INTRIGUING DOCUMENTARY INSIGHT INTO THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE NOTORIOUS KRAYS

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RONNIE AND REGGIE KRAY

Kray twins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kray Twins:
Ronald & Reginald Kray

The Kray twins, Reginald (left) and Ronald (right), photographed by David Bailey
Born 24 October 1933 (both)
Hoxton, London, England
Died Ronnie:
17 March 1995 (aged 61)
Broadmoor Hospital, Slough, England
Reggie:
1 October 2000 (aged 66)
Norwich, Norfolk, England
Alias(es) Ronnie & Reggie
Charge(s) Murders of George Cornell and Jack “The Hat” McVitie
Penalty In 1969 both were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of thirty years.
Status Both deceased
Occupation Gangsters and club owners
Spouse Reggie:
Frances Shea (m. 1965–1967)
(her death)
Roberta Jones (m. 1997–2000)
(his death)[1][2]
Ronnie:
Elaine Mildener (m. 1985–1989)
(divorced)[3]
Kate Howard (m. 1989–1994)
(divorced)[4]
Parents Charles Kray and Violet Lee-Kray

Reginald “Reggie” Kray (24 October 1933 – 1 October 2000) and his twin brother Ronald “Ronnie” Kray (24 October 1933 – 17 March 1995) were the foremost perpetrators of organised crime in London’s East End during the 1950s and 1960s. Ronald, commonly referred to as Ron or Ronnie, most likely suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.[5] The Krays were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, violent assaults including tortureand the murders of Jack “The Hat” McVitie and George Cornell. As West End nightclub owners, they mixed with prominent entertainers including Diana DorsFrank SinatraJudy Garland and politicians. The Krays were highly feared within their social environment, and in the 1960s they became celebrities in their own right, being photographed by David Bailey and interviewed on television. They were arrested on 9 May 1968 and convicted in 1969 by the efforts of a squad of detectives led by Detective Superintendent Leonard “Nipper” Read, and were both sentenced to life imprisonment.

Ronnie remained in Broadmoor Hospital until his death on 17 March 1995, but Reggie was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000, eight weeks before his death in October from cancer.

Ronnie and Reggie Kray were born on 24 October 1933 in Hoxton, East London, to Charles David “Charlie” Kray, Sr, (10 March 1907 – 8 March 1983), a scrap gold dealer, and Violet Lee (5 August 1909 – 4 August 1982).[6] Reggie was born roughly 10 minutes before twin Ronnie. Charlie and Violet already had a six-year old son, Charlie Jr, (9 July 1926 – 4 Apr 2000).[7] A sister, Violet, born 1929, died in infancy. When the twins were three years old, they were struck down with diphtheria and recovered. Ron almost died from a head injury suffered in a fight with his twin brother in 1942.[edit]Early life

In 1938, having previously lived in Stene Street, Hoxton, the Kray family moved to 178 Vallance Road, Bethnal Green. At the start of the Second World War, Charlie Kray Senior was called up into the army, but went into hiding travelling the country as a trader and avoiding the law.

The twins first attended Wood Close School in Brick Lane and then Daniel Street School.[8] They were always trouble; people who knew them were too scared to say anything.

The influence of their grandfather, Jimmy “Cannonball” Lee,[9] led both boys into amateur boxing, which was at that time a popular pursuit for working-class boys in the East End. An element of rivalry between them spurred them on, and they achieved some success. They are said never to have lost a bout before turning professional at the age of 19.

[edit]National Service

The Kray twins became famous locally for their gang and the mayhem they caused. They narrowly avoided prison several times and in early 1952 they were called up for National Service with the Royal Fusiliers. They deserted several times, each time being recaptured.

While absent without leave, the twins assaulted a police officer who had spotted them and was trying to arrest them. They were initially held at the Tower of London (they were among the very last prisoners ever kept there) before being sent to Shepton Mallet military prison in Somerset and gaoled for a month awaiting court-martial. They ended up being gaoled in the Home Counties Brigade Depot gaol in Canterbury, Kent. Their behaviour there was so bad that in the end they were given a dishonourable discharge from the service; for the last few weeks of their imprisonment, when their fate was a certainty anyway, they tried to dominate the exercise area immediately outside their one man cells. They threw tantrums, upended their latrine bucket over a sergeant, similarly dumped a dixie (a large camp kettle[10]) full of hot tea on a guard, handcuffed another guard to the prison bars with a pair of stolen cuffs, and burned their bedding. Eventually they were discharged, but not before escaping from the guardhouse and being recaptured by the army one last time. The escape was executed when they were moved from a one man cell to a communal cell and they assaulted their guard with a china vase. Still, once recaptured and while awaiting transfer to civilian authority for crimes committed during their most recent period at large, they spent their last night in Canterbury drinking cider, eating crisps, and smoking cigarillos courtesy of the young National Servicemen who were acting as their guards.

[edit]Criminal careers

[edit]Nightclub owners

Their criminal record and dishonourable discharge ended their boxing careers. As a result, the twins turned to crime. They bought a run down local snooker club in Bethnal Green, where they started several protection rackets. By the end of the 1950s, the Krays were involved in hijackingarmed robbery and arson, through which they acquired a few clubs and other properties. In 1960 Ronnie Kray was incarcerated for 18 months on charges of running a protection racket and related threats, and while he was in prison, Peter Rachman, the head of a violent landlord operation, gave Reggie the Esmeralda’s Barn, a nightclub in Knightsbridge. This increased the Krays’ influence in the West End of London, with celebrities and famous people rather than East End criminals. They were assisted by banker Alan Cooper who wanted protection from the Krays’ rivals, the Richardsons, who were based in South London.[11]

The twins then had a turf war with Islington’s then infamous criminal twins, Brendan and Daniel Gallagher.

[edit]Celebrity status

In the 1960s, they were widely seen as prosperous and charming celebrity nightclub owners and were part of the Swinging London scene. A large part of their fame was due to their non-criminal activities as popular figures on the celebrity circuit, being photographed by David Bailey on more than one occasion; and socialised with lordsMPs, socialites and show business characters such as the actors George RaftJudy GarlandDiana DorsBarbara Windsor and singer Frank Sinatra.

“They were the best years of our lives. They called them the swinging sixties. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones were rulers of pop music, Carnaby Street ruled the fashion world… and me and my brother ruled London. We were fucking untouchable…” – Ronnie Kray, in his autobiographical book, My Story.[12]

[edit]Lord Boothby and Tom Driberg

The Krays also came into the public eye when an exposé in the tabloid newspaper Sunday Mirror alleged that Ron had had a sexual relationship with Lord Boothby, a UK Conservative Partypolitician.[13] Although no names were printed, Boothby threatened to sue, the newspaper backed down, sacked its editor, apologised, and paid Boothby £40,000 in an out of court settlement.[14] As a result, other newspapers were less willing to uncover the Krays’ connections and criminal activities.

The police investigated the Krays on several occasions, but the twins’ reputation for violence meant witnesses were afraid to come forward to testify. There was also a political problem for both main parties. It was neither in the interests of the Conservative Party to press the police to end the Krays’ power lest the Boothby connection was again publicised and demonstrated, or those of the Labour Party because their MP Tom Driberg was also rumoured to have had a relationship with Ronnie.[15]

[edit]Frank Mitchell

The Blind Beggar pub in 2005

On 12 December 1966 the Krays assisted Frank Mitchell (nicknamed “The Mad Axeman”)[16] (not to be confused with Frankie Fraser – known as “Mad” Frankie Fraser, and contemporaneous, but allied with the rival Richardson gang) in escaping from Dartmoor Prison. Ronnie Kray had befriended Mitchell while they served time together in Wandsworth prison. Mitchell felt the authorities should review his case for parole, so Ronnie felt he would be doing him a favour by getting him out ofDartmoor, highlighting his case in the media and forcing the authorities to act. Once Mitchell was out of Dartmoor, the Krays held him at a friend’s flat in Barking Road. However, as a large man with a mental disorder, he was difficult to deal with and the only course of action was to get rid of him. His body has never been found and the Krays were acquitted of his murder.[16] Freddie Foreman, a former member of The Firm, in his autobiography Respect claimed that Mitchell was shot and the body disposed of at sea.

[edit]George Cornell

Ronnie Kray shot and killed George Cornell in the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel on 9 March 1966. Ronnie was drinking in another pub when he heard that Cornell was in the Blind Beggar. Taking Reggie’s driver John “Scotch Jack” Dickson and Ian Barrie, his right-hand man, he then killed Cornell. Just before Cornell died, he remarked “Well look who’s here.” There had been a confrontation at Christmas 1965 between the Krays and the Richardsons at the Astor Club, when Cornell, an associate of the Richardsons, referred to Ronnie as a “fat poof“. However, Ronnie denied this and said that the reason for the killing was because he gave him and Reggie threats. The result was a gang war between the two, and Kray associate Richard Hart was murdered at Mr. Smith’s Club in Catford on 8 March 1966. Ronnie avenged Hart’s death by shooting Cornell. “Mad” Frankie Fraser was taken to court for Hart’s murder but was found not guilty. A member of the Richardsons claimed that he saw him kicking Hart. Cornell was the only one to escape from the brawl in top condition so it is likely that Ronnie thought that he was involved in the murder. Owing to intimidation, witnesses would not co-operate with the police.[17]

[edit]Jack “the Hat” McVitie

The Krays’ criminal activities continued hidden behind their celebrity status and “legitimate” businesses. In October 1967, four months after the suicide of his wife Frances, Reggie was alleged to have been encouraged by his brother to kill Jack “the Hat” McVitie, a minor member of the Kray gang who had failed to fulfil a £1,500 contract paid to him in advance by the Krays to kill Leslie Payne. McVitie was lured to a basement flat in Evering Road, Stoke Newington on the pretence of a party. As he entered, Reggie Kray pointed a handgun at his head and pulled the trigger twice, but the gun failed to discharge. Ronnie Kray then held McVitie in a bearhug and Reggie Kray was handed a carving knife. He stabbed McVitie in the face and stomach, driving it deep into his neck, twisting the blade, continuing as McVitie lay on the floor dying.[18] Several other members of The Firm including the Lambrianou brothers (Tony and Chris) were convicted of this. In Tony’s biography, he claims that when Reggie was stabbing Jack, his liver came out and he had to flush it down the toilet. McVitie’s body has never been recovered.

[edit]Arrest and trial

When Inspector Leonard “Nipper” Read of Scotland Yard was promoted to the Murder Squad, his first assignment was to bring down the Kray twins. It was not his first involvement with Reg and Ron; during the first half of 1964 Read had been investigating their activities, but publicity and official denials surrounding allegations of Ron’s relationship with Boothby had made the evidence he collected useless. Read tackled the problem of convicting the twins with renewed activity in 1967, but frequently came up against the East End “wall of silence”, which discouraged anyone from providing information to the police.[citation needed]

Nevertheless, by the end of 1967 Read had built up evidence against the Krays. There were witness statements incriminating them, as well as other evidence, but none added up to a convincing case on any one charge.

Early in 1968 the twins used a man named Alan Bruce Cooper who hired and sent Paul Elvey to Glasgow to buy explosives for rigging a car bomb. Elvey was the radio engineer who put Radio Sutch, later renamed Radio City on the air in 1964. Police detained him in Scotland and he confessed he had been involved in three botched murder attempts. However, this evidence was weakened by Cooper, who claimed to be an agent for the United States Treasury Department investigating links between the American mafia and the Kray gang. The botched murders were his work, in an attempt to pin something on the Krays. Read tried using Cooper, who was also being employed as a source by one of Read’s superior officers, as a trap for Ron and Reg, but they stayed away from him. See pages 215–222 and pages 250 and 279 of ‘Nipper Read, the man who Nicked the Krays’, by Leonard Read with James Morton. Time-Warner paperbacks, London, 1992. ISBN 0-7515-3175-8.

[edit]Conviction and imprisonment

Eventually, a Scotland Yard conference decided to arrest the Krays on the evidence already collected, in the hope that other witnesses would be forthcoming once the Krays were in custody. On 8 May 1968,[19] the Krays and 15 other members of their “firm” were arrested. Many witnesses came forward now that the Krays’ reign of intimidation was over, and it was relatively easy to gain a conviction. The Krays and 14 others were convicted, with one member of the firm being acquitted. One of the firm members that provided a lot of the information to the police was arrested yet only for a short period. Out of the 17 official firm members, 16 were arrested and convicted. The twins’ defence, under their counsel John Platts-MillsQC, consisted of flat denials of all charges and the discrediting of witnesses by pointing out their criminal past. The judge, Mr Justice Melford Stevenson said: “In my view, society has earned a rest from your activities.”[20] Both were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 30 years for the murders of Cornell and McVitie, the longest sentences ever passed at the Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court, London) for murder.[21] Their brother Charlie was jailed for 10 years for his part in the murders.

[edit]Imprisonment

On 11 August 1982, under tight security, Ronnie and Reggie Kray were allowed to attend the funeral of their mother Violet, who had died of cancer the week before, but they were not allowed to attend the graveside service at Chingford Mount cemetery in East London where their mother was interred in the Kray family plot. The service was attended by celebrities including Diana Dors and underworld figures known to the Krays.[22] The twins did not ask to attend their father’s funeral when he died seven months later in March 1983: this was to avoid the publicity that had surrounded their mother’s funeral.

Ronnie was eventually once more certified insane and lived the remainder of his life in Broadmoor HospitalCrowthorne, dying on 17 March 1995 of a massive heart attack, aged 61. His funeral on 29 March 1995 was a huge event with people lining the streets.

Reggie Kray was a Category A prisoner, denied almost all liberties and not allowed to mix with other prisoners. However, in his later years, he was downgraded to Category C and transferred toNorfolk‘s Wayland Prison.

In 1985, officials at Broadmoor Hospital discovered a business card of Ron’s, which prompted an investigation that revealed the twins – incarcerated at separate institutions – along with their older brother, Charlie, and another accomplice who was not in prison, were operating a “lucrative bodyguard and ‘protection’ business for Hollywood stars”. Documents released under Freedom of Information laws revealed that officials were concerned about this operation, called Krayleigh Enterprises, but believed there was no legal basis to shut it down. Documentation of the investigation reveals Frank Sinatra hired 18 bodyguards from Krayleigh Enterprises in 1985.[23]

During incarceration, Reggie became a born again Christian. After serving more than the recommended 30 years he was sentenced to in March 1969, he was finally freed from Wayland on 26 August 2000, at almost 67-years-old. He was released on compassionate grounds as a result of having inoperable bladder cancer.[24] The final weeks of his life were spent with his wife Roberta, whom he had married while in Maidstone prison in July 1997, in a suite at the Townhouse Hotel at Norwich, having left Norwich hospital on 22 September 2000. On 1 October 2000, Reggie Kray died in his sleep. Ten days later, he was buried alongside his brother Ronnie, in Chingford cemetery.

Elder brother Charlie Kray was released in 1975 after serving seven years, but returned to prison in 1997 for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine worth £69m in an undercover drugs sting. He died of natural causes in prison on 4 April 2000, six months before Reggie’s death.[25]

[edit]Personal lives

Despite negative cultural attitudes of the time, Ronnie was openly bisexual, evidenced by his book My Story and a confession to writer Robin McGibbon on The Kray Tapes where he states, “I’m bisexual, not gay. Bisexual.” He also planned on marrying a lady called Monica in the 1960s but was arrested before he had the chance. This is mentioned in Reggie’s book Born Fighter.[26] Reggie once had a one night stand with Barbara Windsor,[27][28] whose EastEnders character Peggy Mitchell was reputedly based on Violet Kray (e.g. her matriarchy over two thuggish sons)[citation needed].

In an interview with author John Pearson, Ronnie indicated a strong identification with Gordon of Khartoum, explaining: “Gordon was like me, ‘omosexual, and he met his death like a man. When it’s time for me to go, I hope I do the same.”[29]

[edit]Controversies

This section contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be clarified or removed(January 2011)

Some[who?] believe the Krays’ sentences were harsher than deserved and that they were made an example of.[30] The Kray twins were tried as separate, responsible adults, although it was argued[by whom?] that Ronnie dominated his brother and was a paranoid schizophrenic.[5]

There was a long-running campaign, with some minor celebrity support, to have the twins released from prison, but successive Home Secretaries vetoed the idea, largely on the grounds that the Krays’ prison records were both marred by violence towards other inmates. The campaign gathered momentum after the release of a film based on their lives called The Krays in 1990. Produced by Ray Burdis, it starred ex-members of Spandau Ballet brothers Martin Kemp, who played the role of Reggie, and Gary Kemp, who played Ronnie.

Some[who?] argue that Reggie’s several attempted murders, and the murder of Jack McVitie, were carried out as a result of Ronnie’s prompting, and to show that he was equal to Ronnie’s earlier murders. Reggie wrote: “I seem to have walked a double path most of my life. Perhaps an extra step in one of those directions might have seen me celebrated rather than notorious.”[31] Others, however, point to Reggie’s violent prison record when he was being detained separately from Ronnie and argue that in reality, the twins’ temperaments were little different.

Reggie’s marriage to Frances Shea in 1965 lasted eight weeks, although the marriage was never formally dissolved. An inquest came to the conclusion that she committed suicide in 1967,[32] but in 2002 an ex lover of Reggie Kray came forward to allege that Frances was actually murdered by a jealous Ronnie. Bradley Allardyce spent three years in Maidstone prison with Reggie and explained, “I was sitting in my cell with Reg and it was one of those nights where we turned the lights down low and put some nice music on and sometimes he would reminisce. He would get really deep and open up to me. He suddenly broke down and said ‘I’m going to tell you something I’ve only ever told two people and something I’ve carried around with me’ – something that had been a black hole since the day he found out. He put his head on my shoulder and told me Ronnie killed Frances. He told Reggie what he had done two days after.”[33]

When Ronnie spent three years in prison, Reggie is said to have turned the “firm” around, putting it on a sound financial footing, and removing many of the more violent and less appealing aspects, if not actually turning it legal. Some[who?] speculate that without his brother, Reggie could have turned the “firm” into one of the largest and most successful criminal organisations in Europe; however, the Kray business was always built on their reputation for savage violence, and it was Ronnie who was principally responsible. The twins were never able to cope well apart.[citation needed]

In 2009 a British television documentary, the Gangster and the Pervert Peer, was aired which revealed that Ronnie Kray was in fact a male rapist (commonly referred to in criminal circles as a “nonce case”). The programme also went on to detail his relationship with Tory Lord Bob Boothby as well as an ongoing Daily Mirror investigation into Lord Boothby’s dealings with the Kray brothers. [2]

[edit]In popular culture

This “In popular culture” section may contain minor or trivial references. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject’s impact on popular culture rather than simply listing appearances, and remove trivial references. (August 2011)

[edit]In film

  • Performance (1970), directed by Nicolas Roeg, featured a London gangster named Harry Flowers (played by Johnny Shannon) who surrounded himself with muscle magazines and rent boys; the character and his milieu were inspired by Ronnie Kray.
  • Villain (1971) starred Richard Burton as sadistic, homosexual London gang leader Vic Dakin, a character modelled on Ronnie Kray.
  • The Long Good Friday (1980) used the Kray Twins as inspiration for the protagonist Harold ShandBob Hoskins, who played Shand, reportedly received a letter from the Krays in prison congratulating him on his presentation of a London gangster in the film.

[edit]In literature

Many books address the Kray brothers’ reign including several written by one or both twins. Those most critically acclaimed include:

[edit]Books by the Kray brothers

[edit]Books by other authors

  • The Kray twins are mentioned frequently in Jake Arnott‘s first novel, The Long Firm (1999), wherein the main character, Harry Starks, is a fictional homosexual East End gangster in the 1960s who has a criminal career similar to the Krays’.
  • Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem entitled “The Kray Sisters”, in which she changes the story of the Kray twins into a women’s format. There are clear links to the original story, with characters in the poem such as “Cannonball Vi”, a clear mix of the twins’ grandfather and mother.
  • The Balvak Twins, who like the Krays, run organised crime in the West End, are recurring antagonists for Detective Sergeant Suzie Mountford in a series of police procedural novels by John Gardner. However, the Balvaks’ activities take place during World War II rather than the 1960s.
  • The Kray twins are mentioned in the second part of Tu Rostro Mañana, a novel by Javier Marías. One of the characters refers to them in order to explain why he carries a sword in his overcoat.
  • The Cult of Violence: The Untold Story of the Krays, by John Pearson (2002) – ISBN 0752847-94-5
  • The Profession of Violence: Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins, by John Pearson – First published in 1972 by Weidenfeld and Nicolson
  • In J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series, the main villain, Lord Voldemort is so feared that most wizards and witches refer to him as “You-Know-Who” or “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”. According to Rowling, this was inspired by the Kray twins’ very names being taboo.[35]
  • The Kray twins feature many times in Addict by Stephen Smith, a book about Smith’s struggle with drugs.
  • Charlie Bronson, “Britain’s Most Violent Prisoner”, became a trusted friend of the Kray twins in prison and wrote The Krays and Me: Blood, Honour and Respect. Doing Porridge With the Krays. He also included a poem about the Krays on the last page of his workout book Solitary Fitness.
  • Ghoul by Michael Slade makes many references to the Kray twins as British police officers struggle to solve a slew of homocides in London.

[edit]In music

A number of artists mention the Kray twins in songs:

[edit]In radio

  • In episode 3 of the sixth series of Old Harry’s Game, titled “Murderers”, the Kray twins are part of a symposium of murderers called together by Satan in order to get some insight into a murderer’s mindset. In an unwise moment of anger, Thomas Crimp calls Ronnie a “big Cockney poof”, which begins an attack on Crimp by the Krays and turns into a free-for-all fight forcing Satan to call for back-up.

[edit]In television

  • Ronnie Kray had a mention in series 2, episode 6 of The Armstrong and Miller Show in the song, “When You’re Gay”.
  • The Comic Strip team did their take on the Krays with Alexei Sayle in the role of both twins as the Moss Brothers, Carl and Sterling, in Didn’t You Kill My Brother?
  • The long-running TV drama EastEnders has featured a gangland organisation called The Firm. The characters Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell are modelled on The Krays, hence their names. As Reggie is a male name, it was changed to Roxy for the EastEnders role of one of the Mitchell sisters.
  • Kate Kray – the ex-wife of Ronnie Kray – showed the glamorous yet restricted lives of women who married gangsters in the documentary Gangsters’ Wives.
  • The time-travelling hero of Goodnight Sweetheart has several passing encounters with the Kray twins as children in East-End London of the 1940s.
  • In episode 3 of the second series of the BBC programme Monkey Dust, a minor character who frequently marries criminals, has her surnames read out in a marriage ceremony to Ivan Dobsky. Two of these surnames are “Kray” (among surnames of other infamous criminals).
  • The Krays were the inspiration behind the Monty Python “Piranha Brothers” sketch. This sketch was rooted in fact; even the tale of nailing someone to the floor is based on the murder of Jack “the Hat” McVitie, who was pinned to the floor with a long knife. Inspector Leonard “Nipper” Read became “Superintendent Harry ‘Snapper’ Organs”.
  • In the TV series Top Gear, during a challenge to decide the best van, each presenter was timed to see how long he would take to be caught by a police car driven by The Stig. Here, James Maywas called James Kray in light of the comical criminal challenge.
  • The British TV series, Waking the Dead, featured a two-parter called “Deathwatch” in which the cold-case detectives investigated a murder related to a pair of East-End gangster brothers from the early 60s called the Suttons, who were clearly based on the Krays: one was described as psychotic and the photos used to depict them were similar to those of the Krays.
  • In 1991, a children’s TV puppet show called The Winjin Pom featured two crow siblings called Ronnie and Reggie (the “Crows”) who were always after the goodies to steal their magical camper van named after the show title, but always failed.
  • Association with (or former association with) the Krays is also seen as a sign of prestige in many social circles, or an indication of Cockney authenticity. This attitude was spoofed in the British television series The Young Ones with Robbie Coltrane as a bouncer claiming “…and I was at Violet’s funeral”, a reference to the twins’ mother.
  • Whitechapel II, a 2010 ITV drama series in which supposed descendants of the Kray twins copy their crimes.[38]
  • Hale and Pace, a UK comedy double act, regularly performs as ‘The Management’ where they dress in the black suit and tie style of bouncers. Their conversations are delivered in a monotone stereotypical East London gangster accent. Throughout the dialogue they both refer to each other as ‘Ron’.
  • On the Final episode of The Inbetweeners, Jay tells simon that his dad is playing Poker with Danny Dyer and The Krays, which Will says Aren’t The Krays dead.
  • Reginald Kray was mentioned in “Russell Brand’s Ponderland S02E03 Education” in a joke as comparison to a school truant’s mother.
  • In Only Fools And Horses the Driscall brothers are portraited as the Kray twins.

[edit]In theatre

  • Peter Straughan‘s play, Bones, features a character who claims to be Reggie Kray and begins to heavily influence the actions of the other characters.

[edit]In video games

  • In The Getaway, a gangster named Charlie Jolson says that he used to run London “with real men like Ronnie and Reggie”.
  • In The Getaway: Black Monday Danny introduces Arthur, the cleaner of the operation, saying “He used to work for the Krays ya know.”
  • Grand Theft Auto Mission Pack #1: London, 1969 features a pair of twin gangsters named Albert and Archie Crisp who are a reference to the Kray twins.
  • Privateer 2: The Darkening features a mission in which the player has to deal with a pair of gangsters named the Bray Twins.

[edit]In science and engineering

For many years the British Met Office in Bracknell ran a pair of Cray-1 supercomputers named Ronnie and Reggie.[39]

FOR GOODNESS SAKE …LET MICHAEL JACKSON REST IN PEACE

MICHAEL JACKSON BEING RUSHED FROM HIS RESIDENCE TO HOSPITAL  ON JUNE 25TH 2009 AFTER COLLAPSING

He didn’t even have time to close his eyes: The final indignity for Jacko as jury at doctor’s trial sees shocking deathbed picture

 

  • Jackson’s personal physician Dr Conrad Murray is charged with involuntary manslaughter
  • Prosecutor shows jury photo of singer on gurney after his death and plays disturbing audio of him slurring a month before death
  • Accuses Dr Murray of delaying call to 911 as he tries to revive Jackson
  • Defence claims that Jackson killed himself
  • First witness, choreographer Kenny Ortega, says Jackson ‘wasn’t right’ during rehearsals
  • Tour manager Paul Gongaware says Dr Murray initially demanded $5million a year to care for performer
  • Jackson’s parents and siblings Janet, La Toya, Tito, Randy and Jermaine in court
  • Woman stopped as she rushes towards Dr Murray in courthouse corridor
  • Millions around the world expected to watch trial

 

 

The highly anticipated trial into the death of Michael Jackson opened with an extraordinary moment yesterday as the prosecutor started his opening remarks by displaying a photo of the singer’s dead body.

As Dr Conrad Murray appeared before the jury charged with involuntary manslaughter over Jackson’s death more than two years ago, deputy district attorney David Walgren displayed the picture that appeared to show tape or tubing over Jackson’s face.

But the doctor’s attorney Ed Chernoff told the jury it was the singer who caused his own death by swallowing a ‘perfect storm’ of drugs.

‘He died so fast he did not even have time to close his eyes.’ he said.

Outside the Los Angeles courthouse, fans of the King of Pop faced supporters of Dr Murray waving placards and banners at each other and passers-by. Inside, the whole Jackson family made their way into court for what has been billed as the trial of the century.

 

This photo of Michael Jackson stretched out on a gurney was shown to the jury on the opening day of the trial. His personal physician, Dr Conrad Murray, is charged with involuntary manslaughter

This photo of Michael Jackson stretched out on a gurney was shown to the jury on the opening day of the trial. His personal physician, Dr Conrad Murray, is charged with involuntary manslaughter

Landmark trial: Dr Conrad Murray, right, is charged with the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson
Landmark trial: Dr Conrad Murray, right, is charged with the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson

The trial of Dr Murray, right, will be followed by millions around the globe and TV bosses are expecting the biggest ever ratings for a court hearing

Later, the prosecution played a tape of a healthy-looking Jackson giving his last ever performance – a rehearsal of his hit Earth Song – recorded a day before he died.

The lights in the courtroom were turned off and the singer was shown on a screen performing the track at rehearsals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, just hours before he passed away.

Jackson’s mother appeared to be in tears watching the clip.

 

‘Michael Jackson’s death was a homicide,’ Los Angeles deputy district attorney David Walgren told the jury in opening statements.

‘The evidence will show that Michael Jackson literally put his life in the hands of Conrad Murray… Michael Jackson trusted his life to the medical skills of Conrad Murray.

‘The evidence will show that misplaced trust had far too high a price to pay… it cost Michael Jackson his life.’

But Dr Murray’s defence attorney Mr Chernoff told the jury that the singer caused his own death.

Dr Murray wiped tears from his eyes as Mr Chernoff said that the evidence will show that the singer swallowed eight, 2mg pills of Lorazepam and injected himself with a dose of propofol.

This ‘created a perfect storm in his body that killed him instantly,’ Mr Chernoff said.

Mr Chernoff said that Jackson, who was frustrated because he could not sleep and frustrated because his doctor refused to give him a drug that he wanted, ‘did an act that caused his own death’.

Emotional: The prosecution showed the court Jackson's last performance, a rehearsal of Earth Song, which appeared to bring his mother to tearsEmotional: The prosecution showed the court Jackson’s last performance, a rehearsal of Earth Song, which appeared to bring his mother to tears

Comparison: Prosecutors showed pictures of the singer before and after his death on June 25 2009Comparison: Prosecutors showed pictures of the singer before and after his death on June 25 2009

Visibly upset: Dr Murray breaks down and has to wipe away tears with a tissue as his defence attorney speaksVisibly upset: Dr Murray breaks down and has to wipe away tears with a tissue as his defence attorney speaks

Hearing: Dr Murray sits in the courtroom as he hears evidence in his involuntary manslaughter trial
Hearing: Dr Murray sits in the courtroom as he hears evidence in his involuntary manslaughter trial

Hearing: Dr Murray sits in the courtroom as he hears the evidence put forward in his trial

Disturbing audio: The prosecutor played Michael Jackson slurring and rambling over a month before his deathDisturbing audio: The prosecutor played a recording taken from Dr Murray’s iPhone of the singer slurring and rambling over a month before his death

DR MURRAY’S DEFENCE MISSPELL MICHAEL JACKSON’S NAME

Enlarge Michael JacksonAs Dr Murray’s defence attorney presented his opening statement, he put up a poster board with Michael Jackson’s name misspelt.

‘How did Micheal Jackson get to this point?’ read the first question on the chart shown behind Ed Chernoff.

