Johnny Mack talks once again to London Boy British Gangster Movie fans, in his own inimitable way….
First of all, I would like to express my thanks to all of you who read last week’s blog. Especially those of you who had not yet read my autobiography ‘Dunpeckham’
Your positive feedback has been fantastic and above all inspirational, not only for me but also to the rest of the team.
While giving thanks to you guys, I would also like to mention and thank the London Boy team. Without them and their dedication to the London Boy project none of this would be possible. So a big thank you goes out to Christopher Evans our Marketing/Sales director and David Gwilym our graphic designer.
Having staunch people working with you is a blessing in disguise, especially when trying to get a massive project off the ground such as London Boy.
As Chris mentioned in an article he wrote last week about some of us, who have in the past fell foul of the law. What Chris expressed was so true to form because if you are writing a book, or making a film about crime, gangsters and the like, who better to do it than an ex-gangsters?
As most of you know who have read “Dunpeckham”, as a gangster I was never caught bang to rights whilst doing heavy pieces of work. Squealers and snakes were responsible for most of my arrests. Also I am gutted to say, a few good friends of mine at that time grassed me up in the hope that they would get a lighter sentence. However, without blowing my own trumpet, I was pretty shrewd back in the day and never got convicted on all the serious charges I was arrested for.
The main reason most of them turned grass was because of hard drugs. Up until 1978 the only drugs that were about were cannabis, amphetamines and LSD. Hard drugs like heroin and cocaine were about, but no way in a capacity as they are today. I was not a drug taker at that time, my problem started in the early 80’s and only lasted 2 years.
I got hooked on heroin whilst I was on remand in Brixton prison on a trumped up charge of armed robbery and another one for attempted murder. I was innocent of both charges and the police knew it. But back then the police had a lot of lee-way with the courts and could easily take you off the street, arrest and charge you with a serious charge with little evidence required to do so. They’d keep you banged up in the police station for 3 days and refuse you your right to a phone call and access to a solicitor. They would then take you to the magistrates court, claim to the court that they were awaiting forensic evidence and ask the court to refuse you bail. Their favourite excuse to keep you locked up was because you were a danger to the public and more than likely to abscond. Their next move was to get a moody witness, usually a drug addict, tell the court as much and then commit you to crown court.
Now, this is where it got naughty because once they got you committed to crown court, your waiting time to have your case heard for trail was at least 14-18 months. Take into account 2 months prior to your committal that makes around 20 months banged up in a cell with 2-3 other un-convicted prisoners for 23 hours per day. All this time you are protesting your innocence to MP’s etc , but the truth was no one would bothered to listen. This is what we in the criminal fraternity would call a ‘Lay down’, or to the old bill you were on holiday in one of her majesty’s holiday camps.
The day before, or on the day of your trail date, the police would simply tell the court that their evidence had been contaminated, or the witness has disappeared etc. Therefore no trail would even take place. So there you are at the court, your told that there is insufficient evidence and now you were free to go…No apologies, no compensation, in fact you got fuck all from those lying old bill or the court.
It was all about getting you off the streets whether you were at it or not. The ‘Sweeney’, which was London’s robbery squad, were the worse corrupt police unit I have ever come across. They would get information from other criminals and make a secret dossier on you. The more info they got the thicker your file became. Mine was about six inches thick the last time I saw it and it contained all hear say fabricated rubbish. For instance, someone might get nicked for a minor thing and just to keep the old bill happy and get a good word put to the judges ear, they would tell what they heard on the grapevine. The truth was, most made it all up just so they got a better chance of getting off at court. So there I’d be at home with my family minding my own business. Not having had any convictions in years, when our front door would suddenly get caved in by police waving their machine guns around in front of my young children. Their party trick was to get you at dawn, drag you out of bed, all the time screaming at you like madmen, which petrified my young children.
Then that would be the last I’d see my home for the next two years because as I’ve said there was no evidence just hearsay. The police force have tightened their belts in the ranks today; out have gone most of the corrupt old bill, but there are still a few lurking about, that’s for sure!
Tune in for next weeks blog where I’ll tell you about the diamond heist I was involved in aged just fourteen.
Ta ta for now guys and thanks again….