I was born in London, on Christmas Eve 1960. My parents are both from Dublin, which, under Section 2 of the Irish Constitution, makes me an Irish citizen. Having grown up in London I class myself as London-Irish. My early years were spent in the slums of Islington, before my family were re-housed in a council flat in Lambeth.
At the age of fourteen I was arrested, beaten, and framed for burglary by the police. As a result of this, and despite being cleared by the courts, I drifted into petty crime. After several appearances in juvenile court for theft, TDA, and 'being a suspicious person' (the notorious 'sus' law), I was given a taste of the Short Sharp Shock, 3 months at a detention centre. Her Majesty's Detention Centre, Send, was infamous for its brutal regime, with both physical and mental violence meted out on a daily basis. I rebelled, and learned to harness my absolute hate of 'the system' in order to get me through.
At the age of 16 I appeared at the Old Bailey, on charges of armed robbery, possession of a firearm and GBH. I pleaded guilty and was sentenced the three years detention under Section 53/2 of the CYP Act 1933, the wording of which was "Any young person under the age of 17, who is convicted of a crime that would warrant fourteen years imprisonment, or more, for an adult". 'Though I was serving the equivalent of four borstal sentences back to back, the only place I could be detained was in a closed borstal.
I served my sentence in the gladiator schools of Ashford, Dover, and Rochester borstals, where horrific violence was the norm and the weak and timid became no more than prey. Determined to escape, I seriously assaulted a night watchman and ended up in strip cells and solitary confinement for months, where I finally learned to read and write.
Released in 1980, I gathered a gang around me and set out to take revenge for the years I had been locked up. Gang fights and petty crime became my milieu. After I was seriously beaten by a rival gang, and, having met the love of my life and got her pregnant, I decided to take up serious crime for financial gain. Bank robbery became my career.
Throughout the 1980s and 90s I was sentenced to a total of nineteen years, with hundreds of years in concurrent sentences, for armed robbery, firearms, and prison escape. In prison I began to educate myself. I gained an A-level in Law, an Honours Diploma in freelance journalism, and four Koestler Awards for my writing.
In 1997 I was released on parole, and in 1999 I once again appeared at the Old Bailey and was sentenced to eight life sentences for bank robbery, under the two-strikes act. 'A Few Kind Words and A Loaded Gun' is my first book. I am currently residing at HMP Grendon, and working on 'Fixing It', the follow up.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.