The prosecution also made their own spelling mistake on the opening day of the trial. On a slide the word ‘pronounced’ was spelt without the second ‘n’.

‘He died so fast he did not even have time to close his eyes.’ Mr Chernoff said.

Jackson’s parents, his siblings Janet, La Toya, Tito, Randy and Jermaine were all at the courthouse in LA for the opening statements in the trial of the singer’s personal physician, who was the last person to see him alive.

In the prosecution’s opening statements, Mr Walgren insisted that the evidence will show that the ‘acts and omissions of Michael Jackson’s personal doctor Conrad Murray directly led to his premature death at the age of 50′.

Murray ‘repeatedly acted with gross negilience, repeatedly denied appropriate care to his patient Michael Jackson and that is was Dr Murray’s repeated incompetent and unskilled acts that led to Michael Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009,’ Mr Walgren said.

The prosecutor played disturbing audio recorded on Dr Murray’s iPhone of Jackson apparently under the influence of propofol a month before his death.

On the tape, Jackson sounded slurred and confused as he mumbled: ‘We have to be phenomenal… When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, “I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go.”‘

Mr Walgren said the audio was evidence that Dr Murray knew what was happening to Jackson and should have discontinued ordering propofol.

Resting place: The bed where the singer was found deadResting place: The bed where the singer was found dead

Protests: Demonstrators gather outside Los Angeles Superior Court during the opening day of Dr Conrad Murray's trial in the death of pop star Michael JacksonProtests: Demonstrators gather outside Los Angeles Superior Court during the opening day of Dr Murray’s trial in the death of the pop star

Mr Walgren attempted to paint a picture of the days leading up to the singer’s death.

On June 19 ‘Michael showed up for his rehearsal and he was not in good shape, he was not in good shape at all,’ Mr Walgren said.

‘He had chills, he was trembling… he was rambling.’

Kenny Ortega, the choreographer of Jackson’s proposed This Is It tour, expressed concerns about Jackson, but Dr Murray allegedly told him and others that Jackson was ‘physically and emotionally fine’.

‘Don’t let it be your concern, I am the doctor,’ Dr Murray allegedly said.

The prosecutor also laid out the order of events from inside Jackson’s house on the night that he died.

Mr Walgren accused Dr Murray of failing to call 911 as soon as he realised that there was something wrong with Jackson.

Dr Murray listens intently as his trial gets under wayDr Murray listens intently as his trial gets under way

He said that an emergency call was not made until 12:20pm, at least 24 minutes after Dr Murray is believed to have discovered Jackson unconscious.

The prosecutors claimed that phone records showed that Jackson was left unattended for too long.

‘It will be clear that Conrad Murray abandoned Michael when he needed help,’ Mr Walgren said.

‘It was Conrad Murray’s gross negligence, it was Conrad Murray’s unskilled hands and his desire to obtain this lucrative contract of $150,000 a month that led Dr Murray to not only abandon his patient, but to abandon all principles of medical care.’

Singer Janet Jackson and Randy Jackson arrive at the courthouse holding handsSinger Janet Jackson and Randy Jackson arrive at the courthouse holding hands

On trial: Conrad Murray arrives at court in Los Angeles for the first day of his manslaughter trialOn trial: Dr Murray arriving for the first day of the LA hearing

MEDIC WAS ‘ADORED BY JACKSON CHILDREN PRINCE AND PARIS’

He is the man accused of neglecting and killing their father. But Prince Michael and Paris Jackson actually thought that Conrad Murray was a ‘godsend’ who really cared for him, it has been claimed.

It is thought Prince could be called to the stand to give evidence. Sources quoted by U.S. gossip website RadarOnline said the 14 and 13 year-old had a high opinion of Murray before he alleged killed Michael Jackson.

Only later did they change their mind and come to the conclusion he was a bad man. If there is evidence to back this up it could hamper the testimony that the boys reportedly want to give.

‘Prince and Paris adored Murray and thought he was a godsend for their father,’ the source said. ‘It was only after their father’s death that they formed a subsequent opinion of him. Both Prince and Paris could take the stand and wind up providing evidence which supports the doctor.’

Should Prince give evidence he will tell the jury of the moment he saw his father lying dead on his bed as Murray tried to revive him. But he will also be open to cross examination by the doctor’s defence team who could seek to look back at instances in the past where they got on.

Mr Walgren also showed images of Jackson’s bedroom to show how medical monitoring devices typically used when someone is under anesthesia were not there or appeared unused.

A blood pressure cuff was still in a box and an oxygen tank had no oxygen, Mr Walgren said.

But as the defence made their opening statements, Murray wiped away tears as Mr Chernoff described the doctor and Jackson as ‘friends first’.

‘Dr Murray is no celebrity doctor. He is a cardiologist. He literally saves lives. That’s who he is,’ Mr Chernoff said.

He said that on the day he died, Jackson had told Murray that he not slept for 10 hours and that if he did not sleep he would not be able to rehearse and would disappoint his fans.

Dr Murray agreed to give him a 25 mg injection of propofol mixed with lidocaine.

Mr Chernoff said that such a small dose would ‘dissipate in ten minutes’.

He said that the amount found in Jackson’s body, more than 100 mgs, was consistent with major invasive surgery and was administered by Jackson himself.

Jackson ‘self-administered an additional dose of propofol and it killed him like that, there was no way to save him,’ said Mr Chernoff.

His death was a tragedy, he added, but Murray is not responsible. Murray is ‘not perfect… but in this criminal court, we believe he is not guilty,’ he added.

The evidence:

  • Choreographer Kenny Ortega says Jackson ‘wasn’t right’ at rehearsals
'Not stable': Choreographer Kenny Ortega said Jackson was not right physically or mentally‘Not stable’: Choreographer Kenny Ortega told the court Jackson was not right physically or mentally a week before his death

Jackson’s choreographer and friend Kenny Ortega, the first witness called, testified that the singer was in bad shape physically and mentally less than a week before his death.

He said he sent an email to Randy Phillips, producer of the ‘This Is It’ concert, telling him that Jackson was ill, should probably have a psychological evaluation and was not ready to perform.

‘It’s important for everyone to know he really wants this,’ he wrote. ‘It would shatter him, break his heart if we pulled the plug. He’s terribly frightened it’s all going to go away.’

In response to the email, said Ortega, a meeting was called at Jackson’s house where Ortega clashed with Murray, who told him to stop playing amateur psychiatrist and doctor.

‘He [Murray] said Michael was physically and emotionally capable of handling all his responsibilities for the show,’ said Ortega. ‘I was shocked. Michael didn’t seem to be physically or emotionally stable.’

Within a few days, he said, Jackson had recouped his energy and was full of enthusiasm for the show.

On June 25, Ortega received a phone call from producer Paul Gongaware saying an ambulance had taken Michael to the hospital.

Gongaware called later and told Ortega: ‘We lost him.’

  • Dr Murray demanded $5million a year to be Jackson’s physician

Paul Gongaware, who was managing Jackson’s This Is It tour, said Dr Murray initially demanded $5million a year to be the singer’s personal physician.

Gongaware, who worked with Jackson on his Dangerous and History tours, told prosecutors the singer made the specific request to have Dr Murray brought on board.

‘He wanted to hire Dr Murray,’ said Gongaware who is AEG Live’s Co-CEO, adding that Jackson called his body a ‘machine’ that needed to be taken care of.

Demands: Tour manager Paul Gongaware said Dr Murray initially wanted $5m to be Jackson's physicianDemands: Tour manager Paul Gongaware said Dr Murray initially wanted $5m to be Jackson’s physician

Gongaware told the court: ‘I didn’t know Dr Murray at all – and we were going to London. My preference would have been to hire someone who was licensed there. Who knew what was going on.

‘I called Dr Murray – to try to make a deal with him. He wanted to do it. I asked him what he wanted. He said that he had four clinics that he had to close, in Houston, Las Vegas, San Diego and Hawaii; that he would have to lay off people – so he said he needed $5million a year to do that.

‘I told him there was no way that was going to happen. Michael couldn’t afford it. I ended the negotiations.’

Jackson then brought up the issue again. His assistant, Michael Amir Williams, called Gongaware to tell him.

‘I heard Michael Jackson in the car saying, “Offer him 150, offer him 150.”‘ Gongaware took that to mean $150,000 a month.

‘I called Dr Murray. I said to him I’m authorised to offer you 150 a month,’ Gongaware said. ‘He said, “No I really couldn’t do it for that”. I cut him off mid-sentence and said, “That offer comes directly from the artist.” Without missing a beat he said, “I’ll take it.”‘

Gongaware also revealed that there were so many fans clamouring for O2 tickets that Jackson could have sold out his 50-concerts in London twice over.

Gongaware said Jackson was initially contracted to play 31 dates at the arena, a number chosen because of his long-time rivalry with the artist Prince.

‘Prince did 21 shows at the O2 and Michael wanted to do ten more,’ said Gongaware.

He said 10 shows were initially put on sale and they ‘sold out instantly.’ The number of concerts was eventually re-contracted for 50.

‘More than  250,000 people were still in the queue after the 50 shows sold out. That would have been enough to sell out another 50 shows.’

  • Tape of Jackson’s slurred and confused words

Prosecutors played an audio recording of the pop superstar slurring his words and talking about his upcoming concerts.

Prosecutor David Walgren told jurors the audio from May 10 2009, over a month before Jackson’s death, was retrieved from Dr Conrad Murray’s cell phone.

Jackson’s voice was unrecognisable on the recording. He was speaking slowly and Walgren described the singer as highly under the influence during the conversation.

It was the first time the audio was disclosed or played in public.

‘We have to be phenomenal… When people leave this show, when people leave my show, I want them to say, “I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life. Go. Go,”‘ Jackson is heard saying.

‘”It’s amazing. He’s the greatest entertainer in the world. I’m taking the money, a million children, children’s hospital, the biggest in the world, Michael Jackson’s Children’s Hospital,”‘ the singer is heard rambling.

Walgren used the audio to bolster his point that Murray should have known better than to continue giving Jackson the powerful anaesthetic propofol, which was cited as a cause of Jackson’s death.

  • Propofol: ‘The drug that killed Jacko’

Central to the prosecution’s case is that Dr Conrad Murray administered a lethal dose of the drug propofol to Michael Jackson on the night he died and then left the room, during which time the singer stopped breathing.

They charge that Murray gave the star a lethal dose of the sedative, which the singer frequently used as a sleeping aid, calling it his ‘milk’ which he needed for his nightly battle with insomnia. But prosecutor David Walgren told the jury that propofol is ‘not a sleep aid or a sleep agent, it is a general anaesthetic’.

He continued: ‘It’s a wonderful drug if used by someone who knows what he is doing, who knows the dangers as well as the benefits.’ It should under no circumstances be given outside a hospital setting.

Dr Conrad Murray did not mention propofol to emergency room doctors at UCLA Medical Centre when asked what pop star Michael Jackson had been given, according to the prosecution.

Drug: Dr Conrad Murray today starts his trial for the wrongful death of Michael Jackson who died of Acute Propofol intoxicationProsecutors allege that Murray gave the star a lethal dose of the sedative, which the singer frequently used as a sleeping aid, calling it his ¿milk¿ which he needed for his nightly battle with insomnia

In his opening statement, Mr Walgren told the jury that between 6 April, 2009, and the day of Jackson’s death on June 25, Murray ordered enough propofol to give Jackson 1,937 milligrams a day.

The prosecution then focused on the uses and settings for which propoful should be used, noting that it is an ‘improper treatment of insomnia’. Mr Walgren mentions the correct equipment that should be utilised when administering propofol – which is done intravenously – and the complications that can arise when this does not happen.

Testimony: District deputy attorney David Walgren gives his opening statement for the prosecutionDistrict deputy attorney David Walgren gives his opening statement for the prosecution

Defence lawyers claim Murray had been trying to wean Jackson off propofol and gave him only a minimal dosage.

They claim the singer, desperate for sleep, swallowed an additional dose of the drug when his doctor was out of the room.

Their theory is based on evidence that a trace amount of propofol was found in Jackson’s stomach.

Medical witnesses may be asked to explain how it could have been found in his stomach, as ingesting it orally is almost unheard of.

The drug is used to reduce anxiety and tension, and promotes relaxation and sleep or loss of consciousness. Propofol provides loss of awareness for short diagnostic tests and surgical procedures, sleep at the beginning of surgery, and supplements other types of general anaesthetics. Long-term use of the drug can result in addiction. The steep dose-response curve of the drug makes potential misuse very dangerous without proper monitoring.

Side effects of the drug include: difficulty breathing, wheezing, fast heartbeat, palpitations, seizures, uncontrollable muscle spasm and swelling or extreme pain at the injection site.

  • Jackson’s final hours

Prosecutors say that Murray made a number of phone calls between 10:20 and 11:51am the morning of Jackson’s death. He is believed to have discovered the star unconscious at about 11.56am but he did not tell anyone to call 911 until 12.20pm.

During his last phone call – to a cocktail waitress who Murray regarded as his girlfriend – he suddenly became silent and the phone went dead.

‘This is likely the time Conrad Murray first noticed Michael Jackson’s lifeless body,’ prosecutor David Walgren said.

The cocktail waitress made a statement that Murray stopped responding to her and then five minutes later the phone went dead.

Revealed: The court was shown pictures from inside Jackson's home. The centre images shows the last jacket he wore on his bathroom floorThe court was shown pictures from inside Jackson’s home. The central image shows the last jacket he wore lying on his bathroom floor

It was not until 12.12pm that Murray called Jackson’s personal assistant Michael Williams and left a message saying: ‘Call me right away, please. Please call me right away. Thank you.’ When Mr Williams immediately called Murray back he told him: ‘Get here right away Mr Jackson had a bad reaction, he had a bad reaction’, according to prosecutors.

He had yet to call 911 at this point.

Mr Williams then called security guard Albert Alvarez to go and investigate and he said that when he entered Jackson’s room, he was lying on the bed and Dr Murray was administering CPR.

According to the prosecution, Murray then ordered the security guard to grab a bag while he started grabbing vials and a saline bag hanging from the IV stand to put inside the bag.

That bag was later found inside Jackson’s home.

The rented Los Angeles home where the singer was found unconsciousThe rented Los Angeles home where the singer was found unconscious

Prosecutors also say the doctor ordered someone to clean up signs that Jackson had been receiving a variety of medications, including propofol, and that he improperly monitored Jackson’s vital signs, performed inadequate CPR and did not inform emergency medical personnel that he had given the singer propofol.

A recorded conversation that Murray had two days after Jackson’s death was played where Murray can be heard saying that he gave his patient a small dose of propofol and then left him for 15 minutes to go to the bathroom.

‘Then I came back to his bedside and was shocked because he wasn’t breathing,’ he says in the audio recorded on June 27. Prosecutors allege that he was gone for a lot longer.

At 12.30, paramedics arrived at his home and treated Jackson for 42 minutes before transporting him to nearby Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

He arrived at 1.14pm and a team of doctors tried for more than an hour to resuscitate him. He was declared dead at 2.26pm with members of his family by his side.

  • Jackson ‘killed himself after doctor tried to wean him off drugs’
Accusation: Dr Murray's attorney said that Jackson had given himself the propofol that killed him (file picture)Dr Murray’s attorney alleges that Jackson had given himself the propofol that killed him

Dr Murray’s defence attorney said that Michael Jackson gave himself the drugs that killed him because the doctor refused.

Ed Chernoff told the jury that Jackson did not die because of Murray’s treatment, but because ‘Dr Murray stopped’ giving him the drugs he demanded.

He said that when Murray started working for Jackson, the singer was already using propofol and said he could only sleep if he was given it.

Jackson said he had always taken what he called ‘his milk’ while on tour.

The defence attorney said that Murray had administered the drug because he was concerned about the drug and believed that the singer would find a way to get it anyway.

He said that Murray was trying to wean Jackson off propofol at the time of he death and that he had refused to give it to the singer on the day he died because it was the third day of the weaning off process.

Mr Chernoff said that Jackson swallowed 8, 2 mg pills of Lorazepam and injected himself with a dose of propofol, while Murray was out of the room.

This ‘created a perfect storm in his body that killed him instantly,’ Mr Chernoff said.

Outside court: People both for and against Dr Murray gathered by the courthouse in Los Angeles
Outside court: People both for and against Dr Murray gathered by the courthouse in Los Angeles

Outside court: People both for and against Dr Murray gathered by the courthouse in Los Angeles

Fans: Michael Jackson impersonator Goward Horton poses for the media outside the courthouseFans: Michael Jackson impersonator Goward Horton poses for the media outside the courthouse

Millions of people around the world are expected to watch as the trial gives a glimpse into final days of the King of Pop.

Crowds of people gathered at the Los Angeles Superior Court where there was a lottery drawn for seats for the opening statements.

Supporters of both Dr Murray, 57, and Jackson are outside the courthouse with signs including, ‘Fair trial for Dr Murray’ and ‘Doctors are expected to heal not kill’.

A woman had to be stopped by court officers as she rushed towards Dr Murray as he walked in a courthouse corridor. She reportedly said she just wanted to speak to the doctor, it is not clear if she has been detained.

The list of potential witnesses includes his eldest children Prince Michael and Paris, who have reportedly said that they want to take to the stand to testify.

Sister: La Toya Jackson arrives with a sunflower during the opening day of Dr Conrad Murray's trial

Sister: La Toya Jackson arrives with a sunflower during the opening day of Dr Conrad Murray’s trial

Relatives: The Jackson Family, including mother Katherine Jackson and father Joe Jackson, arrive at the Criminal Courts Building in Downtown Los Angeles
In court: Michael Jackson's father Joe arrives for opening statements in the trial

Relatives: The Jackson Family, including mother Katherine Jackson and father Joe Jackson, arrive at the Criminal Courts Building in Downtown Los Angeles

Brother: Jermaine Jackson arrives during the opening day of Dr Conrad Murray's trialBrother: Jermaine Jackson arrives during the opening day of Dr Conrad Murray’s trial

RATINGS WINNER: MILLIONS TO WATCH TRIAL ACROSS GLOBE

People around the world are expected to watch as the public hears for the first time from Dr Murray what happened in the events leading to Michael Jackson’s death.

The trial is expected to be attended by Jackson’s high-profile family, including his parents and sisters Janet and La Toya, and stars such as High School Musical choreographer Kenny Ortega, who is expected to be the first witness to be called.

Cable news networks are hoping that the court proceedings will be a repeat of the Casey Anthony trial, which proved a ratings success.

News network HLN, which saw record ratings during the trial of the Florida mother, is planning similarly exhaustive coverage of the case, including analysis from Nancy Grace, who has been thrust into the spotlight.

Medical examiners have determined Jackson’s death at the age of 50 on June 25 2009, at his rented Los Angeles mansion was due to an overdose of the powerful anaesthetic propofol and sedatives.

Prosecutors say Murray caused Jackson’s death by giving him propofol as a sleep aid, and failing to monitor him properly.

Murray denies the charge of involuntary manslaughter but faces a prison sentence of up to four years if convicted.

His defence team is expected to argue that Jackson was addicted to various painkillers and sedatives and gave himself the fatal dose of propofol, possibly by swallowing it.

Ed Chernoff, the lead attorney for Murray, said in closed-door arguments on Monday that Jackson, 50, was ‘desperate’ around the time of his death.

‘We think that Michael Jackson was involved in certain acts that ended his own life,’ Chernoff said, according to a court transcript.

The trial is expected to hear testimony from the paramedics who transported Jackson to the hospital, medical experts, Jackson’s choreographer and Murray’s girlfriends.

Celebrity attorney Mark Geragos, who once represented Jackson and has closely watched the criminal case against Murray, said that Jackson’s 13-year-old daughter Paris might also be called to testify, in what would likely be one of the most dramatic moments of the trial.

Defence: Dr Conrad Murray's attorney J Michael Flannigan arrives at the Los Angeles Superior Court during the opening day of Murray's trialDefence: Dr Conrad Murray’s attorney J Michael Flannigan arrives at the Los Angeles Superior Court during the opening day of Murray’s trial

Their say: Paris and Prince Jackson, pictured with younger brother Blanket at their father's memorial service, want to give their account of the day their father diedTheir say: Paris and Prince Jackson, pictured with younger brother Blanket at their father’s memorial service, want to give their account of the day their father died

Trial: Supporters at the late pop star Michael Jackson hold signs outside Los Angeles Superior CourtTrial: Supporters at the late pop star Michael Jackson hold signs outside Los Angeles Superior Court

WHO IS DR CONRAD MURRAY?

Dr Conrad MurrayThe 57-year old physician, who was the last person to see Michael Jackson alive, has been charged with the involuntary manslaughter of the singer on June 25 2009.

The doctor was hired by Jackson for a reported fee of $150,000 as he prepared for his 50 date concert series in London.

The Grenada-born cardiologist, who was educated in the U.S., first met Jackson in 2006 when he treated one of the singer’s children in Las Vegas.

In May 2009, he took leave from his practice and wrote a letter to his patients saying he was leaving ‘because of a once in a lifetime opportunity’.

Murray declined to offer public comment following the death of Jackson, but in August last year posted a YouTube video in which he said ‘truth will prevail’.

‘She not only has things to say, but she can say it in a compelling way,’ Mr Geragos said. Paris Jackson was at the house when the singer stopped breathing.

Jackson’s children, Prince Michael, 14, and Paris, 13, have both reportedly told their grandmother Katherine of their desire to want to testify.

But a source close to the Jackson family revealed to RadarOnline that the children have warm recollections of the medic, which could help the jury clear the doctor.

They wrote: ‘Prince and Paris adored Dr Murray and thought he was a godsend for their father.

‘It was only after their father’s death that they formed a subsequent opinion of him. Both Prince and Paris could take the stand and wind up providing evidence which supports the doctor.’

What could be even more damaging to prosecutors, however, is if the children are cross-examined about their father’s long-term drug use.

‘Prince and Paris knew their dad relied on Dr Murray to survive and knew their father adored him,’ the source said.

‘Their comments could save him from jail because it would work well in the eyes of a jury.’

The insider told RadarOnline that Prince, if he testifies, will tell the court what he saw when he walked into his father’s bedroom in the middle of his doctor’s doomed attempts to revive him.

Worldwide interest: Journalists position themselves outside the courthouse as the trial begins in Los AngelesWorldwide interest: Journalists position themselves outside the courthouse as the trial begins in Los Angeles

Crowds: Demonstrators for and against make their case as the involuntary manslaughter trial for Dr Conrad MurrayCrowds: Demonstrators for and against make their case as the involuntary manslaughter trial for Dr Conrad Murray

Murray has insisted Prince Michael and Paris were bundled from the room after the star’s daughter burst into tears and screamed ‘Daddy’.

Their aunt LaToya, who believes her brother was unlawfully killed, has said it would be good for the children to, ‘Get what is inside them, out of them.’

‘She feels it is a way for them to release the hurt,’ the source told RadarOnline. ‘She believes her brother was murdered and what Prince Michael and Paris could tell the jury, would inevitably help convict the doctor.’

Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket were all included on a potential witness list passed out to the jurors in an attempt to ascertain their familiarity with the family.

Death: Jackson was preparing for a 50 date concert at the O2 in London when he diedDeath: Jackson was preparing for a 50 date concert at the O2 in London when he died

Home: Jackson went into cardiac arrest at this rented house in LAHome: Jackson went into cardiac arrest at this rented house in LA

First on the stand: High School Musical director Kenny Ortega, who was choreographing Jackson's 'This is it' tour is expected to be called todayFirst on the stand: High School Musical director Kenny Ortega, who was choreographing Jackson’s ‘This is it’ tour is expected to be called today

Also listed were siblings Janet, LaToya, Jermaine, Marlon, Rebbie, Tito and Randy as well as parents Katherine and Joe Jackson.

The case is one of a small but growing number of U.S. criminal prosecutions of doctors for alleged malpractice.

Mr Geragos said he believes prosecutors could have a difficult time winning a conviction – and that a hung jury with no conviction or acquittal is more likely.

‘Jurors are loathe to convict doctors in this type of a situation,’ Mr Geragos said, adding that many times jurors don’t want to second-guess doctors.

The responses of the 12-person jury to written questionnaires made public last week shows that none of them reported having a negative experience with doctors.

At the time of his death, Jackson was readying himself for 50 planned shows in London called ‘This Is It.’

The first prosecution witness is expected to be High School Musical director Kenny Ortega, the choreographer who was hired to stage the London shows and who was conducting rehearsals with Jackson in Los Angeles.

THE 12 PEOPLE THAT WILL DECIDE WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO JACKSON

Juror No. 1: Mexican male, 51, U.S. Postal Service letter carrier, married father-of-five. A Michael Jackson fan who said he finds law enforcement officers, firefighters and doctors ‘always believable’.

Juror No. 2: Spanish female, 57, unemployed. Has served on five previous juries and closely followed the O.J. Simpson trial but said it did not affect her opinion of the criminal justice system. She does not consider herself a Jackson fan.

Juror No. 3: American male, 45, a partner in a management consulting firm. His wife is a former registered nurse, and both his brother-in-law and cousin are physicians. He has served on two previous juries, including a murder case in 1994.

Juror No. 4: American male, 32,  part-time bookseller and cashier. He served as a U.S. Army National Guard specialist as a telecom operator. His primary source of news is the Internet.

Juror No. 5: American female, 48, paralegal.  She watched the Casey Anthony murder trial ‘on and off’ because family members were interested was very interested but said it did not affect her opinion of the criminal justice system.

Juror No. 6: Cuban/Mexican male, 39, associate director of product management. He is an occasional reader of various Internet news and gossip sites. He considers himself a Jackson fan and owns various Michael Jackson, Jackson 5 and Janet Jackson CDs.

Juror No. 7: Mexican American female, 57, relocation representative in office management/customer service. She followed the Casey Anthony case and believes people of wealth or fame are treated differently in the court system.

Juror No. 8: Mexican male, 42, school bus driver. He believes Hollywood celebrities get away with crimes because of their status. He does not consider himself a fan of Michael Jackson but has a positive opinion of him.

Juror  No. 9: African American male, 54, television technical director. A Michael Jackson fan, he has served on two criminal juries and one civil jury.

Juror No. 10: English female, 43, international marketer but previously worked as a pathology/medical technician in a biochemistry lab.

Juror No. 11: Hispanic female, 36, customer service representative. She reads People magazine and TMZ.com and watches reality television. She was shot in a drive-by shooting in 1993.

Juror No. 12: American male, 54, retired animator now working as a teacher. He considers Michael Jackson a ‘gifted performer’ and has owned Jackson CDs and albums since he was a teenager.

Key players: The figures at the centre of the trial

Landmark trial: Dr Conrad Murray, right, is charged with the involuntary manslaughter of Michael Jackson

Dr Conrad Murray, defendant

A 58 year-old cardiologist who practiced in Las Vegas and Houston, Murray was hired as Jackson’s $150,000 a month personal physician roughly a month before the pop superstar’s death in June 2009.

Authorities contend Murray, who had financial difficulties before the singer’s death, administered a lethal dose of the anesthetic propofol mixed with other sedatives.

The doctor, who was never paid, has pleaded not guilty and faces up to four years in prison and will lose his medical license if convicted.

Chernoff

Ed Chernoff, defence attorney

A Houston-based defense attorney working his first high-profile case, Chernoff has been Murray’s primary defense attorney since shortly after Jackson’s death. He represented the doctor during a meeting with police during which Murray disclosed that he had given Jackson propofol. Prosecutors plan to use the statements against Murray during trial.

Chernoff has maintained that Murray did not administer anything to Jackson that should have killed him.

Walgren

David Walgren, prosecutor

A deputy district attorney in the major crimes division, Walgren is the lead prosecutor in the Murray case.

He has painted Murray as an incompetent doctor who initially tried to conceal that he had been giving the singer the anesthetic propofol without proper lifesaving equipment.

He was previously responsible for the district attorney’s effort to return director Roman Polanski to Los Angeles for sentencing in a three-decades old rape case. Switzerland eventually refused to extradite Polanski, which placed the case on hold.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

Jackson’s death at age 50 in June 2009 stunned the world and gave the entertainer, posthumously, what he wanted – a comeback.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in debt at the time of his death and his reputation still tarnished by unproven child molestation accusations, Jackson’s estate has gone on to earn more than $310 million.

Jurors won’t hear about his shaky finances or references to his alleged drug abuse, but they will see footage of some of the singer’s final rehearsals and hear from some of the people were with him in his final days.

Flanagan

J Michael Flanagan, defence attorney

A Los Angeles criminal defence attorney who specialises in drunk driving cases, Flanagan also has the distinction of winning an acquittal for a nurse accused of improperly giving propofol to a patient who died.

He represented Britney Spears in a driver’s license case that was dropped after a jury deadlocked on the case, and has dealt with numerous scientific and testing issues related to Murray’s defense.

Pastor

Judge Michael Pastor

A well-respected Los Angeles Superior Court Judge since 1983, Pastor is one of several judges who presides over the most serious criminal cases in Los Angeles.

He has previously handled a drunken driving case against actor Jason Priestly and a case against a man accused of stalking Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson.

He has consistently that Murray’s trial will focus on Jackson’s final days and hours and has prohibited the doctor’s lawyers from introducing evidence about the singer’s addiction or financial woes.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2042463/Conrad-Murray-trial-Michael-Jackson-dead-body-picture-shown-jury.html#ixzz1ZFG5hoGp

PC DAVID RATHBAND SHOT AT POINT BLANK AND BLINDED BY GUNMAN RAOUL MOAT ON JULY 4TH 2010

HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL WE FEATURE HEROINES AND HERO’S OF OUR BRITISH POLICE FORCE , UK SPECIAL FORCES , EMERGENCY SERVICES AND BEYOND . HOPEFULLY PROVIDING VISITORS WITH A HISTORICALLY INTRIGUING AND EDUCATIONAL INSIGHT INTO THOSE THAT SEEK TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY .

PERSONALLY SIGNED PHOTOGRAPH OF BLINDED PC DAVID RATHBAND  ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAILCLOSE-UP OF HANDWRITING AND SIGNATURE OF PC DAVID RATHBAND 

PERSONALLY SIGNED PICTURE OF BLINDED PC DAVID RATHBAND ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL
CLOSE-UP OF HANDWRITING AND SIGNATURE OF PC DAVID RATHBANDCLOSE-UP OF PC DAVID RATHBAND AFTER BEING SHOT BY RAUL MOAT ON THE 03RD JULY 2010

‘He got two shots… he was a bit of a mess’: Killer Raoul Moat’s sick boast after shooting Pc in the face

Callous killer Raoul Moat bragged how he left policeman David Rathband looking ‘a bit of a mess’ and then threatened to start killing innocent members of the public, his inquest has heard.

