if they would have known his true identity.  I wonder if the Review Board are still proud of their decision to release him?