Moat, 37, shot and blinded Pc Rathband, 43, after blasting him twice from point-blank range with a sawn-off shotgun as the defenceless officer sat in his traffic car at a roundabout.

In a series of chilling Dictaphone recordings, later recovered by police from the makeshift camp he set up in the Northumberland countryside, Moat recalls the shooting of Pc Rathband.

‘I’m not fussed about not killing him,’ he says. ‘I didn’t think I had killed him anyway. I was going to go along and finish him off but that’s not the point. He got two shots.

‘At the end of the day he’s looking a bit of a mess.’

Pc David Rathband
Raoul Moat, from Fenham, shot himself in the head and was fired at twice during the stand-off by officers armed with shotgun Tasers

Attack: Callous gunman Raoul Moat, right, described victim Pc Rathband’s face as a ‘bit of a mess’, left

A handout video still issued by Northumbria Police of Raoul Moat during his stand-off with police in Rothbury, Northumberland, in July 2010A handout video still issued by Northumbria Police of Raoul Moat during his stand-off with police in Rothbury, Northumberland, in July 2010

Moat acknowledged the Pc was not one of the officers he accused of ‘pushing’ him.

‘The officers know who they are, some of the officers have gone into hiding,’ he claimed in the tape.

Moat also said he would ‘take the shoot-out’ rather than go back to jail, an inquest heard today.

The gunman was on the run from police following the shootings of karate instructor Chris Brown, his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart and Pc David Rathband when he made the vow.

In the message, the 37-year-old said he had lost the only two people who mattered to him – his grandmother and Miss Stobbart.

He said if he returned to jail he would have ‘nothing to come out to’ and that a shoot-out would mean ‘everybody’s happy’.

Raoul Moat, who died last year following a shooting spree in which he killed Chris Brown, and shot his former partner Samantha Stobbart and PC David Rathband
Former girlfriend of gunman Raoul Moat Samantha Stobbart

Conversation: Jurors listened to a recording of a telephone conversation Raoul Moat, left, had from Durham Prison to girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, pictured right today, on June 10 last year where she told him: ‘It’s over.’

Police officers photographed negotiating with fugitive Raoul Moat, circled, shortly before his death in Rothbury, West YorkshirePolice officers photographed negotiating with fugitive Raoul Moat, circled, shortly before his death in Rothbury, Northumberland
Police attempting to negotiate with Raoul Moat who shot himself in the head after a six-hour stand off Armed police attempting to negotiate with Raoul Moat who shot himself in the head after a six-hour stand off

The message was read out to the inquest at Newcastle Crown Court by Superintendent Jim Napier, the Northumbria Police officer in charge of the criminal investigation into Moat’s rampage.

He told John Beggs, cross-examining for Northumbria Police, that the recordings revealed Moat considered himself to have lost the only two adults he cared about.

In the message, Moat said: ‘If I went to jail now, I could hack it because I have lost everything and I have nothing to come out to.

‘I have come out and got my vengeance. I have set Sam up for life, financially at least. But it is not really what I want.

Raoul Moat, from Fenham, shot himself in the head and was fired at twice during the stand-off by officers armed with shotgun Tasers
Samantha Stobbart

Moat, left, killed his love rival Chris Brown, 29, in Birtley, Gateshead, in July last year, then blasted his ex-lover Samantha Stobbart, 22, right, leaving her in a critical condition

‘IT’S OVER’: THE CONVERSATION WHICH TRIGGERED MOAT’S RAMPAGE

Durham Prison

Moat had this conversation from Durham Prison, pictured right, with Samantha Stobbart

He is heard asking her ‘what’s wrong?’

‘It’s over’, she replies.

‘Over what?’, he asks her.

‘I’ve had enough,’ she replies.

‘Of what?’, Moat asks.

‘Everything,’ she replied.

Moat adds: ‘We had one argument the other day. Let’s not get all silly about it.’

He complains that ‘everybody is getting on my case’ and that he is being ‘picked on’.

The conversation ends with the phone being abruptly slammed down.

‘It would be a waste of a life and a waste of the taxpayer’s money. Just take the shoot-out and everybody’s happy.’

Mr Napier said he took the message as an indication that Moat was contemplating provoking a shoot-out with police.

He said this knowledge informed the police reaction to the gunman when he was cornered.

Nowhere in the messages was there any mention of Moat’s ‘estranged’ family – specifically his tax inspector brother Angus or uncle Charlie Alexander, a former artilleryman, both of whom were at the inquest today.

The killer’s best friend also told the inquest today that Raoul Moat’s ex-lover deliberately wound him up hours before he launched his murderous rampage.

In a phone call Samantha Stobbart told the 37-year-old she was seeing her new boyfriend that night, that she had a new hair-do for the date and asked if he was jealous about it, Anthony Wright told the hearing.

Coroner David Mitford asked: ‘Was she deliberately trying to wind him up?’

Mr Wright, who knew Moat for 14 years from working as doormen together in Newcastle, replied: ‘Oh yes, without a shadow of a doubt.’

Moat had heard while in prison that his relationship with Ms Stobbart was over, and she had told him her new man was younger and could knock him out.

Mr Wright told the hearing: ‘It was almost inevitable that when he got out of prison he was going to look for a straightener with this man.

‘If you knew Raoul it was like a red rag to a bull. I couldn’t work out why she was saying it.’

Barristers for the Moat family, the chief constable of Northumbria Police, West Yorkshire Police officers, and Pro-Tec Limited, the firm that supplied new shotgun Taser weapons, were in court.

The inquest, which is expected to last five weeks, will focus on the events in Rothbury on July 9 and 10 when Moat was found, the coroner said.

There will be questions about weapons used, how police managed the incident, how officers dealt with the dead man and how he acted, the jury was told.

Yesterday the inquest heard how Moat said he was ‘full of beans’ after shooting dead Mr Brown and injuring Miss Stobbart.

Jurors were also played a recording of a phone calls made by Moat from Durham prison in which he was told by Miss Stobbart: ‘It’s over’.

The hearing continues.

love letter from the gun maniac
Moat hid in this storm water drain just yards from villager's homes when he was trying to evade capture from the policeMoat hid in this storm water drain just yards from villagers’ homes when he was trying to evade capture by the police
Steroid addict Raoul Moat shot and blinded Northumbria Police traffic officer PC David Rathband
Chris Brown who was killed by Raul Moat

Steroid addict Raoul Moat shot and blinded Northumbria Police traffic officer PC David Rathband, left, and killed his love rival Chris Brown, right. He also critically injured Samantha Stobbart

Police officers from Northumberland Police Marine Unit search drains near to the scene where gunman Raoul Moat took his own life
Forensic staff at the scene of Raoul Moat's suicide at the riverside in Rothbury after evading capture for a week

Investigation: Police officers from Northumberland Police Marine Unit search drains near to the scene where gunman Raoul Moat took his own life, left, and forensic staff examine evidence at the scene of the suicide

RAOUL MOAT: TIMELINE

Thursday, July 1: Moat is released from Durham prison after serving 18 weeks for assault

Friday, July 2: Prison staff warn police Moat may want to harm Samantha Stobbart

Saturday, July 3: Moat shoots dead Miss Stobbart’s new boyfriend Chris Brown outside her home in Birtley, Gateshead and also injures her. Manhunt is launched for Moat

Sunday, July 4: Pc David Rathband is shot in his patrol car and critically injured. Moat rings officers claiming Miss Stobbart was having an affair with a police officer

Monday, July 5: Manhunt for Moat continues

Tuesday, July 6: Moat’s car is discovered in Rothbury, Northumberland and police flood the area setting up a two-mile exclusion zone. A letter written by Moat reveals his intentions to declare war on the police

Wednesday, July 7: Officers find a tent where Moat had been sleeping and another letter from him

Thursday, July 8: Police say Moat had made threats to the general public and two men were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and bailed

Friday, July 9: At 7pm Moat comes out from his hiding place and reporters watch as he lies on the ground with a gun threatening to kill himself. Police try to negotiate with him for six hours

Saturday, July 10: A gunshot is heard at 1.10am and Moat is declared dead after being rushed to hospital. Police said Moat appeared to have killed himself

Armed police stopped hundreds of motorists when they stood guard on the edge of Rothbury during the search for MoatArmed police stopped hundreds of motorists when they stood guard on the edge of Rothbury during the search for Moat
Police officers scoured the countryside for days in the hunt for missing Raoul Moat who went on the run after shooting dead karate instructor Chris Brown, 29, and maiming Moat's ex-girlfriend Samantha StobbartPolice officers scour the countryside in the hunt for Moat after he went missing following the shootings of Chris Brown and Samantha Stobbart
The man-hunt for Moat stretched for miles and went on for days and involved hundreds of police officers The man-hunt for Moat went on for days covering large swathes of the countryside around Rothbury and involved hundreds of police officers

MOAT: ‘I’M NOT COMING IN ALIVE’

The coroner said there would be questions about weapons used and how police managed the incident during the inquestThe coroner said there would be questions about weapons used and how police, pictured trying to negotiate with Moat, managed the incident

The inquest jury heard a recording of a telephone call Moat made in which he threatened to kill Northumbria Police officers.

In the five-minute conversation, made to a police call handler shortly before Moat blasted Northumbria Police traffic officer Pc David Rathband, the gunman said he was ‘not coming in alive’.

He said he had taken two hostages and would kill them and any police officer that approached him.

He said he was sorry he had injured his ex-girlfriend Samantha Stobbart, leaving her in a critical condition in hospital, but blamed police for ‘stitching him up’ and triggering his rampage.

He said he believed karate instructor Chris Brown was a Northumbria Police officer.

He says in the recording: ‘Hello there, this is the gunman from Birtley last night.

‘What I’m phoning about is, is to tell you exactly why I have done what I have done, right?

‘Now, my girlfriend has been having an affair behind my back with one of your officers.

‘This gentleman that I shot last night, the karate instructor, right, now I…

‘Youse bastards have been on to me, right, for years.

‘Youse have hassled us, harassed us, youse just won’t leave us alone.

‘I went straight six years ago when I met her and I have tried my best to have a normal life and you just won’t let up.

‘Youse won’t leave us alone for five minutes.

‘I can’t drive down the street without the blue lights flashing.

‘Youse have stitched us up for years; you have been in court, stitching us up, so the fact of the matter is, right…

‘She has had an affair with one of your officers.

‘If he had not been a police officer, I would not have shot him.’

Talking about his relationship with Miss Stobbart, he said: ‘I have had nothing but grief… But I have had a genuine relationship with her for six years, which is why we have stayed together, and I have gone straight.

‘I have had a totally legit life with her, I have opened a business, and I have been shafted.

‘You police have took too much off me over the years.’

‘Youse won’t leave us alone.

‘And now youse think you can take me missus.’

The call continues: ‘But the fact of the matter is I’m not coming in alive. Youse have hassled me for so many years. If you come anywhere near me I’ll kill youse. I have got two hostages at the moment, right – come anywhere near me and I’ll kill them as well.

‘I’m coming to get youse.
‘I’m not on the run.
‘I’m coming to get you.’

He continues by saying Miss Stobbart had changed while he was in jail.

The call ends: ‘Right. Now I have had enough. I have had enough of youse.
‘That jail made us unwell. I came out a different kid, y’knaa what I mean?

‘I lost everything through youse, right?
‘Youse just won’t leave us alone, right?
‘So at the end of the day, youse killed me and him before that trigger was ever pulled.’

Call handler: ‘Right.’
Moat: ‘Y’knaa what I mean?’
CH: ‘OK.’
Moat: ‘Youse are…’
CH: ‘We are trying to help you.’

Moat: ‘You’re not trying to help us, you’re not trying. Youse wanted me to do myself in and I was going to do it till I found out about him properly and what was going on – and as soon as I found out he was one of your officers I thought, ‘nah, youse have had too much from me’.

‘You will get your chance to kill us, right, you will get your chance to kill us.’

CH: ‘Right, we don’t want to do that, we don’t want to do that.’

Moat: ‘Aye, youse wanted me to kill myself but I’m gonna give youse a chance cos I’m hunting for officers now, right?’

CH: ‘No. Please don’t do that.
‘We don’t want any more killing, all right?’

Moat then hangs up.

AILEEN WUORNOS – THE DAMSEL OF DEATH

 Aileen Wuornos, nicknamed the Damsel of Death, spent 10 years on death row in Florida, after being convicted of killing six men when she worked as a prostitute on Florida’s highways in 1989 and 1990.

ABOVE IS A BRIEF INTERACTIVE INTERVIEW FOOTAGE OF HITCH-HIKING LESBIAN PROSTITUTE AND MAN HATER … AILEEN WUORNOS …. PRIOR TO HER EXECUTION…..INSANE?

ABOVE IS A BRIEF PICTORIAL INSIGHT INTO VARIOUS HANDWRITTEN AND SIGNED MURDERABILIA ITEMS FROM AILEEN WUORNOS HERE ON DISPLAY AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL

US-born highway hooker and serial man-killer Aileen Wuornos was put to death for a nine-month killing spree spanning north and central Florida.

The trail started on 1 December 1989 when a policeman found Richard Mallory’s abandoned vehicle. Just 12 days later the shop-owner’s bullet-ridden body was found in the undergrowth in a secluded wood.

Below is a brief interactive  background insight into the the life and crimes of former lesbian prostitute and serial killer Aileen Wuornos who was executed October 9, 2002 by Lethal Injection in Florida .

 

‘Damsel of Death’ executed
Aileen Wuornos in 2001 and 1991 (pictures from AP)
Wuornos said she “seriously hates human life”
A woman serial killer convicted of the murder of six men has been executed in Florida’s state prison.Aileen Wuornos, 46, died at 0947 local time (1347GMT) in the prison at Starke, after being injected with a lethal cocktail of drugs, according to a spokeswoman for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
Governor Jeb Bush
Governor Jeb Bush ordered the execution

Wuornos, nicknamed the Damsel of Death, spent 10 years on death row in Florida, after being convicted of killing six men when she worked as a prostitute on Florida’s highways in 1989 and 1990.

Her killings began with Richard Mallory on 13 December 1989, and ended in January 1991 when she was arrested in Daytona Beach, Florida.

She is thought to have killed eight men in total.

Wuornos originally claimed she had killed in self-defence, after being raped.

Click here to see the map of the killings

Several years later, she admitted planning the murders with robbery as her motive.

At her 1992 trial, State Attorney John Tanner described her as “a homicidal predator”.

“She was like a spider on the side of the road, waiting for her prey – men,” he said.

Rejecting appeals

In April this year Wuornos refused to go along with another appeal.

“I would prefer to cut to the chase and get on with an execution,” she wrote.

“Taxpayers’ money has been squandered, and the families have suffered enough.”

Wuornos became a celebrity, and books, a film and an opera were written about her case.

Last week, Governor Bush lifted a stay on her execution when a team of psychiatrists ruled that she was sane.

‘Election ploy’

Wuornos was abandoned by her mother as an infant, and her father was a convicted child molester who committed suicide in jail.

She became pregnant at 14, but had to give up the child.

In April, she wrote to the authorities: “I have hate crawling through my system.

“I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again.”

She is only the second woman to be executed in Florida after the re-introduction of the death penalty in 1976.

Opponents of the death penalty say her execution, and that of Rigoberto Sanchez-Velasco last week, are being used by Governor Bush to help his re-election prospects in next month’s poll for the post of governor.


Aileen Wuornos

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Aileen Wuornos

Aileen Wuornos mug shot
Background information
Birth name Aileen Carol Pittman
Also known as [1] Sandra Kretsch
Susan Lynn Blahovec
Lee Blahovec
Cammie Marsh Greene
Lori Kristine Grody
Born February 29, 1956[1]
Rochester, Michigan
Died October 9, 2002 (aged 46)
Florida State PrisonBradford County, FloridaUnited States
Cause of death lethal injection
Conviction 6 counts 1st degree murder
Killings
Number of victims: 7
Span of killings 30 November 1989–19 November 1990
Country United States
State(s) Florida
Date apprehended 9 January 1991

Aileen Wuornos (29 February 1956 – 9 October 2002) was an American serial killer who killed seven men in Florida between 1989 and 1990, claiming theyraped or attempted to rape her while she was working as a prostitute. She was convicted and sentenced to death for six of the murders and executed bylethal injection on October 9, 2002.

Childhood

Early Life

Wuornos was born as Aileen Carol Pittman in Rochester, Michigan, on 29 February 1956.[2] Her mother, Diane Wuornos, was 15 years old when she married Aileen’s father, Leo Dale Pittman on 3 June 1954. Less than two years later, and two months before Wuornos was born, Diane filed for divorce. Aileen had an older brother named Keith, who was born in February 1955. Wuornos never met her father, because he was in prison for the rape and attempted murder of an eight-year-old boy[2] when she was born. Leo Pittman was considered to be a schizophrenic, who was convicted of sex crimes against children,[3] was in and out of prison, and hanged himself in prison in 1969.[1][4] In January 1960, when Aileen was almost 4 years old, Diane abandoned her children, leaving them with their maternal grandparents, Lauri and Britta Wuornos, who legally adopted Keith and Aileen on 18 March 1960.[4]

At age 12, Wuornos engaged in sexual activities in school in exchange for cigarettes, drugs, and food. Aileen had also engaged in sexual activities with her own brother.[3] Wuornos claimed that she was sexually assaulted and beaten as a child by her grandfather. Aileen’s grandfather was an alcoholic. Before beating her, he would force her to strip out of her clothes.[3] In 1970, at age 14, she became pregnant,[5] having been raped by a friend of her grandfather.[3]Wuornos gave birth at a home for unwed mothers, and the child was placed for adoption.[4] A few months after her baby was born, Aileen dropped out of school[3] as her grandmother died of liver failure; and Aileen and her brother became wards of the court. When she was 15, her grandfather threw her out of the house; and she began supporting herself as a prostitute and living in the woods near her old home.[4]

[edit]Early criminal career

On 27 May 1974, Wuornos was arrested in Jefferson County, Colorado, for driving under the influence (DUI), disorderly conduct, and firing a .22-caliber pistol from a moving vehicle. She was later charged with failure to appear (FTA).[6]

In 1976, Wuornos hitchhiked to Florida, where she met 69-year-old yacht club president Lewis Gratz Fell. They married that same year, and the announcement of their nuptials was printed in the society pages of the local newspaper. However, Wuornos continually involved herself in confrontations at their local bar and eventually went to jail for assault. She also hit Fell with his own cane, leading him to get a restraining order against her. She returned to Michigan[7][8] where, on 14 July 1976, Wuornos was arrested in Antrim County, Michigan, and charged with assault and disturbing the peacefor throwing a cue ball at a bartender’s head.[9] On July 17, her brother Keith died of esophageal cancer and Wuornos received $10,000 from his life insurance. Wuornos and Fell annulled on July 21 after nine weeks of marriage.[10]

On 20 May 1981, Wuornos was arrested in Edgewater, Florida, for the armed robbery of a convenience store. She was sentenced to prison on 4 May 1982, and released on 30 June 1983.[11] On 1 May 1984, Wuornos was arrested for attempting to pass forged checks at a bank in Key West. On 30 November 1985, she was named as a suspect in the theft of a revolver and ammunition in Pasco County.[11]

On 4 January 1986, Wuornos was arrested in Miami and charged with grand theft autoresisting arrest, and obstruction by false information for providing identification with her aunt’s name. Miami police officers found a .38-caliber revolver and a box of ammunition in the stolen car.[12] On 2 June 1986, Volusia County, Florida deputy sheriffs detained Wuornos for questioning after a male companion accused her of pulling a gun, in his car, and demanding $200. Wuornos was found to be carrying spare ammunition, and a .22 pistol was discovered under the passenger seat she had occupied.[13]

Around this time, Wuornos met Tyria Moore, a hotel maid, at a Daytona gay bar. They moved in together, and Wuornos supported them with her prostitution earnings.[14] On 4 July 1987, Daytona Beach police detained Wuornos and Moore at a bar for questioning regarding an incident in which they were accused of assault and battery with a beer bottle.[15] On 12 March 1988, Wuornos accused a Daytona Beach bus driver of assault. She claimed that he pushed her off the bus following a confrontation. Moore was listed as a witness to the incident.[15]

After seeing Wuornos on television prior to her first trial, a 44-year-old born-again-Christian woman named Arlene Pralle felt compelled to contact Aileen. She claimed Jesus told her to do so. Pralle quickly became an outspoken advocate of Wuornos, speaking with her daily and claiming her innocence

[edit]Murders

  • Richard Mallory,[1] age 51, 30 November 1989—Electronics store owner in Clearwater, Florida. Wuornos’ first victim was a convicted rapist whom she claimed to have killed in self-defense. Two days later, a Volusia County, Florida, Deputy Sheriff found Mallory’s abandoned vehicle. On December 13, Mallory’s body was found several miles away in a wooded area. He had been shot several times, but two bullets to the left lung were found to have been the cause of death. It was on this murder that Wuornos would eventually be condemned.
  • David Spears,[1] age 43—Construction worker in Winter Garden, Florida. On 1 June 1990, his nude body was found along Highway 19 in Citrus County, Florida. He had been shot six times.
  • Charles Carskaddon,[1] age 40, 31 May 1990—Part-time rodeo worker. On 6 June 1990, his body was found in Pasco County, Florida. He had been shot nine times with a small-caliber weapon.
  • Peter Siems,[1] age 65—In June 1990, Siems left Jupiter, Florida, for New Jersey. On 4 July 1990, his car was found in Orange Springs, Florida. Moore and Wuornos were seen abandoning the car, and Wuornos’ palm print was found on the interior door handle. His body was never found.
  • Troy Burress,[1] age 50—Sausage salesman from Ocala, Florida. On 31 July 1990, he was reported missing. On 4 August 1990, his body was found in a wooded area along State Road 19 in Marion County, Florida. He had been shot twice.
  • Charles “Dick” Humphreys,[1] age 56, 11 September 1990—Retired U.S. Air Force Major, former State Child Abuse Investigator, and former Chief of Police. On 12 September 1990, his body was found in Marion County, Florida. He was fully clothed and had been shot six times in the head and torso. His car was found in Suwannee County, Florida.
  • Walter Jeno Antonio,[1] age 62—Police Reservist.[16][page needed] On 19 November 1990,[16][page needed] Antonio’s nearly nude body was found near a remote logging road in Dixie County, Florida. He had been shot four times. Five days later, his car was found in Brevard County, Florida.

[edit]Justice system

[edit]Apprehension and sentencing

On 4 July 1990, Wuornos and Moore abandoned Peter Siems’s car after they were involved in an accident. Witnesses who had seen the women driving the victims’ cars provided police with their names and descriptions, resulting in a media campaign to locate them. Police also found some of the victims’ belongings in pawnshops and retrieved fingerprints matching those found in the victims’ cars. Wuornos had a criminal justice record in Florida, and her fingerprints were on file.[4]

On 9 January 1991, Wuornos was arrested on an outstanding warrant at The Last Resort, a biker bar in Volusia County.[17] Police located Moore the next day in Scranton, Pennsylvania. She agreed to elicit a confession from Wuornos in exchange for prosecutorial immunity.[18] Moore returned with police to Florida, where she was put up in a motel. Under police guidance, Moore made numerous telephone calls to Wuornos, pleading for help in clearing her name. Three days later, on 16 January 1991, Wuornos confessed to the murders. She claimed the men had tried to rape her and she killed them in self-defense.[19][20]

On 14 January 1992, Wuornos went to trial for the murder of Richard Mallory. Prior bad acts are normally inadmissible in criminal trials; but, under Florida’s Williams Rule, the prosecution was allowed to introduce evidence related to her other crimes to show a pattern of illegal activity.[1] On 27 January 1992, Wuornos was convicted of Richard Mallory’s murder with help from Moore’s testimony. At her sentencing, psychiatrists for the defense testified that Wuornos was mentally unstable and had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Four days later, she was sentenced to death.[20][21]

On 31 March 1992, Wuornos pleaded no contest to the murders of Dick Humphreys, Troy Burress, and David Spears, saying she wanted to “get right with God”.[1] In her statement to the court, she stated, “I wanted to confess to you that Richard Mallory did violently rape me as I’ve told you; but these others did not. [They] only began to start to.”[1] On 15 May 1992, Wuornos was given three more death sentences.[1]

In June 1992, Wuornos pleaded guilty to the murder of Charles Carskaddon; in November 1992, she received her fifth death sentence.[1] The defense made efforts during the trial to introduce evidence that Mallory had been tried for intent to commit rape in Maryland and that he had been committed to a maximum security correctional facility in Maryland that provided remediation to sexual offenders.[22] Records obtained from that institution reflected that, from 1958 to 1962, Mallory was committed for treatment and observation resulting from a criminal charge of assault with intent to rape and received an over-all eight years of treatment from the facility. In 1961, “it was observed of Mr. Mallory that he possessed strong sociopathic trends”.[22] The judge refused to allow this to be admitted in court as evidence and denied Wuornos’ request for a retrial.[20][22][23]

In February 1993, Wuornos pleaded guilty to the murder of Walter Gino Antonio and was sentenced to death again. No charges were brought against her for the murder of Peter Siems, as his body was never found. In all, she received six death sentences.[1]

Wuornos told several inconsistent stories about the killings. She claimed initially that all seven men had raped her while she was working as a prostitute but later recanted the claim of self-defense. During an interview with filmmaker Nick Broomfield, when she thought the cameras were off, she told him that it was, in fact, self-defense, but she could not stand being on death row—where she had been for 12 years at that point—and wanted to die.[24]

[edit]Execution

Wuornos’ appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied in 1996. In 2001, she announced that she would not issue any further appeals against her death sentence. She petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for the right to fire her legal counsel and stop all appeals, saying, “I killed those men, robbed them as cold as ice. And I’d do it again, too. There’s no chance in keeping me alive or anything, because I’d kill again. I have hate crawling through my system…I am so sick of hearing this ‘she’s crazy’ stuff. I’ve been evaluated so many times. I’m competent, sane, and I’m trying to tell the truth. I’m one who seriously hates human life and would kill again.”[25] A defense attorney argued that she was in no state for them to honor such a request.[26]

Florida Governor Jeb Bush instructed three psychiatrists to give Wuornos a 15-minute interview. The test for competency requires the psychiatrist(s) to be convinced that the condemned person understands that she will die and for which crime(s) she is being executed. All three judged her mentally fit to be executed.

Wuornos later started accusing the prison matrons of abusing her. She accused them of tainting her food, spitting on it, serving her potatoes cooked in dirt, and her food arriving with urine. She also claimed overhearing conversations about “trying to get me so pushed over the brink by them I’d wind up committing suicide before the [execution]” and “wishing to rape me before execution”. She also complained of strip searches, being handcuffed so tightly that her wrists bruised any time she left her cell, door kicking, frequent window checks by matrons, low water pressure, mildew on her mattress and “cat calling … in distaste and a pure hatred towards me”. Wuornos threatened to boycott showers and food trays when specific officers were on duty. “In the meantime, my stomach’s growling away and I’m taking showers through the sink of my cell.”

Her attorney stated that “Ms. Wuornos really just wants to have proper treatment, humane treatment until the day she’s executed”, and “If the allegations don’t have any truth to them, she’s clearlydelusional. She believes what she’s written”.[27]

During the final stages of the appeal process she gave a series of interviews to Broomfield. In her final interview shortly before her execution she claimed that her mind was being controlled by “sonic pressure” to make her appear crazy and described her impending death as being taken away by angels on a space ship.[28] Wuornos said to Broomfield, “You sabotaged my ass, society, and the cops, and the system. A raped woman got executed, and was used for books and movies and shit.”[29] Her final words in the on-camera interview were “Thanks a lot, society, for railroading my ass.”[30]Broomfield later met Dawn Botkins, a childhood friend of Wuornos’, who told him, “She’s sorry, Nick. She didn’t give you the finger. She gave the media the finger, and then the attorneys the finger. And she knew if she said much more, it could make a difference on her execution tomorrow, so she just decided not to.”[31]

Wuornos was executed by lethal injection on October 9, 2002.[32] She was the tenth woman in the United States to be executed since the Supreme Court lifted the ban on capital punishment in 1976,[33] and the second woman ever executed in Florida. She declined a last meal and instead was given a cup of coffee. Her final statement before the execution was “Yes, I would just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back, like Independence Day with Jesus. June 6, like the movie. Big mother ship and all, I’ll be back, I’ll be back.”[1]

[edit]After death

After her execution, Wuornos was cremated. Her ashes were taken by Dawn Botkins to her native Michigan and spread beneath a tree. She requested that Natalie Merchant‘s song “Carnival” be played at her funeral. Natalie Merchant commented on this when asked why her song was played during the credits of the documentary Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer:

When director Nick Broomfield sent a working edit of the film, I was so disturbed by the subject matter that I couldn’t even watch it. Aileen Wuornos led a tortured, torturing life that is beyond my worst nightmares. It wasn’t until I was told that Aileen spent many hours listening to my album Tigerlily while on death row and requested “Carnival” be played at her funeral that I gave permission for the use of the song. It’s very odd to think of the places my music can go once it leaves my hands. If it gave her some solace, I have to be grateful.[34]

Broomfield later stated:

I think this anger developed inside her. And she was working as a prostitute. I think she had a lot of awful encounters on the roads. And I think this anger just spilled out from inside her. And finally exploded. Into incredible violence. That was her way of surviving. I think Aileen really believed that she had killed in self-defense. I think someone who’s deeply psychotic can’t really tell the difference between something that is life threatening and something that is a minor disagreement, that you could say something that she didn’t agree with. She would get into a screaming black temper about it. And I think that’s what had caused these things to happen. And at the same time, when she wasn’t in those extreme moods, there was an incrediblehumanity to her.[35]

56th murderer executed in U.S. in 2002
805th murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
10th female murderer executed in U.S. since 1976
2nd murderer executed in Florida in 2002
53rd murderer executed in Florida since 1976
2nd female murderer executed in Florida since 1976

Summary:
Between December 1989 and September 1990, the bodies of several men were found murdered along the highways of northern and central Florida, including Richard Mallory, Dick Humphreys, Troy Burress, David Spears, Walter Gino Antonio, Peter Siems, and Charles Carskaddon. Items belonging to Mallory and Antonio were pawned near Daytona Beach and the alias names used were traced to Wuornos through thumbprints left on the pawn shop cards. Wuornos confessed to the murder of all six men, claiming that she was picked up by the men when she was working as a highway prostitute, and shot them in self defense after they attempted to sexually assault her. Wuornos was convicted of the murder of Richard Mallory after a jury trial in Volusia County and was sentenced to death. At trial, the State was allowed to introduce similar crimes evidence about Wuornos’ commission of several other murders. While on death row, it was discovered that Mallory had previously served time for Attempted Rape. Wuornos pleaded no contest to the murders of the other 5 men and was sentenced to death in each case.

Within two weeks of her arrest, Wuornos and her attorney had sold movie rights to her story. Investigators in her case did likewise. The case resulted in several books and movies, and even one opera on the life of “America’s first female serial killer.” Wuornos’s father, Leo Dale Pittman, was a child molester and a sociopath who was strangled in prison in 1969. Wuornos was pregnant at age fourteen. Shortly thereafter, she dropped out of school, left home and took up hitchhiking and prostitution. Wuornos had a prior conviction for armed robbery in 1982.

 

Final Meal:
Wuornos declined the traditional last meal, which could have been anything she wanted for under $20, and instead was given a cup of coffee.

Final Words:
“I’d just like to say I’m sailing with the rock, and I’ll be back like Independence Day, with Jesus June 6. Like the movie, big mother ship and all, I’ll be back.”

 

THE BRUTAL REGIME OF ROBERT MUGABE – PRESIDENT OF ZIMBABWE

ROBERT MUGABE 

TORTURE VICTIM IN ZIMBABWE 

Robert Mugabe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Robert Mugabe
2nd President of Zimbabwe
Incumbent
Assumed office
31 December 1987
23 years, 249 days
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
Vice President Joice Mujuru
Simon Muzenda
John Nkomo
Preceded by Canaan Banana
1st Prime Minister of Zimbabwe
In office
18 April 1980 – 31 December 1987
President Canaan Banana
Preceded by Abel Muzorewa (Zimbabwe Rhodesia)
Succeeded by Post abolished
Morgan Tsvangirai (2009)
10th Secretary-General of the Non-Aligned Movement
In office
6 September 1986 – 7 September 1989
Preceded by Zail Singh
Succeeded by Janez Drnovšek
Personal details
Born 21 February 1924 (age 87)
KutamaSouthern Rhodesia
Political party ZANU-PF (1987–present)
ZANU 1963–1987)
ZAPU (1961–1963)
NDP (1960–1961)
Spouse(s) Sally Hayfron (Deceased)
Grace Marufu
Children 4
Alma mater University of Fort Hare
University of South Africa
University of London
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature

Robert Gabriel Mugabe (Shona pronunciation: [muɡaɓe],[needs tone] English: /muːˈɡɑːbiː/ moo-gah-bee; born 21 February 1924) is the President of Zimbabwe. As one of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power in 1980. He served as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987, and as the first executive head of state since 1987.[1]

Mugabe rose to prominence in the 1960s as the Secretary General of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) during the conflict against the white-minority rule government of Ian Smith. Mugabe was a political prisoner in Rhodesia for more than 10 years between 1964 and 1974.[2] Upon release withEdgar Tekere, Mugabe left Rhodesia in 1975 to re-join the Zimbabwe Liberation Struggle (Rhodesian Bush War) from bases in Mozambique.

At the end of the war in 1979, Mugabe emerged as a hero in the minds of many Africans.[3][4] He won the general elections of 1980, the second in which the majority of black Africans participated in large numbers (though the electoral system in Rhodesia had allowed black participation based on qualified franchise). Mugabe then became the first Prime Minister after calling for reconciliation between formerly warring parties, including white Rhodesians and rival political groups.

The years following Zimbabwe’s independence saw a split between the two key belligerents who had fought alongside each other during the 1970s against the government of Rhodesia. An armed conflict between Mugabe’s Government and dissident followers of Joshua Nkomo‘s pro-Marxist ZAPU erupted. Following the deaths of thousands, neither warring faction able to defeat the other, the heads of the opposing movements reached a landmark agreement, whence was created a new ruling party, ZANU PF, as a merger between the two former rivals.[5]

In 1998, Mugabe’s government supported the Southern African Development Community‘s intervention in the Second Congo War by sending Zimbabwean troops to assist the Kabila government.[citation needed]

Since 2000, the Mugabe-led government embarked on a controversial fast-track land reform program intended to correct the inequitable land distribution created by colonial rule.[6] The period has been marked by the deterioration of the Zimbabwean economic situation. Mugabe’s policies have been condemned in some quarters at home and abroad, especially receiving harsh criticism from the British and American governments arguing they amount to an often violent land seizure. Eventually a wide range of sanctions[7][8][9] was imposed by the US government and European Union against the person of Mugabe, individuals, private companies, parastatals and the government of Zimbabwe. In 2008, his party suffered a tight defeat in national parliamentary elections, but after disputed presidential elections, Mugabe retained presidential power with the signing of a power-sharing deal with opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara of the MDC-T and MDC-M opposition party.[10]

Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born near Kutama Jesuit Mission in the Zvimba District northwest of Salisbury in Southern Rhodesia to a Malawian father Gabriel Matibili and a Shona mother Bona, both Roman Catholic. He was the third of six children. He had two older brothers, and one of them, Michael, was very popular in the village. Both his older brothers died when he was young, leaving Robert and his younger brother, Donato.[11] His father, Gabriel Matibili, a carpenter,[12] abandoned the Mugabe family in 1934 after Michael died, in search of work in Bulawayo.[13]Early life

Mugabe was raised as a Roman Catholic, studying in Marist Brothers and Jesuit schools, including the exclusive Kutama College, headed by an Irish priest, Father Jerome O’Hea, who took him under his wing. Through his youth, Mugabe was never socially popular nor physically active and spent most of his time with the priests or his mother when he was not reading in the school’s libraries. He was described as never playing with other children but enjoying his own company.[12] According to his brother Donato his only friends were his books[14]

He qualified as a teacher, but left to study at Fort Hare in South Africa graduating in 1951, while meeting contemporaries such as Julius NyerereHerbert ChitepoRobert Sobukwe and Kenneth Kaunda. He then studied at Salisbury (1953), Gwelo (1954), and Tanzania (1955–1957). Originally graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Fort Hare in 1951, Mugabe subsequently earned six further degrees through distance learning including a Bachelor of Administration and Bachelor of Education from the University of South Africa and a Bachelor of Science,Bachelor of LawsMaster of Science, and Master of Laws, all from the University of London External Programme.[15] The two Law degrees were earned while he was in prison, the Master of Science degree earned during his premiership of Zimbabwe.[16]

After graduating, Mugabe lectured at Chalimbana Teacher Training College, in Zambia from 1955–1958, thereafter he taught at Apowa Secondary School at Takoradi, in the Western region of Ghanaafter completing his local certification at Achimota School (1958–1960), where he met Sally Hayfron, whom he married in April 1961.[17] During his stay in Ghana, he was influenced and inspired by Ghana’s then Prime Minister, Kwame Nkrumah. In addition, Mugabe and some of his Zimbabwe African National Union party cadres received instruction at the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute, then at Winneba in southern Ghana.[18][19]

Early political career

Main article: History of Zimbabwe

Mugabe returned to Southern Rhodesia and joined the National Democratic Party (NDP) in 1960.[20] The administration of Prime Minister Ian Smith banned the NDP when it later became Joshua Nkomo‘s Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU). Mugabe left ZAPU in 1963 to join the rival Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) which had been formed in 1963 by the Reverend Ndabaningi SitholeEdgar TekereEdson ZvobgoEnos Nkala and lawyer Herbert Chitepo.

ZANU was influenced by the Africanist ideas of the Pan Africanist Congress in South Africa[21] and influenced by Maoism while ZAPU was an ally of the African National Congress and was a supporter of a more orthodox pro-Soviet line on national liberation. Similar divisions can also be seen in the liberation movement in Angola between the MPLA and UNITA. It would have been easy for the party to split along tribal lines between the Ndebele and Mugabe’s own Shona tribe, but cross-tribal representation was maintained by his partners. ZANU leader Sithole nominated Robert Mugabe as his Secretary General.

In 1964 Mugabe was arrested for “subversive speech” and spent the next 11 years in Salisbury prison. During that period he earned three degrees, including a law degree from London and a bachelor of administration from the University of South Africa by correspondence courses. When Mugabe’s four-year-old son died, he was refused permission by Smith’s government to leave prison to attend the funeral.[12]

In 1974, while still in prison, Mugabe was elected—with the powerful influence of Edgar Tekere—to take over the reins of ZANU after a no-confidence vote was passed on Ndabaningi Sithole[22] – Mugabe himself abstained from voting. His time in prison burnished his reputation and helped his cause.[12] Following a South African détente initiative, Mugabe was released from prison in November 1974 along with other Nationalist leaders and having initially travelled to Zambia, where he was ignored by Kenneth Kaunda, returned then left once again in April 1975 for Mozambique assisted by a Dominican nun, where he was later placed in temporary protective custody by President Samora Machel. According to Eddie Cross who participated in interviews of the leadership at that time to determine their views on the “longer term future”, Mugabe’s political viewpoint was that “a new ‘progressive’ society could not be constructed on the foundations of the past [and] that they would have to destroy most of what had been built up after 1900 before a new society, based on subsistence and peasant values could be constructed”.[23][24][25]

Mugabe unilaterally assumed control of ZANU after the death of Herbert Chitepo on 18 March 1975. Later that year, after squabbling with Ndabaningi Sithole, Mugabe formed a militant ZANU faction, leaving Sithole to lead the moderate Zanu (Ndonga) party. Many opposition leaders mysteriously died during this time (Including one who allegedly died in a car crash, although the car was rumoured to have been riddled with bullet holes at the scene of the accident).[12] Additionally, an opposing newspaper’s printing press was bombed and its journalists tortured.[12]

Lancaster House Agreement

Prime Minister Mugabe departs Andrews Air Force Base after a state visit to the United States in 1983

Persuasion from B. J. Vorster, himself under pressure from Henry Kissinger, forced Ian Smith, the sitting prime minister at the time, to accept in principle that white minority rule could not continue indefinitely. On 3 March 1978 Bishop Abel MuzorewaNdabaningi Sithole and other moderate leaders signed an agreement at the Governor’s Lodge in Salisbury, which paved the way for an interim power-sharing government, in preparation for elections. The elections were won by the United African National Council under Bishop Abel Muzorewa, but international recognition did not follow and sanctions were not lifted. The two ‘Patriotic Front’ groups under Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo refused to participate and continued the war.

The incoming government did accept an invitation to talks at Lancaster House in September 1979. A ceasefire was negotiated for the talks, which were attended by Smith, Mugabe, Nkomo, Zvobgo and others. Eventually the parties to the talks agreed on a new constitution for a new Republic of Zimbabwe with elections in February 1980. The Lancaster Agreement saw Mugabe make two important and contentious concessions. First, he allowed 20 seats to be reserved for whites in the new Parliament, and second, he agreed to a ten year moratorium on constitutional amendments. His return to Zimbabwe in December 1979, following the completion of the Lancaster House Agreement, was greeted with enormous supportive crowds.

Prime Minister

President Robert Mugabe

After a campaign marked by intimidation from all sides, mistrust from security forces and reports of full ballot boxes found on the road, the Shonamajority was decisive in electing Mugabe to head the first government as prime minister on 4 March 1980. ZANU won 57 out of 80 Common Roll seats in the new parliament, with the 20 white seats all going to the Rhodesian Front.[citation needed]

Mugabe, whose political support came from his Shona-speaking homeland in the north, attempted to build Zimbabwe on a basis of an uneasy coalition with his ZAPU rivals, whose support came from the Ndebele-speaking south, and with the white minority. Mugabe sought to incorporate ZAPU into his ZANU led government and ZAPU’s military wing into the army. ZAPU’s leader, Joshua Nkomo, was given a series of cabinet positions in Mugabe’s government. However, Mugabe was torn between this objective and pressures to meet the expectations of his own ZANU followers for a faster pace of social change.

In 1983, Mugabe fired Nkomo from his cabinet, triggering bitter fighting between ZAPU supporters in the Ndebele-speaking region of the country and the ruling ZANU. Mugabe accused the Ndebele tribe of plotting to overthrow him after sacking Nkomo. Between 1982 and 1985, the military crushed armed resistance from Ndebele groups in the provinces of Matabeleland and the Midlands, leaving Mugabe’s rule secure. Mugabe has been accused by the BBC’s Panorama programme of committing mass murder during this period of his rule, after the show investigated claims made by political activist Gary Jones that Mugabe had been instrumental in removing him and his family from his farmland.[26] A peace accord was negotiated in 1987.[27] ZAPU merged into the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) on 22 December 1988.[28] Mugabe brought Nkomo into the government once again as a vice-president.[citation needed]

President

In 1987, the position of Prime Minister was abolished and Mugabe assumed the new office of executive President of Zimbabwe gaining additional powers in the process. He was re-elected in 1990 and 1996, and in 2002 amid claims of widespread vote-rigging and intimidation. Mugabe’s term of office expired at the end of March 2008, but he was re-elected later in 2008 in another election marred by allegations of election fraud and intimidation.

Mugabe has been the Chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe since Parliament passed the University of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill in November 1990.[29]

Gukurahundi

Main article: Gukurahundi

There were major outbreaks of violence between ZIPRA and ZANLA awaiting integration into the National Army. ZAPU was believed to have been planning an armed revolt to make up for ZAPU’s poor showing in the 1980 elections.[5]

Major arms caches were discovered in early 1982, and this caused a final rift between ZANU and ZAPU. Some believe that this was engineered by South African agents. South Africa’s policy of destabilising Zimbabwe by military means, while blaming ZAPU for the actions of South African agents, helped to escalate the breakdown between ZAPU and ZANU in the early 1980s. This in turn led Zimbabwe to retain a state of emergency throughout the 1980s.[5]

According to a report by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe’s Fifth Brigade killed between 3,000 and 3,750 people.[5]

Economy

Main article: Economy of Zimbabwe

During the 1980s Mugabe’s policies were largely socialist in orientation. In 1980 and 1981 the Zimbabwean economy showed strong growth of the GDP with 10.6% and 12.5%. From 1982–1989 economic growth averaged just 2.7% (1980–1989 average 4.47%). The white minority government maintained (with economic sanctions) from 1966–1972 a 6.7% average growth rate and overall from 1966 till 1979 a 3.8% average growth rate.[30]

Unsuccessful market reform attempts were started in the 1990s and the economy stagnated in this time. Since 2000, GDP has declined by roughly 40% in part due to land reform and hyperinflation.

On November 2010, the IMF described the Zimbabwean economy as “completing its second year of buoyant economic growth”.[31][32]

Social programs

According to a 1995 World Bank report, after independence, “Zimbabwe gave priority to human resource investments and support for smallholder agriculture,” and as a result, “smallholder agriculture expanded rapidly during the first half of the 1980s and social indicators improved quickly.” From 1980 to 1990 infant mortality decreased from 86 to 49 per 1000 live births, under five mortality was reduced from 128 to 58 per 1000 live births, and immunisation increased from 25% to 80% of the population. Also, “child malnutrition fell from 22% to 12% and life expectancy increased from 56 to 64. By 1990, Zimbabwe had a lower infant mortality rate, higher adult literacy and higher school enrolment rate than average for developing countries”.[33]

In 1991, the government of Zimbabwe, short on hard currency and under international pressure, embarked on an austerity program. The World Bank’s 1995 report explained that such reforms were required because Zimbabwe was unable to absorb into its labour market the many graduates from its impressive education system and that it needed to attract additional foreign investments. The reforms, however, undermined the livelihoods of Zimbabwe’s poor majority; the report noted “large segments of the population, including most smallholder farmers and small scale enterprises, find themselves in a vulnerable position with limited capacity to respond to evolving market opportunities. This is due to their limited access to natural, technical and financial resources, to the contraction of many public services for smallholder agriculture, and to their still nascent links with larger scale enterprises.”

Moreover, these people were forced to live on marginal lands as Zimbabwe’s best lands were reserved for mainly white landlords growing cash crops for export, a sector of the economy favoured by the IMF’s plan. For the poor on the communal lands, “existing levels of production in these areas are now threatened by the environmental fragility of the natural resource base and the unsustainability of existing farming practices”.[33] The International Monetary Fund later suspended aid, saying reforms were “not on track.”

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), life expectancy at birth for Zimbabwean men has since become 37 years and is 34 years for women, the lowest such figures for any nation.[34] The World Bank’s 1995 report predicted this decline in life expectancy from its 1990 height of 64 years when, commenting on health care system cuts mandated by the IMF structural adjustment programme, it stated that “The decline in resources is creating strains and threatening the sustainability of health sector achievements”.[33]

While Zimbabwe has suffered in many other measures under Mugabe, as a former schoolteacher he has been well known for his commitment to education.[12] As of 2008, Zimbabwe had a literacy rateof 90%, the highest in Africa.[35] However, Catholic Archbishop of Zimbabwe Pius Ncube decried the educational situation in the country, saying, among other scathing indictments of Mugabe, “We had the best education in Africa and now our schools are closing”.[36]

Prior to its suspension in 2009, the Zimbabwe dollar had suffered from the second-highest hyperinflation rate of any currency in modern times.[37]

Racism

A number of people have accused Mugabe of having a racist attitude towards white people. John Sentamu, a Uganda-born Archbishop of York in the United Kingdom, calls Mugabe “the worst kind of racist dictator,” for having “targeted the whites for their apparent riches”.[38] Almost thirty years after ending white-minority rule in Zimbabwe, Mugabe accuses the United Kingdom and the United States of promoting white imperialism and regularly accuses opposition figures to his government of being allies of white imperialism.[39][40]

When the United Kingdom once condemned Mugabe’s authoritarian policies and alleged racist attitudes as being comparable to those of German Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, Mugabe responded with an extremely controversial remark, mocking the UK’s claims by saying about himself and his policies that “I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective, justice for his own people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people, and their right to their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold.”[41]

Views on homosexuality

Mugabe has been uncompromising in his opposition to homosexuality. In September 1995, Zimbabwe’s parliament introduced legislation banning homosexual acts.[42] In 1997, a court found Canaan Banana, Mugabe’s predecessor and the first President of Zimbabwe, guilty of 11 counts of sodomy and indecent assault.[43]

Second Congo War

Mugabe was blamed for Zimbabwe’s participation in the Second Congo War in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. At a time when the Zimbabwean economy was struggling, Zimbabwe responded to a call by the Southern African Development Community to help the struggling regime in Kinshasa. The Democratic Republic of the Congo had been invaded by Rwanda and Uganda, both of which claimed that their civilians, and regional stability, were under constant threat of attack by Rwandan Hutu militiamen based in the Congo.[44]

However, the Congolese government, as well as international commentators, charged that the motive for the invasion was to grab the rich mineral resources of eastern Congo.[45][46] The war raised accusations of corruption, with officials alleged to be plundering the Congo’s mineral reserves. Mugabe’s defence minister Moven Mahachi said, “Instead of our army in the DRC burdening the treasury for more resources, which are not available, it embarks on viable projects for the sake of generating the necessary revenue”.[47]

Land reform

When Zimbabwe gained independence, 46.5% of the country’s arable land was owned by around 6,000 commercial farmers[48] and white farmers, who made up less than 1% of the population, owned 70% of the best farming land.[49] Mugabe accepted a “willing buyer, willing seller” plan as part of the Lancaster House Agreement of 1979, among other concessions to the white minority.[50] As part of this agreement, land redistribution was blocked for a period of 10 years.[51]

In 1997, the new British government led by Tony Blair unilaterally stopped funding the “willing buyer, willing seller” land reform programme on the basis that the initial £44 million allocated under theThatcher government was used to purchase land for members of the ruling elite rather than landless peasants. Furthermore, Britain’s ruling Labour Party felt no obligation to continue paying white farmers compensation, or in minister Clare Short‘s words, “I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe. We are a new Government from diverse backgrounds without links to former colonial interests. My own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers”.[52]

Some commentators, such as Matthew Sweet in The Independent, hold Cecil Rhodes ultimately responsible:

… It was Cecil Rhodes who originated the racist ‘land grabs’ to which Zimbabwe’s current miseries can ultimately be traced. It was Rhodes who in 1887 told the House Of Assembly in Cape Town, South Africa that ‘the native is to be treated as a child and denied the franchise. We must adopt a system of despotism in our relations with the barbarians of Southern Africa’.[53]

According to Sweet, “In less oratorical moments, he put it even more bluntly: ‘I prefer land to niggers.’”

From 12 to 13 February 2000, a referendum on constitutional amendments was held. The proposed amendments would have limited future presidents to two terms, but as it was not retroactive, Mugabe could have stood for another two terms. It also would have made his government and military officials immune from prosecution for any illegal acts committed while in office. In addition, it allowed the government to confiscate white-owned land for redistribution to black farmers without compensation. The motion failed with 55% of participants against the referendum.[54]

The referendum had a 20% turnout fuelled by an effective SMS campaign. Mugabe declared that he would “abide by the will of the people”. The vote was a surprise to ZANU-PF, and an embarrassment before parliamentary elections due in mid-April. Almost immediately, self-styled “war veterans”, led by Chenjerai ‘Hitler’ Hunzvi, began invading white-owned farms. Those who did not leave voluntarily were often tortured and sometimes killed. One was forced to drink diesel fuel as a form of torture.[55] On 6 April 2000, Parliament pushed through an amendment, taken word for word from the draft constitution that was rejected by voters, allowing the seizure of white-owned farmlands without due reimbursement or payment.[56]

On 8 December 2003, in protest against a further 18 months of suspension from the Commonwealth of Nations (thereby cutting foreign aid to Zimbabwe), Mugabe withdrew his country from the Commonwealth. Mugabe informed the leaders of Jamaica, Nigeria and South Africa of his decision when they telephoned him to discuss the situation. Zimbabwe’s government said the President did not accept the Commonwealth’s position, and was leaving the group.[57]

The United Nations provoked anger when its Food and Agriculture Organisation invited Mugabe to speak at a celebration of its 60th anniversary in Rome. Critics of the move argued that since Mugabe could not feed his own people without the UN’s support, he was an inappropriate speaker for the group, which has a mission statement of “helping to build a world without hunger”.[58]

In 2005, Mugabe ordered a raid conducted on what the government termed “illegal shelters” in Harare, resulting in 10,000 urban poor being left homeless from “Operation Murambatsvina (English: Operation Drive Out the Rubbish).” The authorities themselves had moved the poor inhabitants to the area in 1992, telling them not to build permanent homes and that their new homes were temporary, leading the inhabitants to build their own temporary shelters out of cardboard and wood.[59] Since the inhabitants of the shantytowns overwhelmingly supported the Movement for Democratic Change opposition party in the previous election, many alleged that the mass bulldozing was politically motivated.[59] The UK’s Daily Telegraph noted that Mugabe’s “latest palace,” in the style of a pagoda, was located a mile from the destroyed shelters.[59] The UN released a report stating that the actions of Mugabe resulted in the loss of home or livelihood for more than 700,000 Zimbabweans and negatively affected 2.4 million more.[58]

As of September 2006, Mugabe’s family owns three farms: Highfield Estate in Norton, 45 km west of HarareIron Mask Estate in Mazowe, about 40 km from Harare, and Foyle Farm in Mazowe, formerly owned by Ian Webster and adjacent to Iron Mask Farm, renamed to Gushungo Farm after Mugabe’s own clan name.[60] These farms were seized forcibly from their previous owners.[61]

Mugabe blames the food shortages on drought and the cumulative effect of sanctions imposed against the country.

In November 2010 the Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University in England released a comprehensive study on the effects of Zimbabwean land reform. The study suggested that the consequences were mixed but that previous claims that the reform was a failure, that its primary recipients were political “cronies” or that it caused rural collapse were unfounded. One of the study’s authors, Professor Ian Scoones, stated: “What comes through from our research is the complexity, the differences in experience, almost farm by farm; there is no single, simple story of the Zimbabwe land reform as sometimes assumed by press reports, political commentators, or indeed much academic study”.[62]

Elections

In April 1979, 64% of the black citizens of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) lined up at the polls to vote in the first democratic election in the history of that southern African nation. Two-thirds of them supported Abel Muzorewa, a bishop in the United Methodist Church. He was the first black prime minister of a country only 4% white. Muzorewa’s victory put an end to the 14-year political odyssey of outgoing prime minister Ian Smith, who had infamously announced in 1976, “I do not believe in black majority rule—not in a thousand years.”

Less than a year after Muzorewa’s victory, however, in February 1980, another election was held in Zimbabwe. This time, Robert Mugabe, the Marxist who had fought a seven-year guerilla war against Rhodesia’s white-led government, won 64% of the vote, after a campaign marked by widespread intimidation, outright violence, and Mugabe’s threat to continue the civil war if he lost. Mugabe became prime minister and was toasted by the international community and media as a new sort of African leader.

Mugabe has continued to win elections, although frequently these have been criticised by outsiders for violating various electoral procedures.

Mugabe faced Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in presidential elections in March 2002.[63] Mugabe defeated Tsvangirai by 56.2% to 41.9% amid violence and the prevention of large numbers of citizens in urban areas from voting. The conduct of the elections was widely viewed internationally as having been manipulated.[64][65] Many groups, such as the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, and Tsvangirai’s party, assert that the result was rigged.[63]

Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party won the 2005 parliamentary elections with an increased majority. The elections were said by (again) South African observers to “reflect the free will of the people of Zimbabwe”, despite accusations of widespread fraud from the MDC.[66]

On 6 February 2007, Mugabe orchestrated a cabinet reshuffle, ousting ministers including five-year veteran finance minister Herbert Murerwa.[67]

On 11 March 2007, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested and beaten following a prayer meeting in the Harare suburb of Highfields. Another member of the Movement for Democratic Change was killed while other protesters were injured.[68] Mugabe claimed that “Tsvangirai deserved his beating-up by police because he was not allowed to attend a banned rally” on 30 March 2007.[69]

General elections 2008

Mugabe launched his election campaign on his birthday in Beitbridge, a small town on the border with South Africa on 23 February 2008 by denouncing both the opposition MDC and Simba Makoni‘s candidacy. He was quoted in the state media as saying: “Dr Makoni lacked majority support while Mr Tsvangirai was in the presidential race simply to please his Western backers in exchange for money”.[70] These are the charges he has used in the past to describe the leader of the opposition.[citation needed]

In the week Dr. Makoni launched his campaign for the presidency, he accused Mugabe of buying votes from the electorate. This was a few hours after Dumiso Dabengwa had come out and endorsedDr. Makoni‘s candidature.[71]

First-round defeat and the campaign of violence

The presidential elections were conducted on 29 March 2008, together with the parliamentary elections. On 2 April 2008, the Zimbabwe Election Commission confirmed that Mugabe and his party, known as ZANU-PF, had lost control of Parliament to the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. This was confirmed when the results were released.[72] Both the opposition and his party challenged the results in some constituencies.[73] According to unofficial polling, Zanu-PF took 94 seats, and the main opposition party MDC took 96 seats.[74] On 3 April 2008 Zimbabwean government forces began cracking down on the main opposition party and arrested at least two foreign journalists, who were covering the disputed presidential election, including a correspondent for the New York Times.[75][76]

On 30 March 2008, Mugabe convened a meeting with his top security officials to discuss his defeat in the elections. According to the Washington Post, he was prepared to concede, but was advised by Zimbabwe’s military chief Gen. Constantine Chiwenga to remain in the race, with the senior military officers “supervising a military-style campaign against the opposition”.[77] The first phase of the plan started a week later, involving the building of 2,000 party compounds across Zimbabwe, to serve as bases for the party militias.[77] On an 8 April 2008 meeting, the military plan was given the code name of “CIBD”, which stood for: “Coercion. Intimidation. Beating. Displacement.”[77]

The official results for the presidential elections would be delayed for five weeks. When British Prime Minister Gordon Brown attempted to intervene into the election controversy, Mugabe dismissed him as “a little tiny dot on this planet”.[78]

When the official results for the presidential elections were finally published by the Zimbabwe election commission on 2 May 2008, they showed that Mr. Mugabe had lost in the first round, getting 1,079,730 votes (43.2%) against 1,195,562 (47.9%) collected by Mr. Tsvangirai. Therefore no candidate secured the final win in the first round, and a presidential run-off will be needed. The opposition called the results “scandalous daylight robbery”, claiming an outright victory in the first round with 50.3% of the votes.[79] However, closer analysis of the opposition MDC’s own figures, as published on the party’s website at time, showed they had secured 49.1% of the vote and not the claimed requiste of +50% to avoid a run-off election.[80]

Mugabe’s run-off campaign was managed by Emerson Mnangagwa, a former security chief of the conflict of Gukurahundi.[77] The Washington Post asserts that the campaign of violence was bringing results to the ruling party, by crushing the opposition party MDC and coercion of its supporters. By 20 June 2008, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights had “recorded 85 deaths in political violence since the first round of voting”.[81] News organizations report that, by the date of the second-round election, more than 80 opposition supporters had been killed, hundreds more were missing, in addition to thousands injured, and hundreds of thousands driven from their homes.[77]

Zimbabwean officials alleged that activists of the MDC, disguised as ZANU-PF members, had perpetrated violence against the population, mimicking the tactics of the Selous Scouts during the liberation struggle. They alleged that there was a “predominance” of Selous Scouts in the MDC.[82] The Sunday Mail published an article which claimed that former Selous Scouts were training MDC youth activists in violent tactics, at locations near Tswane (Pretoria) and Pietermaritzburg in South Africa.[83]

In addition, at least 100 officials and polling officers of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission were arrested after the first round election.[84][85]

Tsvangirai initially agreed to a presidential run-off with Robert Mugabe,[86] but later withdrew (on 22 June 2008), citing violence targeted at his campaign. He complained that the elections were pointless, as the outcome would be determined by Mugabe himself.[87]

The outcome of the run-off election

The run-off election was held on 27 June 2008, and Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission released the results two days later. The official results showed that Mugabe had managed to double his votes since the first round, to 2,150,269 votes (85.5%), while his opponent Tsvangirai obtained only 233,000 (9.3%).[88] However Tsvangirai had pulled out previously because of widespread violence from the ZANU-PF’s forces. The violence includes beating, rape and others. Many voted because if they did not they could face violence against them. Although witnesses and election monitors had reported a low turnout in many areas of the country,[89] the official tally showed that the total vote had increased, from 2,497,265 votes in the first round[90] to 2,514,750 votes in the second round.[88]

Two legal opinions commissioned by the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC)[91] declared the run-off election illegal because it occurred outside the 21 day period within which it had to take place under Zimbabwean law. Under item 3(1)(b) of the Second Schedule of the Electoral Act, if no second election is held within 21 days of the first election, the candidate with the highest number of votes in the first election has been duly elected as President and must be declared as such. According to the figures released by Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission, that would mean that Morgan Tsvangirai is the de jure President.

Mugabe’s inauguration to his sixth presidential term of office was a hastily arranged ceremony, convened barely an hour after the electoral commission declared his victory on 29 June 2008.[92] None of his fellow African heads of state were present at his inauguration; there were only family members, ministers, and security chiefs in the guests’ tent.[93]

The Zimbabwean military, and not President Robert Mugabe, is now running the troubled country, in the opinion of a South Africa-based NGO called the Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum (ZSF) – 10 Jul 2008.[94]

The United Kingdom announced a policy of seizing foreign assets belonging to Mugabe. Mugabe replied that he has no foreign assets to seize. HSBC proceeded to seize the bank account of Sam Mugabe, a 23-year-old British subject of Zimbabwean origin, no relation to Robert Mugabe. The HSBC bank which carried out the seizure of her account subsequently apologised.[95][96][97]

On 20 December, despite increased criticism and pressure to resign, Mugabe averred during ZANU-PF’s tenth annual conference in Bindura, some eighty kilometres north of Harare, that he would brook no such thing.[98]

Criticism and opposition

Example of foreign criticism: a demonstration against Mugabe’s regime next to the Zimbabwe embassy in London (Summer 2006).

Since 1998 Mugabe’s policies have increasingly elicited domestic and international denunciation. They have been denounced as racist againstZimbabwe’s white minority[99][100][101] Mugabe has described his critics as “born again colonialists”,[102][103] and both he and his supporters claim that Zimbabwe’s problems are the legacy of imperialism,[104] aggravated by Western economic meddling. According to The Herald, a Zimbabwean newspaper owned by the government, the U.K. is pursuing a policy of regime change.[95]

Mugabe’s critics accuse him of conducting a “reign of terror”[59][105] and being an “extremely poor role model” for the continent, whose “transgressions are unpardonable”.[106] In solidarity with the April 2007 general strike called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), British Trades Union Congress General Secretary Brendan Barber said of Mugabe’s regime: ‘Zimbabwe’s people are suffering from Mugabe’s appalling economic mismanagement, corruption, and brutal repression. They are standing up for their rights, and we must stand with them.” Lela Kogbara, Chair of ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa) similarly has said: “As with every oppressive regime women and workers are left bearing the brunt. Please join us as we stand in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle for peace, justice and freedom”.[107]

Robert Guest, the Africa editor for The Economist for seven years, argues that Mugabe is to blame for Zimbabwe’s economic freefall. “In 1980, the average annual income in Zimbabwe was US$950, and a Zimbabwean dollar was worth more than an American one. By 2003, the average income was less than US$400, and the Zimbabwean economy was in freefall.[108] “Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for nearly three decades and has led it, in that time, from impressive success to the most dramatic peacetime collapse of any country since Weimar Germany“.[12]

In The Daily Telegraph, Mugabe was criticised for comparing himself to Hitler. Mugabe was quoted as saying “This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be a Hitler tenfold”.[109]

In recent years, Western governments have condemned Mugabe’s government. On 9 March 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush approved measures for economic sanctions to be levelled against Mugabe and other high-ranking Zimbabwe politicians, freezing their assets and barring Americans from engaging in any transactions or dealings with them. Justifying the move, Bush’s spokesman stated that the President and Congress believe that “the situation in Zimbabwe endangers the southern African region and threatens to undermine efforts to foster good governance and respect for the rule of law throughout the continent.” The bill was known as the Zimbabwe Democracy Act.[110]

In reaction to human rights violations in Zimbabwe, students at universities from which Mugabe has honorary doctorates have sought to get the degrees revoked. So far, the University of Edinburgh andUniversity of Massachusetts have stripped Mugabe of his honorary degree[111] after two years of campaigning from Edinburgh University Students’ Association. In addition, the student body at Michigan State University (ASMSU) unanimously passed a resolution calling for this. The issue is now being considered by the university.[112]

Mugabe’s office forbade the screening of the 2005 movie The Interpreter, claiming that it was propaganda by the CIA and fearing that it could incite hostility towards him.[113] In 2007, Parade magazine ranked Mugabe the 7th worst dictator in the world.[114] The same magazine ranked him worst dictator of the year 2009 two years later. [115]

An official from Chatham House suggested that Mugabe was unlikely to leave Zimbabwe, but that if he were to leave, he might go to Malaysia, where some believe that he has “stashed much of his wealth”.[116]

In response to Mugabe’s critics, former Zambian leader Kenneth Kaunda was quoted blaming not Mugabe for Zimbabwe’s troubles, but successive British governments.[117] He wrote in June 2007 that “leaders in the West say Robert Mugabe is a demon, that he has destroyed Zimbabwe and he must be got rid of– but this demonising is made by people who may not understand what Robert Gabriel Mugabe and his fellow freedom fighters went through”.[3] Similarly, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, responded to his critics by saying that Zimbabwe’s problems are the legacy ofcolonialism.[118]

Mugabe’s supporters characterise him as a true Pan-Africanist and a dedicated anti-imperialist who stands strong against forces of imperialism in Africa. According to Mugabe’s supporters, the Western media are not objectively reporting on Zimbabwe, but are peddling falsehoods. Mugabe’s supporters accuse certain western governments of trying to eradicate pan-Africanism in order to deny real independence to African countries by imposing client regimes.[119]

The Times charged that on 12 June 2008, Mugabe’s Militia murdered Dadirai Chipiro, the wife of Mugabe’s political opponent, Patson Chipiro, by burning her alive with a petrol bomb after severing her hands and feet.[120]

Sanctions

After the start of the Fast Track land reform program in 2000, the US Senate put a credit freeze on the government of Zimbabwe, through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001. Signed into law on 21 December 2001, ZDERA froze the Zimbabwean government’s lines of credit at international financial institutions through Section 4C, titled Multilateral Financing Restriction. This credit freeze forced the Zimbabwean government to operate on a cash only basis, and caused high inflation in 2001 to turn into hyperinflation in 2002 and beyond. It caused the first export deficit, the first big drop in tobacco exports, and a greater fall of the Zimbabwe dollar against the US dollar than in the previous 6 years, in the year 2002.

SEC. 4. SUPPORT FOR DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY. (c) MULTILATERAL FINANCING RESTRICTION- … the Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director to each international financial institution to oppose and vote against– (1) any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or (2) any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution. [121]

ZDERA was sponsored by Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), and co-sponsored by then senators Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Russ Feingold and Jesse Helms. In 2010, Russ Feingold introduced a new law that would continue the credit freeze on Zimbabwe, called the Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2010 (ZTDERA). Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced the Zimbabwe Sanctions Repeal Act of 2010, specifically to repeal ZDERA through Section 2 article 26.[122]

Robert Mugabe visiting Vatican City in 2008, while in Rome for a UN Food Conference-a permitted exception from his travel ban.

After observers from the European Union were barred from examining Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections, the EU imposed sanctions on Mugabe and 94 members of his government, banning them from travelling to participating countries and freezing any assets held there. The United States instituted similar restrictions. The EU’s ban has a few loopholes, resulting in Mugabe taking a few trips into Europe despite the ban. Mugabe is permitted to travel to UN events within European and American borders.[123][124]

On 8 April 2005, Mugabe attended the funeral of Pope John Paul II, a move which could be seen as defiance of a European Union travel ban that does not, however, apply to Vatican City. He was granted a transit visa by the Italian authorities, as they are obliged to under the Concordat. However, the Catholic hierarchy in Zimbabwe have been very vocal against his rule and the senior Catholic cleric, Archbishop Pius Ncube is a major critic, even calling for Western governments to help in his overthrow.[125][126] Mugabe surprised Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, by shaking his hand during the service. Afterwards, the Prince’s office released a statement saying, “The Prince of Wales was caught by surprise and not in a position to avoid shaking Mr. Mugabe’s hand. The Prince finds the current Zimbabwean regime abhorrent. He has supported the Zimbabwe Defence and Aid Fund which works with those being oppressed by the regime. The Prince also recently met Pius Ncube, the Archbishop of Bulawayo, an outspoken critic of the government”.[127]

Robert Mugabe and senior members of the Harare government are not allowed to travel to the United States because it is the position of the US government that he has worked to undermine democracy in Zimbabwe and has restricted freedom of the press.[128] Despite strained political relations, the United States remains a leading provider of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, providing roughly US$900 million in humanitarian assistance from 2002–2008, mostly food aid.[129]

Because United Nations events are exempt from the travel bans, Mugabe attended the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) summit in Rome. African leaders threatened to boycott the event if Mugabe were blacklisted; when he was not, the United Kingdom refused to send a representative. British and Australian officials denounced the presence of Mugabe.[130][131]

Succession

Because Mugabe is one of Africa’s longest-lasting leaders, speculation has built over the years related to his succession.

In June 2005, a report that Mugabe had entered a hospital for tests on his heart fuelled rumours that he had died of a heart attack.[132] These reports were later dismissed by a Mugabe spokesman.

Joyce Mujuru, recently elevated to vice-president of ZANU-PF during the December 2004 party congress and considerably younger than Joseph Msika, the other vice-president, has been touted as a likely successor to Mugabe. Mujuru’s candidacy for the presidency is strengthened by the backing of her husband, Solomon Mujuru, who is the former head of the Zimbabwean army.

In October 2006, a report prepared by Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Economic Development acknowledged the lack of coordination among critical government departments in Zimbabwe and the overall lack of commitment to end the crisis. The report implied that the infighting in Zanu-PF over Mugabe’s successor was also hurting policy formulation and consistency in implementation.[133]

In late 2006, a plan was presented to postpone the next presidential election until 2010, at the same time as the next parliamentary election, thereby extending Mugabe’s term by two years. It was said that holding the two elections together would be a cost-saving measure,[134] but the plan was not approved: there were reportedly objections from some in ZANU-PF to the idea.

In March 2007, Mugabe said that he thought that the feeling was in favour of holding the two elections together in 2008 instead of 2010. He also said that he would be willing to run for re-election again if the party wanted him to do so.[135] Other leaders in southern Africa were rumoured to be less warm on the idea of extending his term to 2010.

On 30 March 2007, it was announced that the ZANU-PF central committee had chosen Mugabe as the party’s candidate for another term in 2008, that presidential terms would be shortened to five years, and that the parliamentary election would also be held in 2008.[136] Mugabe was chosen by acclamation as the party’s presidential candidate for 2008 by ZANU-PF delegates at a party conference on 13 December 2007.[137]

At Zanu-PF’s tenth annual conference in Bindura in December 2008, Mugabe spoke of his determination not to follow US president George W. Bush to his “political death”[138] and urged the party to ready itself for new polls. He also took the opportunity once more to cite Britain as the source of Zimbabwe’s woes.

At independence celebrations in Ghana in March 2007, South African President Thabo Mbeki was rumoured to have met with Mugabe in private and told him that “he was determined that South Africa’s hosting of the Football World Cup in 2010 should not be disrupted by controversial presidential elections in Zimbabwe”.[139]

As of 10 September 2010 there was considerable speculation that Mugabe was dying of cancer.[140][141][142] It is rumoured that his choice of successor would be Simba Makoni [4] These rumors were further validated in September of 2011 when WikiLeaks revealed that Mugabe’s close friend, Gideon Gono, revealed that Mugabe has prostate cancer that would likely kill him by 2013.[143][144]

SADC-facilitated government power-sharing agreement

On 11 September 2008, at the end of the fourth day of negotiations, South African President and mediator to ZimbabweThabo Mbeki, announced in Harare that Robert Mugabe of Zanu-PF, ProfessorArthur Mutambara and Morgan Tsvangirai (both of MDC) finally signed the power-sharing agreement – “memorandum of understanding.”[145] Mbeki stated: “An agreement has been reached on all items on the agenda … all of them [ Mugabe, Tsvangirai, Mutambara] endorsed the document tonight, and signed it. The formal signing will be done on Monday 10 am. The document will be released then. The ceremony will be attended by SADC and other African regional and continental leaders. The leaders will spend the next few days constituting the inclusive government to be announced on Monday. The leaders will work very hard to mobilise support for the people to recover. We hope the world will assist so that this political agreement succeeds.” In the signed historic power deal, Mugabe, on 11 September 2008 agreed to surrender day-to-day control of the government and the deal is also expected to result in a de facto amnesty for the military and Zanu-PF party leaders. Opposition sources said “Tsvangirai will become prime minister at the head of a council of ministers, the principal organ of government, drawn from his Movement for Democratic Change and the president’s Zanu-PF party; and Mugabe will remain president and continue to chair a cabinet that will be a largely consultative body, and the real power will lie with Tsvangirai.[146][147][148]

South Africa’s Business Day reported, however, that Mugabe was refusing to sign a deal which would curtail his presidential powers.[149] New York Times said Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, announced: “This is an inclusive government. The executive power would be shared by the president, the prime minister and the cabinet. Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara have still not decided how to divide the ministries. But Jendayi E. Frazer, the American assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said: “We don’t know what’s on the table, and it’s hard to rally for an agreement when no one knows the details or even the broad outlines”[150]

On 15 September 2008, the leaders of the 14-member SADC witnessed the signing of the power-sharing agreement, brokered by South African leader Thabo Mbeki. With symbolic handshake and warm smiles at the Rainbow Towers hotel in Harare, Mugabe, Mutambara and Tsvangirai signed the deal to end violent political crisis provides. As provided, Robert Mugabe will be recognised as president, Morgan Tsvangirai will become prime minister,[151] the MDC will control the police, Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) will command the Army, and Arthur Mutambara becomes deputy prime minister.[152][153]

Violence, however, did not entirely subside with the power-sharing agreement. As the New Your Times reports, Mugabe’s top lieutenants started “trying to force the political opposition into granting them amnesty for their past crimes by abducting, detaining and torturing opposition officials and activists.” Dozens of members of the opposition and human rights activists have been abducted and tortured in the months since October 2008, including Roy Bennett, the opposition’s third-highest ranking official and Tsvangirai’s nominee for deputy agriculture minister (arrested just two days after Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister in 11 February 2009) and Chris Dhlamini, the opposition’s director of security.[154]

Honours and revocations

In 1994, Mugabe was appointed an honorary Knight Grand Cross in the Order of the Bath by Queen Elizabeth II.[155] This entitled him to use the postnominal letters GCB, but not to use the title “Sir.” In the United Kingdom, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee called for the removal of this honour in 2003, and on 25 June 2008, Queen Elizabeth II cancelled and annulled the honorary knighthood after advice from the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom. “This action has been taken as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided”.[156]

Mugabe holds several honorary degrees and doctorates from international universities, awarded to him in the 1980s; at least three of these have since been revoked. In June 2007, he became the first international figure ever to be stripped of an honorary degree by a British university, when the University of Edinburgh withdrew the degree awarded to him in 1984.[157] On 12 June 2008, the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees voted to revoke the law degree awarded to Mugabe in 1986; this is the first time one of its honorary degrees has been revoked.[158] Similarly, on 12 September 2008,Michigan State University revoked an honorary law degree that it awarded Mugabe in 1990.[159]

Titles and honours of Robert Gabriel Mugabe
Title/Honour Awarding body/person Date of award Reason for award Date of revocation/loss of award Reason for revocation/loss
(Comment)
1 Comrade member ofZANU-PF
2 General Secretary ZANU-PF (date of appointment)
3 1st Executive President Constitution (date of constitutional amendment)
4 Knight Grand Cross in theOrder of the Bath Queen Elizabeth II 1994 “significant contributions” to relations between Britain and Zimbabwe[160] 25 June 2008 “The abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided”[156]
5 Honorary LLDdegree University of Edinburgh 1984 “… honoured not only for his extraordinary intellectual discipline and energy but for those qualities of statesmanship which made him one of the great figures of modern Africa.”[161] June 2007 “The decision was taken after the university set up an academic panel to look at events between 1982 and 1984 in Matabeleland, where 20,000 people are thought to have died. The university has said that it knew nothing of the killings at the time of the award.”[157]
6 Honorary LLDdegree University of Massachusetts 1986 “Your gentle firmness in the face of anger, and your intellectual approach to matters which inflame the emotions of others, are hallmarks of your quiet integrity.” … “We salute you for your enduring and effective translation of a moral ethic into a strong, popular voice for freedom.”[162] June 2008 “Mugabe’s corrupt, repressive regime” was deemed “antithetical to the values and beliefs of the University of Massachusetts.” It is the first time the board has revoked an honorary degree.[158]
7 Honorary LLDdegree Michigan State University 1990 “… for his achievements as the president of Zimbabwe and for establishing a strong cooperative effort between MSU and the University of Zimbabwe.”[163] 12 September 2008 “…a pattern of human rights abuses.”[159]
8 Honorary LLDdegree Ahmadou Bello University[164]
9 Honorary LLDdegree Morehouse College[164]
10 Honorary LLDdegree University of Zimbabwe[164]
11 Honorary LLDdegree St. Augustine’s College[164]
12 Honorary LLDdegree Lomonosov Moscow State University[164]
13 Honorary LLDdegree Solusi University[164]
14 HonoraryD.Litt. degree Africa University[164]
15 Honorary D Civil Laws degree University of Mauritius[164]
16 HonoraryD.Com.degree University of Fort Hare[164]
17 HonoraryD.Tech.degree National University of Science and Technology[164]
18 Africa Prize for Leadership for the Sustainable End of Hunger The Hunger Project[164] 1988 Mr. Mugabe’s agricultural programs “pointed the way not only for Zimbabwe but for the entire African continent.”[165] 8 August 2001 “The Hunger Project wishes to be on the record as deploring policies that have resulted in increased unemployment, poverty and hunger in Zimbabwe. This situation is inconsistent with the spirit of the Africa Prize for Leadership and Zimbabwe’s need to work for the sustainable end of hunger.”[166]
19 HonoraryOrder of Jamaica Government of Jamaica[164] 1996 “in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the fight for liberation and the overthrow of apartheid in Southern Africa, and his distinct leadership in the pursuit of freedom and human development throughout the African continent” Prime Minister Bruce Golding says Jamaica has no plan to strip President Robert Mugabe of the honorary award conferred on him in 1996, despite the ongoing political situation in Zimbabwe.

Personal life

His first wife, Sally Hayfron, died in 1992 from a chronic kidney ailment.[167] Their only son, Michael Nhamodzenyika Mugabe, born 27 September 1963, died on 26 December 1966 from cerebral malaria in Ghana where Sally was working while Mugabe was in prison. Sally Mugabe was a trained teacher who asserted her position as an independent political activist and campaigner[168] who was seen as Mugabe’s closest friend and advisor, and some critics suggest that Mugabe began to misrule Zimbabwe after her death.[12]

On 17 August 1996, Mugabe married his former secretary, Grace Marufu, 41 years his junior, with whom he already had two children; she first became pregnant by Mugabe while he was still married to his first wife, Sally, and while Grace was married to another man, Stanley Goreraza, now a diplomat in China.[169][170] Mugabe and Marufu were married in a Roman Catholic wedding Mass at Kutama College, a Catholic mission school he previously attended. Nelson Mandela and Mugabe’s two children by Grace were among the guests. The Mugabes have three children: Bona, Robert Peter Jr. (although Robert Mugabe’s middle name is Gabriel) and Bellarmine Chatunga.

As First Lady, Grace has been the subject of criticism for her lifestyle. Her sometimes lavish European shopping sprees have led to the nickname “Gucci Grace”. When she was included in the 2002 EU travel sanctions on her husband, one EU parliamentarian was quoted as saying that the ban “will stop Grace Mugabe going on her shopping trips in the face of catastrophic poverty blighting the people of Zimbabwe.”[171]

THE RISE AND FALL OF IDI AMIN DADA…ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST EVIL MEN

IDI AMIN – EVIL WARLORD

ONE OF THE THOUSANDS OF EXECUTIONS ORDERED BY IDI AMIN

Idi Amin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Field Marshal
Idi Amin
Idi Amin addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York, 1975
3rd President of Uganda
In office
25 January 1971 – 11 April 1979
  Mustafa Adrisi
Preceded by Milton Obote
Succeeded by Yusufu Lule
Personal details
Born 1 January 1923
Koboko or Kampala[A]Uganda
Died 16 August 2003 (aged 80)
JeddahSaudi Arabia
Nationality Uganda Ugandan
Spouse(s) Malyamu Amin (divorced)
Kay Amin (divorced)
Nora Amin (divorced)
Madina Amin (widow)
Sarah Amin (widow)
Profession Soldier
Religion Islam
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Uganda Uganda
Service/branch British Army
Ugandan Army
Years of service 1946–79
Rank Field Marshal (self-styled)
Unit King’s African Rifles
Commands Commander-in-Chief of the Forces
Battles/wars Mau Mau Uprising
1971 Ugandan coup d’état

Idi Amin Dada (c. 1925[A] – 16 August 2003) was a military leader and President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Amin joined the British colonial regiment, the King’s African Rifles in 1946. Eventually he held the rank of Major General in the post-colonial Ugandan Army and became its Commander before seizing power in the military coup of January 1971, deposing Milton Obote. He later promoted himself to Field Marshal while he was the head of state.

Amin’s rule was characterized by gross human rights abuse, political repressionethnic persecutionextrajudicial killingsnepotismcorruption, and gross economic mismanagement. The number of people killed as a result of his regime is estimated by international observers and human rights groups to range from 100,000[1] to 500,000. During his years in power, Amin shifted in allegiance from being a pro-Western ruler enjoying considerable Israeli support to being later backed by Libya‘s Muammar al-Gaddafi as well as the Soviet Union and East Germany.[2][3][4]

In 1975–1976, Amin became the Chairman of the Organisation of African Unity, a pan-Africanist group designed to promote solidarity of the African states.[5]During the 1977–1979 period, Uganda was appointed to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.[6] In 1977, after the last two British diplomats withdrew from Uganda, Amin declared he had beaten the British and added “CBE”, for “Conqueror of the British Empire”, to his title. Radio Uganda then announced his entire title: “His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Alhaji Dr. Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, CBE”.[7]

Dissent within Uganda and Amin’s attempt to annex the Kagera province of Tanzania in 1978 led to the Uganda–Tanzania War and the demise of his regime. Amin later fled to exile in Libya and Saudi Arabia until his death on 16 August 2003.


Amin never wrote an autobiography nor did he authorise any official written account of his life, so there are discrepancies regarding when and where he was born. Most biographical sources hold that he was born in either Koboko or Kampala in around 1925.[A] Other unconfirmed sources state Amin’s year of birth from as early at 1923 to as late as 1928. According to Fred Guweddeko, a researcher at Makerere University, Idi Amin was the son of Andreas Nyabire (1889–1976). Nyabire, a member of the Kakwa ethnic group, converted from Roman Catholicism to Islam in 1910 and changed his name to Amin Dada in which he named his first-born son after himself. Abandoned by his father at a young age, Idi Amin grew up with his mother’s family in a rural farming town in northwestern Uganda. Guweddeko states that Amin’s mother was called Assa Aatte (1904–1970), an ethnic Lugbara and a traditional herbalist who treated members of Buganda royalty, among others. Amin joined an Islamic school in Bombo in 1941. After a few years, he left school with nothing more than a fourth grade English-language education and did odd jobs before being recruited to the army by a British colonial army officer.[8]
[edit]Early life and military career

Chronology of Amin’s military promotions
 
King’s African Rifles
1946 Joins King’s African Rifles
1947 Private
1952 Corporal
1953 Sergeant
1958 Sergeant Major (acting as Platoon Commander)
1959 Effendi (Warrant Officer)
1961 Lieutenant (one of the first two Ugandan Officers)
 
Uganda Army
1962 Captain
1963 Major
1964 Deputy Commander of the Army
1965 Colonel, Commander of the Army
1968 Major General
1971 Head of State
Chairman of the Defence Council
Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces
Army Chief of Staff and Chief of Air Staff
1975 Field Marshal

[edit]Colonial British Army

Amin joined the King’s African Rifles (KAR) of the British Colonial Army in 1946 as an assistant cook.[9] He claimed he was forced to join the Army during World War II and that he served in the Burma Campaign,[10] but records indicate he was first enlisted after the war was concluded.[7][11] He was transferred to Kenya for infantry service as a private in 1947 and served in the 21st KAR infantry battalion in Gilgil, Kenya until 1949. That year, his unit was deployed to Somalia to fight the Somali Shifta rebels. In 1952 his brigade was deployed against theMau Mau rebels in Kenya. He was promoted to corporal the same year, then to sergeant in 1953.[8]

In 1959 Amin was made Afande (warrant officer), the highest rank possible for a Black African in the colonial British Army of that time. Amin returned to Uganda the same year and in 1961 he was promoted to lieutenant, becoming one of the first two Ugandans to becomecommissioned officers. He was then assigned to quell the cattle rustling between Uganda’s Karamojong and Kenya’s Turkana nomads. In 1962, following Uganda’s independence from Great Britain, Amin was promoted to captain and then, in 1963, to major. The following year, he was appointed Deputy Commander of the Army.[8]

Amin was an active athlete during his time in both the British and Ugandan army. At 193 cm (6 ft 4 in) tall and powerfully built, he was the Ugandan light heavyweight boxing champion from 1951 to 1960, as well as a swimmer. Idi Amin was also a formidable rugby forward,[12][13]although one officer said of him: “Idi Amin is a splendid type and a good (rugby) player, but virtually bone from the neck up, and needs things explained in words of one letter”.[13][14] In the 1950s, he played for Nile RFC.[15] There is a frequently repeated urban legend[13][15] that he was selected as a replacement by East Africa for their match against the 1955 British Lions.

However, the story is entirely unfounded. Amin doesn’t appear on the team photograph or on the official team list[16] and replacements were not allowed in international rugby until 13 years after this event is supposed to have taken place.[17]

Following conversations with a colleague in the British Army, Amin became a keen fan of Hayes Football Club – an affection that would remain for the rest of his life.

[edit]Army commander

In 1965, Prime Minister Milton Obote and Amin were implicated in a deal to smuggle ivory and gold into Uganda from Zaire. The deal, as later alleged by General Nicholas Olenga, an associate of the former Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba, was part of an arrangement to help troops opposed to the Congolese government trade ivory and gold for arms supplies secretly smuggled to them by Amin. In 1966, the UgandanParliament demanded an investigation. Obote imposed a new constitution abolishing the ceremonial presidency held by Kabaka (King) Edward Mutesa II of Buganda, and declared himself executive president. He promoted Amin to colonel and army commander. Amin led an attack on the Kabaka’s palace and forced Mutesa into exile to the United Kingdom, where he remained until his death in 1969.[18][19]

Amin began recruiting members of KakwaLugbaraNubian, and other ethnic groups from the West Nile area bordering Sudan. The Nubians had been residents in Uganda since the early 20th century, having come from Sudan to serve the colonial army. Many African ethnic groups in northern Uganda inhabit both Uganda and Sudan; allegations persist that Amin’s army consisted mainly of Sudanese soldiers.[20]

[edit]Seizure of power

Eventually, a rift developed between Amin and Obote, worsened by the support Amin had built within the army by recruiting from the West Nile region, his involvement in operations to support therebellion in southern Sudan, and an attempt on Obote’s life in 1969. In October 1970, Obote himself took control of the armed forces, reducing Amin from his months-old post of commander of all the armed forces to that of commander of the army.[21]

Having learned that Obote was planning to arrest him for misappropriating army funds, Amin seized power in a military coup on 25 January 1971, while Obote was attending a Commonwealth summit meeting in Singapore. Troops loyal to Amin sealed off Entebbe International Airport, the main artery into Uganda, and took Kampala. Soldiers surrounded Obote’s residence and blocked major roads. A broadcast on Radio Uganda accused Obote’s government of corruption and preferential treatment of the Lango region. Cheering crowds were reported in the streets of Kampala after the radio broadcast.[22] Amin announced that he was a soldier, not a politician, and that the military government would remain only as a caretaker regime until new elections, which would be announced when the situation was normalised. He promised to release all political prisoners.[23]

Amin gave former king and president Mutesa (who had died in exile) a state burial in April 1971, freed many political prisoners, and reiterated his promise to hold free and fair elections to return the country to democratic rule in the shortest period possible.[24]

[edit]Presidency

Main article: Uganda under Idi Amin

[edit]Establishment of military rule

On 2 February 1971, one week after the coup, Amin declared himself President of Uganda, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Army Chief of Staff, and Chief of Air Staff. He announced that he was suspending certain provisions of the Ugandan constitution and soon instituted an Advisory Defence Council composed of military officers with himself as the chairman. Amin placed military tribunals above the system of civil law, appointed soldiers to top government posts and parastatal agencies, and informed the newly inducted civilian cabinet ministers that they would be subject tomilitary discipline.[21][25] Amin renamed the presidential lodge in Kampala from Government House to “The Command Post”. He disbanded the General Service Unit (GSU), an intelligence agency created by the previous government, and replaced it with the State Research Bureau (SRB). SRB headquarters at the Kampala suburb of Nakasero became the scene of torture and executions over the next few years.[26] Other agencies used to root out political dissent included the military police and the Public Safety Unit (PSU).[26]

Obote took refuge in Tanzania, having been offered sanctuary there by Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere. He was soon joined by 20,000 Ugandan refugees fleeing Amin. The exiles attempted to regain the country in 1972 through a poorly organised coup attempt.[27]

[edit]Persecution of ethnic and other groups

Amin retaliated against the attempted invasion by Ugandan exiles in 1972 by purging the army of Obote supporters, predominantly those from the Acholi and Lango ethnic groups.[28] In July 1971, Lango and Acholi soldiers were massacred in the Jinja and Mbarara Barracks,[29] and by early 1972, some 5,000 Acholi and Lango soldiers, and at least twice as many civilians, had disappeared.[30]The victims soon came to include members of other ethnic groups, religious leaders, journalists, artists, senior bureaucrats, judges, lawyers, homosexuals, students and intellectuals, criminal suspects, and foreign nationals. In this atmosphere of violence, many other people were killed for criminal motives or simply at will.[31]

The killings, motivated by ethnic, political, and financial factors, continued throughout Amin’s eight-year reign.[30] The exact number of people killed is unknown. The International Commission of Juristsestimated the death toll at no fewer than 80,000 and more likely around 300,000. An estimate compiled by exile organizations with the help of Amnesty International puts the number killed at 500,000.[7] Among the most prominent people killed were Benedicto Kiwanuka, the former prime minister and later chief justiceJanani Luwum, the Anglican archbishopJoseph Mubiru, the former governor of the Central Bank; Frank Kalimuzo, the vice chancellor of Makerere University; Byron Kawadwa, a prominent playwright; and two of Amin’s own cabinet ministers, Erinayo Wilson Oryemaand Charles Oboth Ofumbi.[32]

Amin’s ally Muammar Gaddafi told Amin to expel Asians from Uganda.[33] In August 1972, Amin declared what he called an “economic war“, a set of policies that included the expropriation of properties owned by Asians and Europeans. Uganda’s 80,000 Asians were mostly from the Indian subcontinent and born in the country, their ancestors having come to Uganda when the country was still a British colony. Many owned businesses, including large-scale enterprises, that formed the backbone of the Ugandan economy. On 4 August 1972, Amin issued a decree ordering the expulsion of the 60,000 Asians who were not Ugandan citizens (most of them held British passports). This was later amended to include all 80,000 Asians, except for professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers. A plurality of the Asians with British passports, around 30,000, emigrated to Britain. Others went to AustraliaCanadaIndiaKenyaPakistanSwedenTanzania, and the U.S.[34][35][36]Amin expropriated businesses and properties belonging to the Asians and handed them over to his supporters. The businesses were mismanaged, and industries collapsed from lack of maintenance. This proved disastrous for the already declining economy.[25]

In 1977, Henry Kyemba, Amin’s health minister and a former official of the first Obote regime, defected and resettled in Britain. Kyemba wrote and published A State of Blood, the first insider exposé of Amin’s rule.

[edit]International relations

Following the expulsion of Ugandan Asians in 1972, most of whom were of Indian descent, India severed diplomatic relations with Uganda. The same year, as part of his “economic war”, Amin broke diplomatic ties with Britain and nationalised 85 British-owned businesses.

That year, relations with Israel soured. Although Israel had previously supplied Uganda with arms, in 1972 Amin expelled Israeli military advisers and turned to Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya and theSoviet Union for support.[28] Amin became an outspoken critic of Israel.[37] In return, Gaddafi gave financial aid to Amin.[38] In the 1974 French-produced documentary film General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait, Amin discussed his plans for war against Israel, using paratroops, bombers and suicide squadrons.[10] Amin later stated that Hitler “was right to burn six million Jews”.[39]

The Soviet Union became Amin’s largest arms supplier.[3] East Germany was involved in the General Service Unit and the State Research Bureau, the two agencies which were most notorious for terror. Later during the Ugandan invasion of Tanzania in 1979, East Germany attempted to remove evidence of its involvement with these agencies.[4]

In 1973, U.S. Ambassador Thomas Patrick Melady recommended that the United States reduce its presence in Uganda. Melady described Amin’s regime as “racist, erratic and unpredictable, brutal, inept, bellicose, irrational, ridiculous, and militaristic“.[40] Accordingly, the United States closed its embassy in Kampala.

In June 1976, Amin allowed an Air France airliner hijacked by two members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – External Operations (PFLP-EO) and two members of the GermanRevolutionäre Zellen to land at Entebbe Airport. There the hijackers were joined by three more. Soon after, 156 non-Jewish hostages who did not hold Israeli passports were released and flown to safety, while 83 Jews and Israeli citizens, as well as 20 others who refused to abandon them (among whom were the captain and crew of the hijacked Air France jet), continued to be held hostage. In the subsequent Israeli rescue operation, codenamed Operation Thunderbolt (popularly known as Operation Entebbe), on the night of July 3–4, 1976, a group of Israeli commandos were flown in all the way from Israel and seized control of Entebbe Airport, freeing nearly all the hostages. Three hostages died during the operation and 10 were wounded; seven hijackers, about 45 Ugandan soldiers, and one Israeli soldier, Yoni Netanyahu, were killed. A fourth hostage, 75-year-old Dora Bloch, an elderly Jewish Englishwoman who had been taken to Mulago Hospital in Kampala before the rescue operation, was subsequently murdered in reprisal. The incident further soured Uganda’s international relations, leading Britain to close its High Commission in Uganda.[41]

Uganda under Amin embarked on a large military build-up, which raised concerns in Kenya. Early in June 1975, Kenyan officials impounded a large convoy of Soviet-made arms en route to Uganda at the port of Mombasa. Tension between Uganda and Kenya reached its climax in February 1976 when Amin announced that he would investigate the possibility that parts of southern Sudan and western and central Kenya, up to within 32 kilometres (20 mi) of Nairobi, were historically a part of colonial Uganda. The Kenyan Government responded with a stern statement that Kenya would not part with “a single inch of territory”. Amin backed down after the Kenyan army deployed troops and armored personnel carriers along the Kenya–Uganda border.[42]

[edit]King of Scotland

Near the end of 1976, Amin officially declared himself “the uncrowned King of Scotland“.[43] Amin lavished his guests and dignitaries with Scottish accordion music, while dressed in Scottish kilts.[44]He wrote to Queen Elizabeth II, “I would like you to arrange for me to visit Scotland, Ireland and Wales to meet the heads of revolutionary movements fighting against your imperialist oppression”, and allegedly sent the Queen a telex that stated: “Dear Liz, if you want to know a real man, come to Kampala.”[45] Amin sometimes argued that he was “the last King of Scotland”.[46]

[edit]Erratic behaviour, self-bestowed titles, and media portrayal

A 1977 caricature of Amin in military and presidential attire by Edmund S. Valtman

As the years progressed, Amin’s behaviour became more erratic, unpredictable, and outspoken. After Great Britain broke off all diplomatic relations with his regime in 1977, Amin declared he had defeated the British and conferred on himself the decoration of CBE (Conqueror of the British Empire). His full self-bestowed title ultimately became “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”, in addition to his officially stated claim of being the uncrowned King of Scotland.[47] He was not a recipient of a Victoria Cross, nor did he acquire a Distinguished Service Order or a Military Cross.

Amin became the subject of rumours and myths, including a widespread belief that he was a cannibal.[48][49] Some of the unsubstantiated rumours, such as the mutilation of one of his wives, were spread and popularised by the 1980 film Rise and Fall of Idi Amin and alluded to in the film The Last King of Scotlandin 2006.[50]

During Amin’s time in power, popular media outside of Uganda often portrayed him as an essentially comic and eccentric figure. In a 1977 assessment typical of the time, a Time magazine article described him as a “killer and clown, big-hearted buffoon and strutting martinet“.[51] The foreign media was often criticised by Ugandan exiles and defectors for focusing on Amin’s excessive tastes and self-aggrandizing eccentricities, and downplaying or excusing his murderous behavior.[52] Other commentators even suggested that Amin had deliberately cultivated his eccentric reputation in the foreign media as an easily parodied buffoon in order to defuse international concern over his administration of Uganda.[53]

[edit]Deposition and exile

By 1978, the number of Amin’s supporters and close associates had shrunk significantly, and he faced increasing dissent from the populace within Uganda as the economy and infrastructure collapsed from years of neglect and abuse. After the killings of Bishop Luwum and ministers Oryema and Oboth Ofumbi in 1977, several of Amin’s ministers defected or fled into exile.[54] In November 1978, after Amin’s vice president, General Mustafa Adrisi, was injured in a car accident, troops loyal to him mutinied. Amin sent troops against the mutineers, some of whom had fled across the Tanzanian border.[25] Amin accused Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere of waging war against Uganda, ordered the invasion of Tanzanian territory, and formally annexed a section of the Kagera Region across the boundary.[25][27]

In January 1979, Nyerere mobilised the Tanzania People’s Defence Force and counterattacked, joined by several groups of Ugandan exiles who had united as the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). Amin’s army retreated steadily, and, despite military help from Libya‘s Muammar al-Gaddafi, he was forced to flee into exile by helicopter on 11 April 1979, when Kampala was captured. He escaped first to Libya, where he stayed until 1980, and ultimately settled in Saudi Arabia, where the Saudi royal family allowed him sanctuary and paid him a generous subsidy in return for his staying out of politics.[9] Amin lived for a number of years on the top two floors of the Novotel Hotel on Palestine Road in Jeddah. Brian Barron, who covered the Uganda–Tanzania war for the BBC as chief Africa correspondent, together with cameraman Mohammed Amin of Visnews in Nairobi, located Amin in 1980 and secured the first interview with him since his deposition.[55]

During interviews he gave during his exile in Saudi Arabia, Amin held that Uganda needed him and never expressed remorse for the nature of his regime.[56] In 1989, he attempted to return to Uganda, apparently to lead an armed group organised by Colonel Juma Oris. He reached KinshasaZaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), before Zairian President Mobutu forced him to return to Saudi Arabia.

[edit]Amin’s death

On 20 July 2003, one of Amin’s wives, Madina, reported that he was in a coma and near death at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in JeddahSaudi Arabia, from kidney failure. She pleaded with the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, to allow him to return to Uganda for the remainder of his life. Museveni replied that Amin would have to “answer for his sins the moment he was brought back”.[57]Amin died at the hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 16 August 2003 and was buried in Ruwais Cemetery in Jeddah.[58]

[edit]Family and associates

polygamist, Idi Amin married at least six women, three of whom he divorced. He married his first and second wives, Malyamu and Kay, in 1966. The next year, he married Nora and then Nalongo Madina in 1972. On 26 March 1974, he announced on Radio Uganda that he had divorced Malyamu, Nora and Kay.[59][60] Malyamu was arrested in Tororo on the Kenyan border in April 1974 and accused of attempting to smuggle a bolt of fabric into Kenya. She later moved to London.[59][61] Kay died on 13 August 1974, reportedly from an attempted surgical abortion performed by her lover Dr. Mbalu Mukasa (who himself committed suicide).[citation needed]. Her body was found dismembered. In August 1975, during the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit meeting in Kampala, Amin married Sarah Kyolaba. Sarah’s boyfriend, whom she had been living with before she met Amin, vanished and was never heard from again. By 1993, Amin was living with the last nine of his children and a single wife, Mama a Chumaru, the mother of the youngest four of his children. His last known child was a daughter called Iman, born in 1992.[62] According to The Monitor, Amin married again a few months before his death in 2003.[61]

Sources differ widely on the number of children Amin fathered; most say that he had 30 to 45.[D] Until 2003, Taban Amin (born 1955),[63] Idi Amin’s eldest son, was the leader of West Nile Bank Front(WNBF), a rebel group opposed to the government of Yoweri Museveni. In 2005, he was offered amnesty by Museveni, and in 2006, he was appointed Deputy Director General of the Internal Security Organisation.[64] Another of Amin’s sons, Haji Ali Amin, ran for election as Chairman (i.e. mayor) of Njeru Town Council in 2002 but was not elected.[65] In early 2007, the award-winning film The Last King of Scotland prompted one of his sons, Jaffar Amin (born in 1967),[66] to speak out in his father’s defense. Jaffar Amin said he was writing a book to rehabilitate his father’s reputation.[67] Jaffar is the tenth of Amin’s 40 official children by seven official wives.[66]

On 3 August 2007, Faisal Wangita (born in 1983),[68] one of Amin’s sons, was convicted for playing a role in a murder in London.[69] Wangita’s mother is Amin’s fifth wife, Sarah Kyolaba (born 1955)[70]a former go-go dancer, but known as ‘Suicide Sarah’, because she was a go-go dancer for the Ugandan Army’s Revolutionary Suicide Mechanised Regiment Band.[70]

Among Amin’s closest associates was the British-born Bob Astles, who is considered by many to have been a malignant influence and by others as having been a moderating presence.[71] Isaac Malyamungu was an instrumental affiliate and one of the more feared officers in Amin’s army.[54]

[edit]Portrayal in media and literature

LET US NOT FORGET THE DEATH OF WPC YVONNE FLETCHER AND THE LOCKERBIE PLANE DISASTER VICTIMS

HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL WE FEATURE HEROINES AND HERO’S OF OUR BRITISH POLICE FORCE , UK SPECIAL FORCES , EMERGENCY SERVICES AND BEYOND . HOPEFULLY PROVIDING VISITORS WITH A HISTORICALLY INTRIGUING AND EDUCATIONAL INSIGHT INTO THOSE THAT SEEK TO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY .

Now the hunt for justice begins: Libya’s secret files on Yvonne Fletcher, Lockerbie bombing and IRA weapons to be made public ‘within months’

Murdered: Policewoman Yvonne Fletcher was killed outside Libyan Embassy in London in 1984Murdered: Policewoman Yvonne Fletcher was killed outside Libyan Embassy in London in 1984

The alleged killers of murdered WPC Yvonne Fletcher’s will face justice in Libya, the country’s leading diplomat in the UK has promised.

Mahmud Nacua also said that ‘secret files’ on the 1984 murder of WPC Fletcher – as well as on the Lockerbie bombing and other Gaddafi-sponsored assassinations in London – will soon be made public.

British diplomats are demanding that the National Transitional Council works to solve the murder of WPC Fletcher, who was shot outside the Libyan embassy in London.

Only one of the men allegedly involved in the killing of Yvonne Fletcher is still believed to be alive.

Former embassy worker Matouk Mohammed Matouk was captured this year, according to Libya’s acting deputy prime minister Ali Tarhouni, but was then reported to have escaped.

MPs in Britain are demanding that he be extradited to Britain, but Mr Nacua said Libyan police and courts must be responsible for bringing him – and any accomplices – to justice.

He said: ‘When our country is stable all the files of the crimes that have been committed by Gaddafi will open. Everything will be known to the world what happened in the time of Gaddafi.

‘They will face justice in Libya, not in Britain. Libya is an independent country, it has its constitution, it has its law, its lawyers.’

The files will be made public within the next few months as the new government settles down, it is understood.

Yesterday Foreign Secretary William Hague said that Gaddafi’s death had ‘brought closer’ action to put the murderer on trial.

He had raised the WPC Fletcher case on Monday during talks in Tripoli with NTC chairman Mustafa Mohammed Abdul Jalil.

Mr Hague said: ‘They fully understand that it is very important to us to deal with the tragic issues left behind by Colonel Gaddafi in our country, on top of all the damage that he did to Libya.

‘But as they often point out they need to be able to form a government and have functioning ministries in order to be able to do that. These events yesterday bring closer the day that we can get all of that.’

Three officers desperately attempt first aid on W.P.C. Fletcher as she lies wounded on the road outside the embassy Wounded: Three officers desperately attempt first aid on W.P.C. Fletcher as she lies injure on the road outside the embassy

News of Gaddafi’s death brought a fresh push from those whose relatives were killed in the Lockerbie bombing. Pan Am Flight 103 that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988.

The blast claimed the lives of all 259 people aboard the plane and 11 other people on the ground.

Pamela Dix, who lost her 35-year-old brother Peter in the Lockerbie bombing, said: ‘It must be a very chaotic time in Libya at the moment and of course this (the Lockerbie bombing) is not going to be a high priority for the authorities there just now.

‘But when it has settled down I do not want the Scottish Government just to stand ready. I want them to be pro-active and not just wait to see what emerges.’

She added: ‘I think it is too soon to tell what difference this will make with the Lockerbie situation. It might be the case that Gaddafi knew a great deal about what happened. I don’t know yet if it changes anything for the families who have lost loved ones.

‘However, what I would say is that if he did know something, he is unlikely to be the only one who did.
‘We are still advocating full disclosure of the facts.’

Susan Cohen’s daughter Theodora  was aged 20 when she was killed in the bombing. She said; ‘I would get up each day and run to the computer and look up any news articles about what was going on with him: reading, reading reading, every day, waiting for this.

‘I’m just going to go out and buy an expensive bottle of champagne to celebrate.’

Scottish rescue workers and crash investigators search the area around the cockpit of Pan Am flight 103 which came down Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988Bombing: Rescue workers and crash investigators search the area around the cockpit of Pan Am flight 103 which came down Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988
Guilty: Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi when he was arrested
at his home in Tripoli this month after he was released earlier this year

Guilty: Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi when he was arrested for the atrocity, and right, at his home in Tripoli this month after he was released earlier this year

Kara Weipz, from New Jersy, whose 20-year-old brother, Richard Monetti, said she was stunned to hear of the dictator’s death.

‘Talk about shock!’ she said. Mrs Weipz said she was feeling ‘relief, knowing he can’t hurt and torture anyone else.’

She added: ‘For 20-some years, I never thought this day would come. The world is a better and safer place today.’

Her father, Bob Monetti, of Cherry Hill, says there’s still a lot of information that relatives need to know.

‘There are a number of people who were involved in the bombing who have not been arrested or captured,’ he said.

The fall of the Gaddafi also paves the way for the settlement of legal claims by IRA victims in Northern Ireland, an MP has said.

In the 1980s the toppled dictator sent large quantities of arms and explosives to Ireland to be used by republicans.

The deals in the desert: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, and Gaddafi stroll together during a trip in 2004 in which Yvonne Fletcher, the Lockerbie bombing and Libyan weapons supplies were discussedThe deals in the desert: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, and Gaddafi stroll together during a trip in 2004 in which Yvonne Fletcher, the Lockerbie bombing and Libyan weapons supplies were discussed
Tory MP Teddy Taylor and Gaddafi after an hour-long conversation in a bedouin tent. Taylor returned with a £250,000 cheque from Libya and an apology from the dictator Tory MP Teddy Taylor and Gaddafi after an hour-long conversation in a bedouin tent. Taylor returned with a £250,000 cheque from Libya and an apology from the dictator in 1996

Jeffrey Donaldson, the DUP Lagan Valley MP, said Semtex from the shipments was used during atrocities like the 1993 IRA bombing of Warrington, Merseyside.

There were claims last month that Gaddafi had continued supplying funding to dissident groups such as the Real IRA as recently as March this year before conflict inside Libya intensified.

Mr Donaldson said: ‘I don’t think anybody will be comforted but there will be widespread relief that this has happened and that we finally see an end to his evil regime.

‘This now clears the way for what we hope will be the conclusion of our negotiations with the new government to settle the legal claims which have been made by a small number of IRA victims.

‘We will be pressing for the establishment of a fund to assist the wider group of victims who suffered as a result of Gaddafi’s sponsorship of the IRA and his arming of the IRA during the earliest years of the troubles.’

Two boys, Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball, died in the IRA blast in Warrington. Several other mass killings across the UK were blamed on Libyan arms.

Victims of the bombing campaigns have echoed the calls for members of the Gaddafi regime to be brought to account.

Victor Barker, whose son 12-year-old son James died in the Omagh bombing in 1998, said: ‘They should be pursued just like Gaddafi was.

Richard Monetti victim of the flight 103 lockerbie bombing
Theodora Cohen who was killed in Lockerbie

Victims: Richard Monetti and Theodora Cohen were both 20-year-old Syracuse University students aboard Pan Am Flight 103 when it exploded over Lockerbie

Grief: Susan Cohen, right, with her husband Dan hold a picture of their daughter Theodora as they appeal for answers in 2000Grief: Susan Cohen, right, with her husband Dan hold a picture of their daughter Theodora as they appeal for answers in 2000

She said that the regime was responsible for supplying the Semtex and munitions that has now armed the Real IRA.

‘Gaddafi was an incredibly two faced and self-centred for most of his life and the people of Libya can now get some kind of life back,’ she told the Telegraph.

Northern Ireland politicians began talks with Tripoli in 2009 to secure compensation for 160 victims of the Provisional IRA.

The victims’ group – which acted after Libyan authorities paid 1.5 billion dollars (£918.7 million) to a US compensation fund for victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing – has not put a figure on the amount of compensation it is seeking.

The UN Security Council voted to completely lift sanctions against Libya in 2003, but at the time the DUP’s Ian Paisley Jr argued against this because of the lack of compensation for IRA victims.

Northern Ireland MP Jeffrey Donaldson is pushing legal claims from IRA victims Demanding answers: Northern Ireland MP Jeffrey Donaldson is pushing legal claims from IRA victims

As part of the negotiations to lift sanctions, Libyan officials provided information about millions of pounds and 120 tonnes of weaponry which they had given the IRA.

However, the UK government has never secured a compensation deal from Libya for victims of IRA attacks.

During a meeting with Gaddafi in 2009, then-prime minister Gordon Brown declined to put any formal pressure on Libya for compensation.

Mr Brown told a victims’ lawyer at the time that it was not ‘appropriate’ to discuss the claims.

In a letter to lawyer Jason McCue in September 2008, Mr Brown told him that Libya was now an ‘essential partner’ in the fight against terrorism and it was in the UK’s interest for that co-operation to continue.

Mr McCue had been lobbying the UK to raise the matter of compensation at the highest levels of the Libyan government. The victims have already held talks with Libya’s National Transitional Council.

Defence Secretary Richard Hammond told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: ‘In the UK we have got the legacy of the Lockerbie bombing, the family of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, we have got thousands of people who have been affected by IRA activity over the decades fuelled on Gaddafi’s Semtex.

‘To all of those people a cloud has now been lifted. Gaddafi has gone and he can no longer export terror to the rest of the world.’

He said he expected British sales directors now to be ‘packing their suitcases’ and heading off to Libya to ‘take part in the reconstruction’ as soon as possible.

Mr Hammond said the Prime Minister had taken a ‘very bold decision’ to protect the Libyan people from ‘imminent disaster’.

He added: ‘David Cameron is a very cautious and thoughtful person. I don’t think there is any danger of him charging around in a gung-ho frame of mind.

‘He will look very carefully around the world. If we see civilian nationals being threatened, if we see people like Col Gaddafi, who pose a real and present danger to the UK’s own national security, then of course we will look to do what we can to end those situations.’

Libya conflict: Fletcher murder suspect ‘found dead’

Pc Yvonne Fletcher
No-one has ever been charged over the death of PC Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy
One of the men linked with the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher in London in 1984 has been found dead in Libya, according to Libyan opposition officials.

Abdulqadir al-Baghdadi had been named as a suspected “co-conspirator” in the officer’s killing in documents handed to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said the UK wanted to know “a great deal more” about what had happened to him.

The UK is seeking permission for UK investigators to visit Libya.

No-one has ever been charged with the murder of PC Fletcher, who was shot while policing a demonstration outside the Libyan embassy in London.

Mr al-Baghdadi is one of three former diplomatic staff alleged to have been involved in the killing, according to a witness statement given to UK prosecutors – details of which emerged on Saturday.

‘Vendetta’

  • The account named Mr al-Baghdadi and Matouk Mohammed Matouk as “co-conspirators” who could potentially face prosecution, while alleging that it had been Abdulmagid Salah Ameri, a more junior diplomat at the time, who had actually fired the gun.

All diplomatic staff claimed diplomatic immunity after the murder and were deported.

Amid renewed efforts to find PC Fletcher’s killers, officials from the National Transitional Council – the body recognised by the UK as Libya’s sole governing authority – announced that one of the alleged suspects was dead.

“We can confirm today the death of Abdulqadir al-Baghdadi who is the head of the Revolutionary Guards. He was a minister and he was also accused of shooting Yvonne Fletcher in London in 1984,” deputy head of Tripoli’s council, Usama El-Abed, said.

“We just found the body and he was shot in the head.”

He suggested he had been killed as a result of an “inside vendetta” within groups loyal to the deposed former leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The Foreign Office said it could not confirm the death and was seeking more details.

“I don’t want to prejudge immediately what has been announced,” Mr Hague told BBC News.

“Of course, we will want to know a great deal more about what the NTC has said has happened in this case. I am sure the police will want to know what has happened and assess themselves whether it affects their investigation in any way.”

Extradition issue

One senior NTC figure recently appeared to rule out the possibility of any Libyan being extradited to the UK to face charges in connection with the murder, saying it was not allowed under Libyan law.

But Mr Hague insisted that the NTC had offered to co-operate fully with the police inquiry.

“We, in the Foreign Office, will assist the police in pursuing the investigation in the future, including continuing it in Libya itself,” he added. “The change that is happening in Libya may give additional opportunities to take this investigation forward.”

Downing Street has said it would raise the issue with the NTC and hoped an agreement could be reached on granting UK police investigators access to Libya soon.

Prime Minister David Cameron is due to hold talks with members of the NTC in Paris on Thursday as part of an Anglo-French summit designed to pave the way for it to formally assume power in Libya.

The agenda for the summit was one of a range of issues discussed by ministers in a meeting of the National Security Council, also including efforts to track down Col Gaddafi and a full-scale humanitarian aid drive once fighting has ceased.

Rebel leaders have warned that unless troops loyal to Col Gaddafi in the city of Sirte – his birthplace and one remaining stronghold – surrender by Saturday, they will use force.

Yvonne Fletcher (pic: PA)Yvonne Fletcher

Murdered PC Yvonne ­Fletcher’s suspected killer will not be given up by Libyan rebels – despite William Hague insisting that he will.

Junior diplomat Abdulmagid Salah Ameri has emerged as the prime suspect in the 1984 killing of unarmed Yvonne.

She was 25 when she was gunned down outside the Libyan embassy in London.

Painter and decorator David Robertson claimed he had seen Ameri pointing a gun out of the embassy, according to a ­previously secret report which was passed to the Crown ­Prosecution Service in 2007.

The revelation brought hope that Yvonne’s killer could finally be brought to justice but members of Libya’s National Transitional Council insisted they would block any attempt to extradite him.

Hassan al-Sagheer, a legal expert and member of the NTC, said that the rebels did not want to hand anyone over.

Mr al-Sagheer said: “Libya has never extradited or handed over its citizens to a foreign country. We shall continue with this principle.”

Fellow NTC member Fawzi al-Ali added: “According to our laws, no one can be handed over unless there are previous agreements or special arrangements to do so.”

However the Foreign Secretary William Hague yesterday played down the rebuff, which is highly ­embarrassing for the Government after the help Britain has given the rebels.

Mr Hague said NTC chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil had promised on his recent UK visit that he would help bring the police officer’s killer to justice.

The minister claimed: “When Chairman Jalil of the National Transitional Council was with us in London in May he committed himself and the council to co-operating fully.

“It is true, it is a fact, there is no extradition treaty with Libya, but we look to them to co-operate fully. So I would not take what has been reported today as the last word.”

Mr Hague said that the ongoing police investigation into Yvonne’s death made it “quite difficult” for him to comment any further.

“The police investigation has full diplomatic support and NTC have promised full co-operation,” he added.

“LEST WE FORGET” THE LEGENDARY HEROIC SAS SOLDIER – JOHN McALEESE (25 April 1949 – 26 August 2011)

COUNTER REVOLUTIONARY WARFARE (CRW) , COUNTER TERRORISM AND TERRORISM HERE ON DISPLAY  AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL

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ABOVE IS A RARE  JOHN McALEESE ( SIGNED JOHN MAC)  HAND SIGNED             ( SIGNED JOHN MAC) LIMITED EDITION HECKLER AND KOCH POSTER COMMEMORATING THE SUCCESSFUL SAS OPERATION NIMROD STORMING OF THE IRANIAN EMBASSY TO END THE  SEIGE ON MAY 5, 1980 . ON DISPLAY HERE IN AMONGST OUR SAS WHO DARES WINS EXHIBITION AT THE JAIL .

DO COME VISIT AND SEE OUR EVER EXPANDING  AND HISTORICALLY  INTRIGUING PRIVATELY OWNED COLLECTION OF SAS MEMORABILIA AND EPHEMERA ….HOPEFULLY THIS  PROVIDES YOU AS VISITORS WITH A  FASCINATING INSIGHT INTO THE HEROIC SAS AND INDEED OTHER SPECIAL FORCES THAT WE FEATURE HERE ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL ALONG WITH OUR MASS OF OTHER POLICE  AND TRUE CRIME  EXHIBIT MATERIAL

HERE BELOW IS AN ORIGINAL ORDER OF SERVICE OF THE SAS FUNERAL FOR  JOHN McALEESE ALONG WITH SOME INFORMATIVE BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND INTERACTIVE VIDEO FOOTAGE .

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RIP JOHN McALEESE (25 April 1949 – 26 August 2011)
BELOW IS AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE  JOHN McALEESE HAND SIGNED ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPH (SIGNED AS JOHN MAC ) . ALSO SIGNED BY PETE WINNER (AS SOLDIER I ) … AND PETE SCHOLEY . THE PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS THE THEN PRIME MINISTER – MARGARET THATCHER WITH  THREE UN-NAMED MEMBERS OF THE SAS  OUTSIDE THE SAS “KILLING HOUSE” IN 1980 SHORTLY AFTER THE IRANIAN EMBASSY SIEGE,  NOW ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL AS PART OF THE “SAS -WHO DARES WINS” EXHIBITION

JSN_4583BELOW IS THE ORIGINAL METROPOLITAN POLICE FORENSIC EXHIBIT IDENTIFICATION TAG (FORM 420) THAT WAS ATTACHED TO THE WEAPON FIRED BY SAS TROOPER- JOHN McALEESE DURING THE IRANIAN EMBASSY SIEGE  ON THE 5TH MAY 1980. PERSONALLY SIGNED BY BOTH HIM AND THE INVESTIGATING OFFICERS WHO WERE HANDED ALL THE USED WEAPONS AFTER THE SUCCESSFUL OPERATION . NOW ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL AS PART OF THE “SAS -WHO DARES WINS” EXHIBITION

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FREEDOM Honour for SAS HERO

SAS hero John McAleese, who was involved in the dramatic raid that ended the 1980 siege on the Iranian Embassy in London, has died, the Foreign Office confirmed.
Published on Thursday 1 September 2011 14:23

an UNSUNG hero is finally to be honoured by his home town.

John McAleese, the SAS legend from Laurieston who led the dramatic raid on the Iranian embassy in London more than 30 years ago, died in Greece last Friday.

Now there are moves to posthumously award him the Freedom of Falkirk, an honour most recently given to servicemen and women from the Second World War.

However, the priority for his grief-stricken family is to bring the former soldier’s body home to allow the funeral to take place.

Last night (Wednesday), his twin brother Billy (62) said: “We don’t know when we’ll get him back. Apparently it costs £20,000 and I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

He added that he was still struggling to come to terms with the loss of his twin, who was born 20 minutes after him.

Billy said: “My son got a text message from John’s daughter Hayley and told me. I still can’t believe it.”

The pair were brought up, along with older sister Eleanor, in the family home in Livingston Drive by parents Bill and Grace.

They went to Laurieston Primary then Graeme High School. John had a variety of jobs as a teenager, including at Grangemouth Docks and the British Aluminium.

A former Army cadet, he joined the Royal Engineers in 1970, serving around the world for over 23 years. He spent 17 years with 22 SAS and was often seconded to protection duty, guarding prime ministers and royalty.

But it was his major role in rescuing 19 hostages in 1980 that put him in the spotlight. Days earlier, six armed men had taken the hostages and demanded the release of political prisoners.

The world watched as the events unfolded in dramatic TV coverage. Then a Lance Corporal, John was in full view on the balcony, laying the explosive charge and leaping back as the blast blew in the windows.

Billy said: “I saw it on TV and, although they were masked, I knew it was him. I phoned his wife to ask where he was and she said he was on holiday in London but I knew that wasn’t true.

“He didn’t talk a lot about what he did, he couldn’t. John got the Military Medal while in Northern Ireland but I never heard why.”

After leaving the Army, John worked as a security consultant and in 2003 co-presented a BBC TV programme ‘The SAS: Are You Tough Enough?’

However, two years ago he was back in the spotlight but in tragic circumstances. His son Paul, a sergeant in the 2nd Battalion the Rifles, was killed in Afghanistan.

Announcing her father’s death, daughter Hayley (28) said she believed that he had died of a broken heart on the eve of the anniversary of Paul being killed.

Married twice, John is also survived by son Kieran and step-daughter Jessica.

Announcing plans for the Falkirk honour, Provost Pat Reid said: “He was very much an unsung hero and it would be appropriate for us to confer this honour, the highest the district can give, to mark his courage.

ROBBERIES OF THE CENTURY -THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY AND BEYOND

Here are some great documentary videos looking at 4 major heists of the 20th Centuary. The Great Train Robbery, Loomis Fargo, Security Express and the $200 million Gardner Museum art theft….

SCENE OF THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY 1963

LOOMIS FARGO ROBBERY SCENE – USA

FUGITIVE ROBBER – RONNIE KNIGHT SEEN HERE WITH FORMER LOVER BARBARA WINDSOR (ACTRESS)

HEADLINE NEWS REFERENCE THE $200 MILLION GARDER MUSEUM ART THEFT

THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY -1963

The Great Train Robbery is the name given to a £2.6 million train robbery committed on 8 August 1963 at Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn near Mentmore in BuckinghamshireEngland.[1] The bulk of the stolen money was not recovered. It was probably the largest robbery by value in British history.

The train robbers gang consisted of 17 full members who were to receive an equal share, including 15 people who were at the actual robbery and two key informants.[edit]The Train Robbers, Their Informants and Associates

The gang of 15 men from London was led by Bruce Reynolds, who was ably assisted by Gordon Goody, Charlie Wilson and Ronald “Buster” Edwards, with Roger Cordrey their key electronics expert who was an accomplished train robber already. The two key informants who brought the idea to robbers’ attention were Solicitor’s Clerk Brian Field and the unknown “Ulsterman” who was never identified or caught. The most famous member of the gang, Ronnie Biggs, had only a minor role, which was to bring the replacement train driver (who, it turned out, failed at his task).

Bruce Reynolds

The unofficial leader of the gang and the undoubted brains behind the strategy to rob the train, Bruce Richard Reynolds was born on 7 September 1931 at Charing Cross Hospital, the Strand, London, to Thomas Richard and Dorothy Margaret (née Keen). His mother died in 1935, and he had trouble living with his dad and stepmother, so he often stayed with either of his grandmothers. He was jailed for three years for several counts of breaking and entering, and upon his release quickly started re-offending. He quickly joined a gang with future best friend Harry Booth and future brother-in-law John Daly. Later on he did some work with Jimmy White and met Buster Edwards at Charlie Richardson’s club. Richardson in turn introduced him to Gordon Goody.[2]

[edit]Douglas Gordon Goody

Douglas Gordon Goody is often described as the gang’s deputy leader, and he was definitely a key organiser. He was born in Putney in March 1930, and was of Irish descent, and in the early sixties he joined Buster Edward’s gang and helped rob various easy targets.[3]

[edit]Charles Frederick (Charlie) Wilson

The most dangerous of the Great Train Robbers, ‘the Silent Man’ Charlie Wilson, was also the most popular. A biography has been written of Wilson: Killing Charlie (2004) by Wensley Clarkson, first published by Mainstream Publishing Co (Edinburgh) Ltd (ISBN 9781845960353).

With a heavy build and handsome appearance with piercing blue eyes, Charlie was an intimidating presence at an early age. He was born on 30 June 1932 to Bill and Mabel Wilson in Battersea. He was childhood friends with Jimmy Hussey and Tommy Wisbey and also with Bruce Reynolds and Gordon Goody. Later on he met Ronald ‘Buster’ Edwards and youthful driving enthusiasts and car thieves Mickey Ball and Roy James. From 1948 to 1950 he was called up for National Service, and in 1955 he married Patricia (Pat) Osbourne, with whom he had three children. From an early age he turned to crime and spurned his father’s legitimate but low-income wage. While he did have legitimate work in his in-laws’ grocer’s shop, he also was a thief and his criminal proceeds went into buying shares in various gambling enterprises. He went to jail for short spells for numerous offences, and on one occasion befriended Jimmy Rose who became a lifelong friend. In 1960 he began to team up with Bruce Reynolds and plan to make the criminal big league.[4]

[edit]Ronald “Buster” Edwards

Ronald Christopher Edwards was born in 27 January 1932 at Lambeth, the son of a barman. After leaving school he worked in a sausage factory, where he began his criminal career by stealing meat to sell on the post-war black market. During his National Service in the RAF he was detained for stealing cigarettes. When he returned to south London, he ran a drinking club and became a professional criminal.

He married June Rose in 1952. They had a daughter, Nicky.[5]

[edit]Brian Field

Brian Arthur Field was a solicitor’s managing clerk for John Wheater & Co. Although he was only 28 at the time of the robbery, he was already much more successful than his boss, John Wheater. Field drove a new Jaguar and had a house, “Kabri” (an amalgam of Karin and Brian Field), with his wife in PangbourneWest Berkshire, while his boss owned a battered Ford and lived in a run down neighbourhood. Part of the reason for Field’s success was not that he was not averse to giving Goody and Edwards information about what his clients had in their country houses, making them prime targets for the thieves.[6] On one occasion he described the contents and layout of a house near Weybridge where wife Karin had once been a nanny.[7]

Prior to the robbery Field had represented Buster Edwards and Gordon Goody. He had arranged Buster’s defence when he had been caught with a stolen car, and had met Goody at a nightclub in Soho. Field was called upon to assist in Goody’s defence in the aftermath of the “Airport Job”, which was a robbery carried out on 27 November 1962 at a branch of Barclays Bank at London Airport. This was the big practice robbery that the South West Gang had done before the Great Train Robbery.[6] Field was successful in arranging bail for Goody and Charlie Wilson.

Field was born on 15 December 1934 and was immediately put up for adoption. He served two years in the Royal Army Service Corps, seeing service in Korea. When discharged from the military it was with ‘a very good character’.[8] The Korean War lasted from 25 June 1950 until an Armistice was signed on 27 July 1953, with 63,000 British troops involved (part of over a million troops on the South Korean side). Field was 18 when the war was over. While the Service Corps were considered combat personnel, they were primarily associated with transport and logistics.

[edit]The Robbers

Name (Nickname) Role in the Gang Association
Bruce Richard Reynolds Leader of the Gang Leader of the South West Gang
Douglas Gordon (Gordon) Goody Deputy and Organiser Member of the South West Gang
Charles Frederick (Charlie) Wilson “Treasurer” and Organiser Member of the South West Gang
Ronald Christopher (Buster) Edwards Organiser Member of the South West Gang
Brian Arthur Field Key Informant and Organised the mock purchase of Leatherslade Farm, the gang’s hideout Solicitor’s Clark and organised the defense of Gordon Goody and Buster Edwards in previous court cases.
The Ulsterman Key Informant and Organiser Contact with Gordon Goody and Buster Edwards arranged through another man who contacted Brian Field.
Roy James Getaway Driver and Carriage Uncoupler Example
John Daly Train Stopper and Getaway Driver Brother in Law of Reynolds and associate of South West Gang.
Bill “Flossy” Jennings Carriage Uncoupler Associate of South West Gang
James Edward (Jimmy) White Quartermaster and Carriage Uncoupler Generally solitary thief who knew Reynolds
Alf Thomas Muscle Associate of Jimmy White.
Roger John Cordrey Electronics Expert and Train Stopper South Coast Raiders
Bob Welch Organising and Muscle South Coast Raiders
Thomas (Tommy) Wisbey Muscle South Coast Raiders
James (Big Jim) Hussey Muscle South Coast Raiders
Frank Monroe Muscle South Coast Raiders
Ronald Biggs Contact for Replacement Train Driver Associate of Reynolds

The Great Train Robbery

The robbery was planned by several parties with no overall mastermind, although the robbery operation itself was planned and executed by Bruce Reynolds, the target and the information came from an unknown individual dubbed the “Ulsterman”. The key field organisers were Gordon Goody, Buster Edwards, and Charlie Wilson, with Brian Field being the key link between the robbers and the informant.[edit]Planning the robbery

According to one account by Piers Paul Read (1978), in January 1963, shortly after the furore of the Airport Job had died down, Brian Field called Gordon Goody to a meeting at the Old Bailey and asked him whether he was interested in a large sum of money that only a large gang could steal. The following day, Goody and Edwards met with Field at his office at James and Wheater (New Qubec Street near Marble Arch). There they met with Field and another man called “Mark” who was well dressed, aged around 50, with hair turned silvery grey and who spoke with a smooth accent. “Mark” then convinced them to meet the actual informant and drove Edwards and Goody to Finsbury Park where they met another man they nicknamed the “Ulsterman”, who was a slightly balding middle aged man, who spoke with a Northern Irish lilt (where Goody had grown up). The “Ulsterman” told them about the night mail trains doing runs between London and Glasgow with large amounts of money. Edwards and Goody then went and discussed the matter with Reynolds and Wilson and it was agreed that they should make a serious attempt. In the meantime they would recruit others and do practice train robberies. On 31 July, Goody and Edwards met with the “Ulsterman” for one last strategy meeting in Hyde Park. They agreed that his share of the loot would be delivered at Brian Field’s house. It is at this meeting that Gordon Goody claimed that when he was in the toilet, Goody checked the pockets of his suit jacket and saw the name and address of the owner, presumably the “Ulsterman”.

[edit]The Royal Mail train

At 6:50 p.m. on Wednesday 7 August 1963 the travelling post office (TPO) “Up Special” train set off from Glasgow Central StationScotland en-route to Euston Station in London. The train was hauled by an English Electric Type 4 (later Class 40) diesel-electric locomotive numbered at the time as D326 (later renumbered 40126). The train consisted of 12 carriages and carried 72 Post Office staff who sorted mail.

The mail was loaded on the train at Glasgow and also during station stops en-route, as well as from line side collection points where local post office staff would hang mail sacks on elevated trackside hooks which were caught by nets deployed by the onboard staff. Sorted mail on the train could also be dropped-off at the same time. This process of exchange allowed mail to be distributed locally without delaying the train with more frequent station stops.

The second carriage behind the engine was known as the HVP (High Value Package) coach where registered mail was sorted and this contained valuables including large quantities of money, registered parcels and packages. Usually the value of these items would have been in the region of £300,000, but because there had been a Bank Holiday weekend in Scotland, the total on the day of the robbery was £2.6 million—worth a little over £40 million in 2010.[9]

View towards ‘Sears Crossing’ where the robbers took control of the train

Bridego Bridge, the scene of the robbery

[edit]Stopping the train

At just after 3 a.m. the driver Jack Mills from Crewe stopped the train on West Coast Main Line at a red signal light in Ledburn, at a place known as ‘Sears Crossing’ between Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire and Cheddington in Buckinghamshire. However, unknown to him, the signal equipment had been tampered with by the robbers. The robbers had covered the green signal light and connected a six-volt Ever Ready battery to power the red signal light. The locomotive’s second man, 26-year-old David Whitby (also from Crewe), climbed down from the cab to call the signalman from a railway trackside telephone, only to find the cables had been cut. Upon returning to the train, he was thrown down the embankment of the railway track by one of the robbers.

The robbers now encountered a problem. They needed to move the train to a location where they could load their ex-army dropside truck with the money and had decided to do so at bridge No.127 (known as ‘Bridego Bridge’) approximately half a mile (about 800m) further along the track. One of the robbers had spent months befriending railway staff and familiarising himself with the layout and operation, but it was decided instead to use an experienced train driver to move the train from the signals to the bridge after uncoupling the unnecessary carriages. However, the person they selected (later referred to as “Stan Agate”) was unable to operate the English Electric Class 40 mainline diesel-electric locomotive, because he was only experienced with shunting (switching) type locomotives on the Southern Region. It was quickly decided that the original locomotive driver Jack Mills should move the train to the stopping point near the bridge which was indicated by a white sheet stretched between poles on the track. Mills was initially reluctant to move the train so one of the gang struck him on the head. Since Ronnie Biggs‘ only task was to supervise “Stan Agate’s” participation in the robbery, when it became obvious that Stan was not needed to drive the train, he and Ronnie were banished to the waiting truck to help load the mail bags.

[edit]The robbery

At Bridego bridge the train was stopped and the robbers’ assault force attacked the High Value Packages (HVP) carriage. Frank Dewhurst was in charge of the three other postal workers (Leslie Penn, Joseph Ware and John O’Connor) in the HVP carriage. Thomas Kett, Assistant Inspector in charge of the train from Carlisle to London Euston was also in the carriage. Both Dewhurst and Kett were hit with various coshes when they made a vain attempt to stop the robbers’ storming the carriage. Once the robbers entered the carriage, the postal workers were quickly detained in a corner of the carriage and made to lie face down on the floor. There was no real violent resistance however and there was not a single police officer or security guard in charge of securing nearly £3M pounds. Mills and Whitby were then brought into the carriage, handcuffed together and dropped beside the sorters.[10]

The robbers removed all but 7 of the 128 sacks from the HVP carriage, which they transferred quickly in about 25 minutes to the waiting truck by forming a human chain. The gang departed 30 minutes after the robbery had begun and in an effort to mislead any potential witnesses, in addition to their Austin Loadstar truck, they used two Land Rover vehicles both of which had the registration plates BMG 757 A.

[edit]The getaway and the clean up

They then headed along back roads listening for police broadcasts on a VHF radio and arrived at Leatherslade Farm between Oakley and Brill in Buckinghamshire, which was a run down farm 27 miles from the crime scene that they had bought two months earlier as their hideout.

At the farm they counted the proceeds of the robbery and divided it into 17 full shares and several ‘drinks’. The precise amounts differs according to the source, but the full shares were around 150,000 pounds.

It quickly became apparent that the police believed that they were still in the area rather than fled to London, so the plans changed from leaving on Sunday to leaving on Friday, and the vehicles they had at the farm could no longer be used because they had been seen by the train staff. Brian Field came on Thursday and took Roy to London to pick up his share of the loot and to take Roy James to London to find an extra vehicle. Bruce Reynolds and John Daly picked up cars, one for Jimmy White and the other for Bruce, John, Ronnie Biggs and the replacement train driver. Brian, wife Karin and his associate “Mark” brought the vans and drove the rest of the gang that remained to ‘Kabri’ to recover. This was far from ideal as he had not planned to get this involved, but his pretty wife Karin cooly accepted the change in plans.

The clean-up of the farm had been arranged with “Mark” by Brian Field to be carried out after the robbers had left (although the robbers spent much time wiping the place down to be free of prints). According to Buster Edwards, he nicked 10,000 pounds in ten shilling notes to help pay “Marks” drink. On Monday however, Charlie Wilson rang Brian Field to check whether the farm had been cleaned, and did not believe Field’s assurances. He called a meeting with Edwards, Reynolds, Daly and James and they agreed that they needed to be sure. They called Brian Field to a meeting on Tuesday where he admitted he could not be sure that the farm had been cleaned. Wilson would have killed him there and then but was restrained by the others. By the time they got ready to go back to the farm however, they heard some bad news.

[edit]The loot

£2,631,684 was stolen from the train. The bulk of the haul was in £1 notes and £5 notes (both the older white note and the newer blue note which was half its size). There were also 10 shilling notes and Irish and Scottish money.

[edit]Raising The Alarm

The robbers had cut all the telephone lines in the vicinity, but one of the trainmen caught a slow train to Cheddington, which he reached at 4:30 a.m. to raise the alarm.

[edit]The Aylesbury investigation

This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed(August 2011)

At 5 a.m., Chief Superintendent Malcolm Fewtrell (1909–2005), head of the Buckinghamshire Police Crime Investigation Department (CID), arrived at the abandoned postal carriages, the crime scene, where he supervised evidence-gathering. He then went to Cheddington Station where statements were taken from the driver and postal workers. One member of the gang had made the mistake of telling the postal staff not to move for half an hour and this suggested to the police that their hideout could not be more than 35 miles away. Upon interviewing the witnesses, it appeared that about 15 hooded men dressed in blue boiler suits were involved, but there was little extra that could be gleaned.

By lunchtime of the following day, it became obvious to Fewtrell that extra resources were needed to cope with the scale of the investigation and the Buckinghamshire Chief Constable referred the case to Scotland Yard. George Hatherill, Commander of the C Department and Earnest (Ernie) Millen, Detective Chief Superintendent, and Head of the Flying Squad were initially in charge of the London side of the investigation. They sent Detective Superintendent Gerald McArthur and Detective Sergeant John Pritchard to assist the Buckinghamshire Police.

The police then undertook a major search, fanning out from the crime scene after having failed to find any forensic evidence there. A watch was put on the seaports. The Postmaster General Reginald Bevins offered a £10,000 reward to “the first person giving information leading to the apprehension and conviction of the persons responsible for the robbery”.

[edit]Discovery of Leatherslade Farm

Following a tip-off from a herdsman who used a field adjacent to Leatherslade Farm, a police sergeant and constable called there five days after the robbery. The farm was deserted but they found the truck used by the robbers which had been hastily painted yellow, the Land Rovers, a large quantity of food, bedding, sleeping bags, Post Office sacks, registered mail packages, bank note wrappers and a monopoly set.

It was determined that while the farm had been cleaned for fingerprints, there were some finger and palm prints found (presumably of the robbers), including those on a ketchup bottle and a Monopoly board game (which was used after the robbery but with real money).

[edit]The London investigation

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The London side of the investigation then continued under Detective Chief Superintendent Tommy Butler who replaced Ernest (Ernie) Millen as the head of the flying squad shortly after Millen became promoted to Deputy Commander to George Hatherill. On Monday, 12 August 1963 Butler was appointed to head the Police investigation of the London connection and quickly formed a six man Train Robbery Squad.

With Leatherslade Farm finally found on 13 August 1963, the day after Tommy Butler was appointed to the head the London investigation, the police were confident of a breakthrough. Unfortunately the decision to publish photos of the wanted suspects was already made by Hatherill and Millen, despite strong protests from Tommy Butler and Frank Williams. This resulted in most of the robbers going to ground.

[edit]Tommy Butler the Thief Taker

Tommy Butler was a shrewd choice to take over the Flying Squad and in particular the Train Robbery Squad, and became arguably the most renowned head of the flying squad in its history. He was known variously as “Mr Flying Squad”, as “One Day Tommy” for the speed with which he apprehended criminals and as the “Grey Fox” for his shrewdness. He was Scotland Yard’s most formidable thief taker, and as an unmarried man who still lived with his mother, he had a fanatical dedication to the job. Butler worked long hours and expected all members of the squad to do the same. The squad later had to work out rotations whereby one member would go home to rest as otherwise they were getting only 3 hours of sleep per night and no time to eat healthily or see their families. When the squad tried to get him to ease off on the working conditions, Butler was enraged and threatened to send them back to their normal roles. Butler was very secretive, with Jack Slipper claiming in his book ‘Slipper of the Yard’ (1981) that “he wouldn’t even tell his own left hand what the right one was doing”. This meant that often the Train Robbery Squad were dispatched on specific errands with no knowledge of how they fitted in with the overall investigation.

[edit]The Train Robbery Squad

The six man Train Robbery Squad was: Detective Inspector Frank Williams, Detective Sergeant Steve Moore, Detective Sergeant Jack Slipper, Detective Sergeant Jim Nevill, Detective Sergeant Lou Van Dyck and Detective Constable Tommy Thorburn. Frank Williams, a quiet man, was the senior officer and his specialty was dealing with informants, and had the best working knowledge of the South London criminal fraternity in the force. One of the squad, Jack Slipper would later became Head of the Flying Squad, and would still be involved in the case many years into the future.

[edit]Capture of Roger Cordrey

The first gang member to be caught was Roger Cordrey, who was with his friend, William Boal, who was helping him lie low, in return for the payment of old debts. They were living in a rented fully furnished flat above a florist’s shop in Wimborne Road, Moordown, Bournemouth. The Bournemouth police were tipped off by police widow Ethel Clark, when Boal and Cordrey paid rent for a garage, three months up-front, all in used 10 shilling notes in Tweedale Road off Castle Lane West.

Their arrests were made by Sgt. Stan Davis and Probationary Constable Gordon ‘Charlie’ Case.[11]

[edit]Capture of the Others

Other arrests soon followed and eight of the gang members and several associates were caught.

On 16 August 1963, two people who had decided to take a morning stroll in Dorking woods discoved a brief case, a hold all and a camel skin bag, all containing money. They called police, who also discovered another brief case full of money in the woods. All up there was 100,900 pounds. They also found a camel skin bag with a receipt made out in favour of Herr and Frau Field by the Cafe Pension Restaurant, Sonnenbichel, Hindeland, Prov. Allagaen. The Surrey police delivered the money and the receipt to Fewtrell and McArthur in Aylesbury, who knew by then that Brian Field was a clerk at James and Wheater who had acted in the purchase of Leatherslade Farm. They quickly confirmed through Interpol that Brian and Karin Field had stayed at the Pension Sonnebichel in February that year. In addition they knew that Field had acted for Gordon Goody and other criminals.

Several weeks later, the police went to “Kabri” to interview Field who calmly (for someone whose relatives had dumped a large part at least of the loot) provided a cover story that implicated Lennie Field as the purchaser of the farm and his boss John Wheater as the conveyancer. He admitted to visiting the farm once with Lennie Field, but assumed it was an investment of his brother (Alexander Field) who Brian Field had unsuccessfully defended in a recent court case. Field, not knowing of the receipt, readily confirmed that he and his wife had been to Germany on a holiday and gave them the details of the place they stayed. On 15 September 1963 Brian Field was arrested, with his boss John Wheater arrested on 17 September. Lennie Field had already been arrested on 14 September.[5]

  1. Charlie Wilson (22 August 1963)
  2. Ronnie Biggs (4 September 1963)
  3. Jimmy Hussey (7 September 1963)
  4. Tommy Wisbey (11 September 1963)
  5. Brian Field (15 September 1963)
  6. Gordon Goody (10 October 1963)
  7. Bob Welch (25 October 1963)
  8. John Daly (3 December 1963)
  9. Roy James (10 December 1963)

Jack Slipper (who later became Head of the Flying Squad), was involved in the capture of Roy James, Ronald Biggs, Jimmy Hussey, and John Daly which he describes in detail in his autobiography.

[edit]1964 Aylesbury Trial of the Great Train Robbers

The trial of the robbers began at Aylesbury Assizes, Buckinghamshire on 20 January 1964. Because it was necessary to accommodate a large number of lawyers and journalists, the existing court was deemed too small and the offices of Aylesbury Rural District Council were specially converted for the event. The defendants were brought to the court each day from Aylesbury Prison in a compartmentalised van, out of view of the large crowd of spectators. Mr Justice Edmund Davis presided over the trial which lasted 51 days and included 613 exhibits and 240 witnesses. The jury retired to the Grange Youth Centre in Aylesbury to consider their verdict.[12]

On 11 February 1964, there was a sensation, when John Daly was found to have no case to answer when his councel, Mr. W. Raeburn QC claimed that the evidence against his client was limited to his fingerprints being on the monopoly set found at Leatherslade Farm and that he went underground after the robbery. He went on to say that Daly had played the Monopoly game with his brother in law Bruce Reynolds earlier in 1963, and that he had gone underground because he was associated with people publicly sought by the police. This was not proof of involvement in a conspiracy. The judge agreed, and the jury were directed to acquit him.[13] Frank Williams was shocked when this occurred, because due to Tommy Butler’s refusal to share information, he had no knowledge of the fact that his prints were only on the monopoly set. If he had of known this, he could have asked Daly questions about the monopoly set and robbed him of his very effective alibi. Daly was also clever however, in avoiding having a photo taken when he was arrested until he could shave his beard. This meant that there was no photo to show the lengths he had gone to, in order to change his appearance. No action was taken against Butler however, for his mistake in not ensuring the case against Daly was more thorough.[14]

On 15 April 1964 the proceedings ended with the judge describing the robbery as “a crime of sordid violence inspired by vast greed” and passing sentences of 30 years imprisonment on seven of the robbers.[15]

[edit]Sentencing

The eleven men sentenced all felt aggrieved at the lengthy jail time, particularly Bill Boal and Lennie Field who were innocent of the charges against them. The other men (aside from Wheater) were aggrieved at the excessive nature of the sentences, which were worse than what many murderers were given. At that stage there was no parole system in place and so sentences tended to be shorter, but the prisoners served 100% of the sentence.

Name Age Occupation Sentence
John DALY  ?  ? N/A – No Case To Answer
Ronald Arthur BIGGS 34 Carpenter 30 years (25 years for Conspiracy to rob and 30 years for Armed Robbery)
Douglas Gordon GOODY 34 Hairdresser 30 years (25 years for Conspiracy to rob and 30 years for Armed Robbery)
Charles Frederick WILSON 31 Market Trader 30 years (25 years for Conspiracy to rob and 30 years for Armed Robbery)
Thomas William WISBEY 34 Bookmaker 30 years (25 years for Conspiracy to rob and 30 years for Armed Robbery)
Robert WELCH 34 Club Proprietor 30 years (25 years for Conspiracy to rob and 30 years for Armed Robbery)
James HUSSEY 34 Painter 30 years (25 years for Conspiracy to rob and 30 years for Armed Robbery)
Roy John JAMES 28 Racing Motorist and Silversmith 30 years (25 years for Conspiracy to rob and 30 years for Armed Robbery)
Roger John CORDREY 42 Florist 20 years (20 years for Conspiracy to rob and various receiving stolen goods charges)
Brian Arthur FIELD 29 Solicitor’s Clerk 25 years (20 years for Conspiracy to rob and 5 years for obstructing justice)
Leonard Denis FIELD 31 Merchant Seaman 25 years (20 years for Conspiracy to rob and 5 years for obstructing justice)
John Denby WHEATER 41 Solicitor 3 years
William Gerald BOAL 50 Engineer 24 years

[edit]July 1964 Appeals

On 13 July 1964, the appeals by Lennie Field and Brian Field (no relation) against the charges of Conspiracy to Rob were allowed. This meant that their sentences were effectively reduced to 5 years only. On the 14th July 1964, the appeals by Roger Cordrey and Bill Boal were allowed, with the convictions for Conspiracy to Rob quashed, leaving only the receiving charges. Justice Fenton Atkinson concluded that a miscarriage of justice would result if Boal’s charges were upheld, given that his age, physique and temperament made him an unlikely train robber. Luckily as the oldest robber, Cordrey was also deemed to be innocent of the conspiracy as his prints had not been found at Leatherslade. Brian Field on the other hand was only reluctantly acquitted of the robbery with Justice Atkinson stating that he was not surprised if he was not only part of the conspiracy, but also one of the robbers. The charges against the other men were all upheld. In the end Lennie Field and Bill Boal got some measure of justice, but it was not enough – Boal died in prison in 1970 after a long illness.[16]

[edit]Escape of the Great Train Robbers

Immediately after the trial, two of the Great Train Robbers, Charlie Wilson and Ronnie Biggs escaped from captivity.

On 12 August 1964, Charlie Wilson escaped from Winson Green Prison in Birmingham in under 3 minutes, with the escape being unprecedented in that a 3 man team broke into the prison to extricate him. His escape team were never caught, and the leader nicknamed “Frenchy” disappeared from the London criminal scene by the late 60s. Two weeks after his escape Wilson was in Paris for plastic surgery and to grow out his prison haircut. By November 1965, Wilson was in Mexico City visiting old friends Bruce Reynolds and Buster Edwards.[17] Wilson’s escape was yet another dramatic twist in the train robbery saga.[18]

Eleven months after Wilson’s escape, in July 1965, Ronnie Biggs escaped from Wandsworth Prison, only 15 months into his sentence, with a furniture van parking alongside the prison walls and a ladder dropped over the 30 foot wall into the prison during outside exercise time, to allow four prisoners to escape, including Biggs. The escape was planned by recently released prisoner Paul Seaborne, with the assistance of two other ex-convicts Ronnie Leslie and Ronnie Black and support from Charmian Biggs. The plot saw two other prisoners interfere with the warders, and allow Biggs and friend Eric Flower to escape. Seaborne was later caught by Butler and sentenced to 4 and 1/2 years and Ronnie Leslie 3 years for being the getaway driver. The two other prisoners who took advantage of the Biggs escape were captured after 3 months. Biggs and Flower paid significant money to get smuggled to Paris for plastic surgery. Biggs said he had to escape because of the length of the sentence and the severity of the prison conditions.[19]

The escape of Wilson and Biggs meant that five of the robbers were now on the run, with Tommy Butler in hot pursuit.

[edit]On The Trail of the Great Train Robbers

With the other four robbers on the run fled out of the country, only Jimmy White was left in the United Kingdom.

Jimmy White was a renowned locksmith/thief and had already been on the run for ten years before the robbery, and had “a remarkable ability to be invisible, to merge with his surroundings and become the ultimate Mr Nobody.” He was a wartime paratrooper and a veteran of Arnhem.[20] According to Piers Paul Read in his 1978 book “The Train Robbers”, Jimmy White was a solitary thief, not known to work with either firm, he should have had a good chance of remaining undetected altogether, yet was known to be one of the Train Robbers almost at once – first by other criminals and then by the police. He was unfortunate in that Brian Field’s relatives dumped luggage containing 100,000 pounds only a mile from a site where White had bought a caravan and hidden 30,000 pounds in the paneling. In addition, a group of men claiming to be the Flying Squad, broke into his flat and took a brief case with 8,500 pounds in it. Throughout his 3 years on the run with wife Sheree, and baby son Stephen he was taken advantage of or let down by his friends and associates. On 10 April 1966 a new friend recognised him from photos in a newspaper and informed police. They arrested him at Littlestone while he was at home. He only had 8,000 pounds to hand back to them, with the rest long gone. He was tried in June 1966 at Leicester Assizes and Justice Nield only sentenced him to 18 years jail (far less than the original terms of 30 years).

Charlie Wilson took up residence outside Montreal, Canada on Rigaud Mountain in the upper-middle-class neighbourhood where the large, secluded properties are surrounded by trees. Wilson lived under the name Ronald Alloway, a name borrowed from a Fulham shopkeeper. He joined an exclusive golf club and participated in his local community activities. It was only when he invited his brother-in-law over from the UK for Christmas that Scotland Yard was able to track him down and recapture him. They waited three months before making their move, in hopes that Wilson would lead them to Reynolds, the last suspect still to be apprenhended. Wilson was arrested on 25 January 1968 by Tommy Butler. Many in Rigaud petitioned to allow his wife and five daughters to stay in the Montreal area.[21]

The last of the robbers to be caught was the mastermind, Bruce Reynolds.

[edit]Aftermath

[edit]Bruce Reynolds

Bruce Reynolds was released from jail on 6 June 1978 after serving 10 years. Reynolds, then aged 47, was helped by Gordon Goody to get back on his feet, before Goody departed for Spain. By October 1978, day release ended and he had to report to a parole officer. Frank Monroe, one of the three robbers who was never caught, temporarily gave Reynolds a job, but did not want to attract undue attention by keeping him on for long. Reynolds later got back together with his wife, Angela and son Nicholas. He was arrested in 1983 for drug related offenses (Reynold denies having any involvement) and was released again in March 1985, and dedicated himself to helping his wife recover from a mental breakdown. In 2001, with son Nicholas travelled with The Sun to take Ronnie Biggs back to Britain.[22] In 2010 he wrote the afterward for Signal Red, a novel based on the Great Train Robbery and he regularly comments on the robbery.

[edit]Douglas (Gordon) Goody

He was released from prison on 23 December 1975, aged 46 years old and went to live with his ill mother in her small cottage in Putney. Unlike the other robbers, Goody was exceptionally lucky in that the man he left in charge of his affairs was exceptionally loyal and successful so he was able to live a relatively well-off life.[23] He later moved to Majorca, Spain, where[24] Goody bought property and a bar and settled down, believing it safer to be out of the United Kingdom.[25]

[edit]Charlie Wilson

He was released from prison in 1978 and was found shot dead at his villa in MarbellaSpain on 24 April 1990.

[edit]Ronald “Buster” Edwards

Edwards was released from prison in 1975 and became a flower seller outside Waterloo Station. He committed suicide in November 1994, perhaps fearing arrest for alleged involvement in a crime. His family continued to run the flower stall after his death. The story of Ronald “Buster” Edwards was dramatised in the 1988 film, Buster, which starred Phil Collins in the title role.

[edit]Brian Field

After being sentenced on 16 April 1964, Field served 4 years of his 5 year sentence until being released in 1967.

While Brian Field was in prison, his wife Karin divorced him and married a German journalist.[26] Karin wrote an article for the German magazine Stern. She confirmed that she took Roy James to Thames Train Station so he could go to London and that she led a convoy of two vans back to Kabri, where the gang were joined by wives and girlfriends to have a big party.[27]

When Bruce Reynolds returned to Great Britain in 1968, he tried to get in contact with Field who was the only way he could get in touch with the Ulsterman. It seems that Field was ambushed upon his release from prison by a recently released convict “Scotch Jack Buggy” who presumably roughed up or even tortured Field with an eye on getting some of the loot from the robbery. Subsequently Field went to ground and “Buggy” was killed shortly after. Reynolds gave up trying to find him.[28]

Field changed his name to Brian Carlton, in order to disappear. He died aged 44 years, in a car crash on a motorway in May 1979, a year after the last of the robbers had completed their sentence.

[edit]The Rest of the Robbers

Roy James (born August 1935), following his release on 15 August 1975 went back to motor racing, however he soon crashed his cars and his chances of becoming a driver quickly faded. After the failure of his Formula One career, he went back to being a silversmith. He produced trophies for the Formula One World Championship due to his acquaintance with Bernie Ecclestone. In 1982, he married a younger woman, but the marriage soon broke down.[29] By 1983, James with Charlie Wilson had become involved in an attempt to import gold without paying the excise. Roy was acquitted in January 1984 of his part in the scam.[30] In 1993, he shot and wounded his father in-law and pistol whipped and partially strangled his ex-wife, after they had returned their kids for a day’s outing. He was sentenced to 6 years in jail.

In 1996, James underwent triple bypass surgery, and was subsequently released from prison in 1997, only to die almost immediately afterwards on 21 August after another heart attack.[31] When James died he was the fifth of the Train Robbers to do so, despite being the youngest.[32][citation needed]

The South Coast Raiders did not fare too well in general. Bob Welch (born March 1929) was released on 14 June 1976 (the last of those convicted in Aylesbury to be released). Bob moved back in with his wife June and his son. He had to threaten the man left in charge of his money to retrieve the remainder of his share of the robbery loot. A leg injury sustained in prison saw him undergo several operations until he was left semi-crippled as a result.[33] Frank Monroe, who was never caught, worked as a film stunt man for a while before starting a paper and scrap metal recycling business.[25] Jim Hussey was released on 17 November 1975 and married girlfriend Gill (who had met just before the robbery). His share of the loot had been entrusted with a friend of Frank Monroe and had been squandered despite Monroe periodically checking on its keeper. Roger Cordrey (born May 1922) was the first of the robbers released, but his share of the money had almost entirely been taken by the police. He went back to being a florist at his sister’s business upon his release.

Tommy Wisbey (born April 1930) was luckier than most of the others, in that his share had been entrusted to his brothers, and when he emerged, he had a house in South London and a few other investments to keep him going. Unfortunately during his prison stint, his daughter Lorraine had died in a car accident and his stint in prison was the most traumatic of the robbers. He took a while to learn how to live harmoniously with his wife Rene (his daughter Marilyn moved out upon his return). Shortly after his release Wisbey was imprisoned on remand over a travellers’ cheques scam, where the judge acknowledged the minor nature of the role.[34]

Thomas Wisbey and James Hussey fell back into crime and were jailed in 1989 for cocaine dealing, with Wisbey sentenced to ten years and Hussey for 7 years. In her book Gangster’s Moll, Marilyn Wisbey recounts that on 8 June 1988, after returning home from a visit to the abortion clinic and lying down for a nap they got raided by the Drugs Squad. Her parents were staying with her and her son Jonathan while their tenants moved out of their house (they had been away on a long trip to the USA). The raid uncovered 1 kg of cocaine, and Rene and Marilyn Wisbey were arrested along with Jimmy Hussey who had been spotted accepting a package from Tommy Wisbey in a park. Wisbey himself was captured a year later in Wilmslow, Cheshire (allegedly staying with another woman to the shock of his wife and daughter). In return for Hussey and Wisbey pleading guilty the two woman were unconditionally freed.[35] Upon their release from prison, both retired from work.[36]

Tommy Wisbey later explained: We were against drugs all our lives, but as the years went on, towards the end of the ’70s, it became more and more the ‘in’ thing. Being involved in the Great Train Robbery, our name was good. They knew we had never grassed anyone, we had done our time without putting anyone else in the frame.[37] On 26 July 1989, the two men pleaded guilty and admitted at Snaresbrook Crown Court, London that they were a part of a £500,000 cocaine trafficking ring.[38] Wisbey’s grandson has also had trouble with the law in Cyprus.[39]

In later years, the Robbers generally came together only for the funerals of their colleagues. At Wilson’s funeral on 10 May 1990, Reynolds saw Roy James (who got into a verbal stoush with the press), Buster Edwards, Bob Welch (hobbling on crutches) and Jimmy White (who went unnoticed by most due to his ability to blend into the background). At Edward’s funeral in 1994, Reynolds only saw Bob Welch there, with Hussey, Wisbey and James all in prison.

[edit]The Associates

John Wheater was released from prison in February 1966, and managed his family’s laundry business in Harrogate. He later wrote two articles in the Sunday Telegraph.[40]

Lenny Field was released in 1967 and went to live in North London. He disappeared from the public eye.

The replacement train driver was never found. He had no criminal record and in the end Mills drove the train anyway, with police having no reason to suspect the other’s involvement.

[edit]Ronnie Biggs

Biggs fled to Paris, where he acquired new identity papers and underwent plastic surgery. In 1970, he quietly moved to Adelaide, Australia, where he worked as a builder and lived a relatively normal life. He was tipped off by persons unknown and moved to Melbourne, later escaping to Rio de JaneiroBrazil, after police discovered his Melbourne address. Biggs could not be extradited because there was no reciprocal extradition treaty between Britain and Brazil, a condition for the Brazilian process of extradition. Additionally, he became father to a Brazilian son, which afforded him greater legal immunity (which a daughter would not have conferred). As a result he lived openly in Rio for many years, untouchable by British authorities. In 1981, Biggs’s Brazilian son became a member of the successful band Turma do Balão Mágico, bringing a new source of income to his father. In a short time, however, the band faded into obscurity and dissolved, leaving father and son in relatively dire straits again. In May 2001, aged 71 and having suffered three strokes, Biggs voluntarily returned to England. His son, Michael Biggs, said in a press release[41] that, contrary to some press reports, Biggs had not returned to the UK simply to receive free health care. According to Michael, health care was available in Brazil and he had many friends and supporters who would certainly have contributed to any such expenses. Biggs’s stated desire was to “walk into a Margate pub as an Englishman and buy a pint of bitter“.[42] Biggs was aware that he would be arrested and jailed. After detention and a short court hearing he was sent back to prison to serve the remainder of his sentence. On 2 July 2009, Ronnie Biggs was denied parole by British Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who considered Biggs to be still “wholly unrepentant.”[43] Biggs himself has stated that the thirty-year term was “out of order”[44] for the crime committed, and that is why he planned an escape.

On 6 August 2009, Ronnie Biggs was granted release from prison on “compassionate grounds” due to a severe case of pneumonia, after serving only part of the sentence imposed at trial.[45] Ronnie Biggs’ son has said publicly that his father expressed remorse for the robbery, but not for his life on the run.

[edit]Legacy of the Great Train Robbery

The legacy of the Great Train Robbery of 1963 is in many ways a sad one. Very little of the money was ever recovered and the driver Jack Mills suffered greatly as a result of the robbery. While his death in 1970 was nothing to do with the head injury he sustained, he got very little compensation for putting up a fight and was often accused of exaggerating the severity of the injury.

Very few of the robbers got to enjoy their share of the money with most of it either lost, stolen, spent on lawyers, or on escaping justice. Once most of the gang were sentenced in 1963, their associates stopped paying their expenses with the stolen loot. Many of the robbers re-offended when they were released, and Reynolds, Wilson, James, Hussey and Wisbey were all jailed later on in life.

The robbery and the aftermath were yet another scandal for an already scandal-plagued Macmillan government.

[edit]Jack Mills - Victim of the Robbery

Mills had constant trauma headaches the rest of his life. He died in 1970 from leukaemia. Mills’ assailant was one of three members of the gang who was never identified. Frank Williams (at the time a Detective Inspector) claims that at least three men who were directly involved are still at liberty and enjoying to the full their share of the money stolen and the profits from the way they invested it. One of them is the man responsible for the attack on the train driver. The train driver’s assailant is not some phantom figure lurking in the criminal underworld. Williams traced him, identified him and took him to Scotland Yard where, with Tommy Butler, Williams questioned him. They were certain of their facts but he could not be charged because of lack of evidence suitable for presentation in a court; he had left no fingerprints or identifiable marks anywhere. None of those arrested informed on him although he had completely disobeyed instructions and used violence during the robbery.

[edit]The Cops

After his success in securing White and Edwards, Tommy Butler got Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Joseph Simpson to suspend his retirement on his 55th birthday so he could continue to hunt the robbers which paid off with the arrests of first Wilson, then Reynolds. When asked by a reporter after the sentencing of Reynolds whether that was the end of it, Butler replied that it was not over until Biggs was caught. In 1969 he was finally forced to accept compulsory retirement, and later died in 1970, aged 57 years (ironically on the same days, Biggs’ memoirs were published in the Sun).

Frank Williams, Butler’s deputy was overlooked to be his replacement as head of the Flying Squad because of his deal with Edwards (which he thought would seal his promotion) and his deal with another of the robbers who was never caught. Following being overlooked for Butler’s position he left the force to become head of security for QANTAS. He wrote his autobiography “No Fixed Address” which was published in 1973.

Jack Slipper of the Metropolitan Police was promoted to Detective Chief Superintendent (known in the press as “Slipper of the Yard“), became so involved that he continued to hunt many of the escaped robbers in retirement. He believed Biggs should not be released after returning to the UK in 2001 and he often appeared in the media to comment on any news item connected with the robbery before his death on 24 August 2005 at the age of 81.

Detective Chief Superintendent Ernest Malcolm Fewtrell, Head of the Buckinghamshire Crime Investigation Department (CID) was born on 29 September 1909, and died on 28 November 2005, aged 96 years. He retired on the last day of the trial after the verdicts were handed down (at the then compulsory retirement age of 55).[46] This allowed him (with Ronald Payne of The Sunday Telegraph who was involved in the paper’s coverage of the case) to be the first of the investigators to write a book ‘The Train Robbers’ on the robbery investigation in 1964. In the book he expressed some frustrations with some of the Flying Squad although he mostly had praise for individual officers. His one regret is that he had the search for the hideout done from the scene of the robbery outwards rather than an inwards search from a 35 mile perimeter.[47] He worked as an Accommodation Officer for Portsmouth Polytechnic before retiring to live near Swanage by the sea. He continued to express disgust at any film that he felt glamourised the robbers. It has been said that he bore a striking resemblance to John Thaw who was the star of Inspector Morse, which, perhaps coincidentally was a television series about a detective in the Thames Valley Police Force (the modern day successor to Buckinghamshire Constabulary).

George Hatherill (1898–1986) had his service extended by one year because of the need to complete the investigation of the Great Train Robbery. He visited Canada and the USA as a lecturer on police matters. He died on the 17th June 1986 at the age of 87.[48]

Gerald MacArthur died aged 70 years on 21 July 1996. He was famous for breaking up the Richardson Gang at a time when many London based detectives were known to be corrupt.

Ernest (Ernie) Millen (1911–1988) was regarded as one of the finest detectives from Scotland Yard ever by the time of his retirement.

[edit]The Crime Scene

One of the Post Office carriages involved is preserved at the Nene Valley Railway at Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, and is being restored. The locomotive was no. D326 (later no. 40126). It was involved in a number of serious operating incidents throughout its operational life.[49] The retrieved Monopoly board used by the robbers at their Leatherslade Farm hideout, as well as a genuine £5 note from the robbery, are on display at the Thames Valley Police museum in SulhamsteadBerkshire.

[edit]The Government

The audacity and scale of the robbery was yet another controversy that the Conservative government of Harold Macmillan had to cope with. Macmillan resigned in October 1963, claiming poor health. He did not re-contest his seat at the next election in September 1964, where the Labour Party claimed victory under Harold Wilson.

[edit]Ronnie Biggs

Ronnie Biggs was twice made example of, largely for embarrassing the authorities. He got 30 years for being a minor player in the robbery and despite living a crime free life after his escape from prison he served another 8 years upon his return to the United Kingdom. By the time he was released he had served more jail time than any of the robbers, despite his relatively minor role.

[edit]What Happened to the Money ?

£2,631,684 pounds was stolen from the train (although the police report claims that £2,595,997 was the actual amount stolen). The bulk of the haul was in £1 notes and £5 notes (both the older white note and the newer blue note which was half its size). There were also 10 shilling notes and Irish and Scottish money. The five pound notes were in stacks of £2,500 and the one pound notes were in stacks of £500 and the ten shilling notes in stacks of £250. With the exception of a few ‘drinks’ for associates, the loot was split into 17 equal shares of around £150,000 each (George Hatherill claims that there were 18 shares).

While within 6 months of the robbery, 10 of the robbers were locked up awaiting trial and 3 others were wanted criminals on the run, very little of the money had actually been recovered. This has caused speculation that there is a great fortune of robbery loot still out there. While it was a fortune in today’s terms (the approximate equivalent of £40M pounds or $63M), the money was quickly spent and stolen by predatory gangsters and greedy associates, relatives and lawyers. So the proceeds of the greatest cash robbery in British history were quickly used up, with few robbers actually benefitting in the long run from the stolen money to any great degree.

[edit]How Much Was Recovered ?

Less than £400,000 pounds was eventually recovered with bulk of the money being the shares of Roger Cordrey (£141,017 pounds) and (allegedly) Brian Field (£100,900 pounds). A further £36,000 was recovered from Jimmy White’s caravan. Roy James was carrying £12,041 when captured. The final major sum recovered was £47,245 that was found in a telephone box, in Great Dover St, Newington, South London.

[edit]The Telephone Box Controversy

The £47,245 recovered from a telephone box, included 57 notes whose serial numbers had been recorded by the bank in Scotland. This money was allegedly as part of a deal struck with Frank Williams by ‘Alf Thomas’. In the Train Robbers by Piers Paul Read, he claimed that the police were feeling the pressure because while they had caught many of the robbers, they had failed to recover much of the money. While no evidence had been found against Alf, who only had a reputation as a minor thief, some of the identifiable bank notes had been traced back to him through his friends who were charged with receiving. Given they had no evidence against Thomas, either at Leatherslade Farm or connections with either of the two gangs, Butler was prepared to let him go. Williams convinced Butler to pull “Alf” in for questioning and in return for releasing him and not charging his friends with more serious crimes, £50,000 was to be returned. On 3 December 1963, which happened to be the same day that Roy James was taken into custody, the police received an anonymous tip directing them to the money in the phone box. The money was driven up to Aylesbury and taken into custody by Detective Superintendent Fewtrell who wondered how his London colleagues could know how much money there was. He had to bring in bank clerks to count the damp and musty money to determine the final sum.[50]

Williams however made no admission to the money being a result of a deal with “Alf Thomas“. Despite claiming that his negotiations were responsible for the return of this money, Williams in his book ‘No Fixed Address’ (1973) claimed not to know the identity of who had returned the money, although he made mention of several robbers that he had offered deals to through intermediaries. He did note that it seemed that Butler was sceptical of his efforts and that at the press conference Hatherill and Millen did not reveal the circumstances behind the find and that he was never asked to talk with them about it. Despite Alf Thomas being the man identified as the assailant of the Train Driver by Bruce Reynolds (albeit indirectly), Williams only makes mention of the assailant once in his book. In this section (often quoted by other sources), he confirms that with Tommy Butler he questioned the man they knew to be the assailant but that they had no evidence to convict him. Strangely however, he makes no further mention of him, which seem to lend credence to the claim that a deal done with “Alf Thomas” was done which caused outrage amongst the hierarchy later on.[51] It is hinted in several of the books that the deals done by Williams were responsible for him being overlooked for promotion and Williams was aggrieved that his efforts were not being openly recognised by Butler who he claimed hid them from superiors.

For his part George Hatherill, in his book “A Detective’s Tale”, states that the motive behind the return of the money was not known for sure but that his theory was that the money was returned by “one about whom extensive inquiries had been made and who in fact was interrogated at length. But in spite of our strong suspicions, nothing could be proved against him and so no charge could be brought. My belief is that he thought we knew more about him than we did, and thinking things were getting hot, he decided to get rid of the money to avoid being found in possession with it”[52]Hatherill does not mention Williams at all in his book, and retired on the last day of the Trial at Aylesbury.

[edit]How Easily Traceable Was the Actual Money ?

The money was quickly laundered or divided by friends, family and associates of the robbers with a few notable exceptions. A great deal was laundered through bookmakers (Wilson and Wisbey were themselves bookmakers), although in fact astonishingly only a few hundred pounds were identifiable by serial number so the robbers could have spent the money without fear of being traced.[53] There were 1,579 notes whose serial numbers were known and the rest of the fortune was completely untraceable.

The five pound notes on the train were of two different kinds, because in 1957 the British Government had begun to replace the extra large white notes with smaller blue ones, with the final changeover not yet complete at the time of the robbery. The white notes quickly became far more conspicuous to use, making it harder for them to be spent.

[edit]The Legal Fees

For the 17 principal gang members, the ten who were arrested within three or four months after the robbery, each had to spend a fortune on legal fees (approximately £30,000). This meant that one-fifth of their shares was spent on lawyers shortly before nine of them were sentenced to lengthy jail terms. Ironically several associates of the robbers were charged with receiving several hundred pounds of the money, when the lawyers defending the robbers got many times more money.

[edit]Money Spent on the Run

The robbers who spent much time on the run overseas – Reynolds, Wilson and Edwards had very little left when finally arrested, having spent the money to avoid capture and having to fund lavish lifestyles without having to find paying jobs while on the run. Much of Jimmy White’s money was stolen.

[edit]Money Spent by Friends and Relatives

According to Marilyn Wisbey, her father’s share was hidden by his father Tommy Wisbey Snr in the panels in the doors of his home. Butler raided them three times but he never found the train money. The majority of the money was reputedly entrusted to Wisbey’s father and also his younger brother Ron who coincidentally had saved some money of his own that was confiscated by the police although it was returned 3 months later. By the time Wisbey was released from jail all of his share had either been spent or invested. Marilyn agrees with Piers Paul Read’s assessment of how her father’s share of approximately £150,000 pounds was spent. Although the Wisbey share was one that was not stolen again by other criminals, Marilyn Wisbey is still bitter that her relatives got to spend a fair amount of the loot while the overall sum dwindled away. Her grandfather used some of the money to buy them a house in Upper Norwood, however.[54]

[edit]Money Spent by Those That Got Away

There were six of the robbers who got away in one form or another – the mysterious “Ulsterman” whose fate is unknown, three robbers who were never caught, John Daly who was lucky enough to get his charges dismissed at the trial and Ronnie Biggs who escaped jail and managed to avoid being taken back to the UK. John Daly had entrusted his money to another crook who had betrayed him to the police and had absconded with the money and died before Daly could recover his money. Upon the release of the others in the mid 70s, “Bill Jennings” got in touch with Buster and “Frank Monroe” got in touch with the South Coast Raiders both to say that they had no money left. “Alf Thomas” had disappeared and John Daly at the time was said to be living on the dole in West Country.[55]Ronnie Biggs quickly spent his share getting a new life (the ultimate goal of some criminals) and loved his new life in Australia, although by the time his family got to Australia in 1966, all but £7,000 had been spent, with £55,000 having been paid as a package deal to get him out of the UK, and the rest having gone on legal fees and expenses.[56]

[edit]Details of the Great Train Robbery and the Robbers

[edit]Early Books of the Great Train Robbery

These books were written in the immediate aftermath of the 1964 trial and before the capture of several of the gang.

  • The Robbers’ Tale (1965) by Peta Fordham and first published by Hodder & Stoughton, London (ISBN ). It told the story of the robbery only shortly after the conclusion of the initial trial. The author was the wife of one of the lawyers involved in the case. The book mostly involves a description of the trial. The author constantly hints that she knew more than she was prepared to write, yet it was written before most of the facts emerged.

[edit]Autobiographies and Biographies of the Investigators

These are predominantly the books written by the senior police in the early 1970s after they had just retired from the force, which are largely confined to the story of the investigation, trial and capture of the robbers.

  • The Train Robbers (1964) by Malcolm Fewtrell (with Ronald Payne), first published in London by Arthur Barker Limited (ISBN 9B64173210).
  • A Detective’s Story (1971) by George Hatherill, first published in London by Andre Deutsch Limited (ISBN 0-2339-6322-7) is part autobiography and part description on what makes a detective. Chapter 14, the last chapter of the book is dedicated to the Great Train Robbery the final major investigation before Hatherill’s retirement.
  • Specialist in Crime (1972) by Ernest Millen , first published by George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd (ISBN 0245505075). An Autobiography. When he retired, Millen was Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard and Commander of the CID. A unique inside story of his career as a detective.
  • No Fixed Address (1973) by Frank Williams, first published by W.H. Allen & Co Ltd (ISBN 0-4910-0524-5). It tells the story of the aftermath of the robbery from Williams point of view, in particular describing the mistakes made in the early days by senior officers, and the autocratic nature of Tommy Butler. The book is targeted at Ronnie Biggs in the hope that he will contact Williams for a deal, similar to the one arranged by Buster Edwards. The book mistakenly identifies Bill Boal as a robber (although it concedes his role was a support role), and it also mistakenly identifies Biggs as one of the leaders.
  • Slipper of the Yard (1981) by Jack Slipper, first published by Sidgwick and Jackson Ltd (ISBN 0-2839-8702-2). This book is an autobiography of the police career of Jack Slipper, who had retired the year before as one of the most decorated and well known detectives in the Metropolitan Police Force. It includes a chapter on his participation in the Train Robbery Squad hunting for the robbers and has details on the arrests of Roy James, John Daly and Jimmy Hussey. It also has a chapter on the mission to recover Ronnie Biggs from Brazil and denounces the press version of events.

[edit]Autobiographies and Biographies of the Robbers

  • Slip Up (1975) by Anthony Delano and first published by Quadrangle / The New York Times Book Co. (ISBN 0-8129-0576-8).
  • The Train Robbers (1978) by Piers Paul Read and first published by W.H. Allen and Company (ISBN 0-397-01283-7). This book recounts a very detailed version of the story based on an exclusive account given by eight of the then-paroled robbers (Edwards, Goody, Hussey, Wisby, Welch, James, White and Cordrey with contradictory versions by Reynolds and Biggs). Despite revealing more than previous accounts, the book is flawed in that it includes outright lies that the funding source for the heist was former SS officer Otto Skorzeny. As the story unfolds in the book, however, the German connection was proved to be false.
  • Crossing The Line: Autobiography of a Thief (1995) by Bruce Reynolds, first published by Bantam Press (ISBN 1-8522-7929-X).
  • Odd Man Out (1994) by Ronald Biggs, first published by Bloomsbury Publishing Limited (ISBN 0-7475-1683-9). This book is an autobiography of the life of Ronald Biggs, particularly his life on the run after the Great Train Robbery.
  • Keep On Running (1996) by Ronald Biggs and Christopher Pickard, first published by Bloomsbury Publishing Limited (ISBN 0-7475-2188-3). This book is a novel that strongly draws on the events of the Great Train Robbery and identifies what may have happened to the three men who were never caught.
  • Gangster’s Moll - Living with a life of crime – from the Great Train Robbery to ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser. (2001) by Marilyn Wisbey, first published by Little Brown and Company (ISBN 0-3168-5208-2). This is an autobiography of the daughter of Tommy Wisbey, and includes details on how his share was hidden and later spent, and the effect of the life of crime on the family of the criminals.
  • Killing Charlie (2004) by Wensley Clarkson, first published by Mainstream Publishing Co (Edinburgh) Ltd (ISBN 9781845960353). This book serves as a biography for the great train robber, Charlie Wilson.

[edit]Modern Books of the Great Train Robbery

These books are mostly literature reviews of the earlier books, combined with some research of the archival material.

  • The Great British Train Robbery (2003) by Tim Coates, first published by Tim Coates in 2003, (ISBN 1843810220). Contains the extracts from the report of Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary, which was submitted to the Home Office in 1964.
  • The Great Train Robbery (2008) by Peter Guttridge (ISBN 9781905615322). Looks at the big questions: were there three other robbers that were never identified, and what became of all the crooks and the bulk of the money?
  • Signal Red (2010) by Robert Ryan, first published by Headline Review (ISBN 9780755358182). A novel based on the Great Train Robbery with a postscript by Bruce Reynolds.
  • The Great Train Robbery – History Making Heist (2011) by Brenda Haugen, first published by Compass Point Books, a Capstone Imprint (ISBN 9780756543600). A novel based on the Great Train Robbery with a postscript by Bruce Reynolds.

[edit]Movies of the Great Train Robbery and the Robbers

  • The 1966 German 3-part TV mini series Die Gentlemen bitten zur Kasse tells a fictionalised version of the story more or less close to the facts, but changes the names of those involved and of locations.[57]
  • The 1967 film, Robbery, is a heavily fictionalised version based on the events of 1963 directed by Peter Yates. The movie launched Yates’ Hollywood career after it attracted the interest of Steve McQueen who got the British director to make his next feature Bullitt.
  • The 1969 French film The Brain stars David Niven as a British master criminal who perpetrates in France a heist based on the Train Robbery. The script implies him to be the real planner of the 1963 robbery.
  • In 1988, Buster Edwards’ experiences were made into the comedy-drama Buster, starring Phil Collins.

[edit]In popular culture

  • In the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball, a SPECTRE officer states that the criminal organization earned £250,000 as a consultation fee for the robbery.
  • A comedy version was staged in the film The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery
  • In the 1965 film, Help!John Lennon makes a snide reference to The Great Train Robbery in Scotland Yard. “Great Train Robbery, how’s that going?”
  • Singer Phil Collins starred in the title role of Buster, a comedy-drama movie loosely based on the life of Buster Edwards.
  • Supposedly, Biggs returned to England several times during the making of a documentary about the Great Train Robbery, always in disguise.[citation needed]
  • Ronald Biggs recorded vocals on two songs for The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll SwindleJulien Temple‘s film about the Sex Pistols. The basic tracks for “No One is Innocent” (aka “The Biggest Blow (A Punk Prayer)”) and “Belsen Was a Gas” were recorded with guitarist Steve Jones and drummer Paul Cook at a studio in Brazil shortly after the Sex Pistols’ final performance, with overdubs being added in an English studio at a later date. “No One is Innocent” was released as a single in the UK and reached #6 on the British singles charts, with the sleeve showing Martin Bormann playing bass with the group (in actuality this was American actor James Jeter).
  • Paul Hardcastle released a song in 1985 titled “Just For Money” which is about the robbery.
  • In 1991, Ronald Biggs sang vocals for the song “Carnival In Rio (Punk Was)” by German punk band Die Toten Hosen.
  • A popular skit from the comedy revue Beyond the Fringe starring Peter Cook and Dudley Moore deals with the efforts to catch the criminals behind the robbery.
  • Following the extradition attempt, Biggs collaborated with Bruce Henry (an American double-bass player), Jaime Shields, and Aureo de Souza to record Mailbag Blues, a musical narrative of his life that he intended to use a movie soundtrack. This album was re-released in 2004 by whatmusic.com.[58]
  • British group, Alabama 3, recorded a tribute to Bruce Reynolds about the robbery, “Have You Seen Bruce Richard Reynolds” (originally recorded by The Fylde Folk) on which he appears, on their 2005 album, Outlaw.
  • In February 2006, Channel 4 aired a documentary about the 1981 plot to kidnap Biggs and take him to Barbados. The programme featured a dramatisation of the attempt and an interview with ex-soldier John Miller, one of the men responsible. In the programme, security consultant Patrick King, who led the team, claimed that the kidnapping may have in fact been a deniable operation.[59]
  • American rock band, Mountain, recorded the song “The Great Train Robbery” on their Nantucket Sleighride album, circa 1971.
  • In several 1963 episodes of The Navy Lark, the robbery was referred to via expressions of surprise – by various characters – of seeing Chief Petty Officer Pertwee free, and not in police custody for committing the robbery.
  • In the online mulitplayer game RuneScape, there is a quest called “The Great Brain Robbery”, with similar plot elements.
  • In the computer video game, Starcraft 2, there is a mission that is entitled “The Great Train Robbery”.

BRUCE REYNOLDS- MASTERMIND OF THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY 1963- WITH ANDY JONES OF THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AT A PRIVATE FAMILY GATHERING BACK IN JAN 2011