When the Second World War ended, England was bombed-out and starving, with practically every saleable commodity rationed. It was the age of austerity and criminal opportunity. Thieves broke into warehouses, hi-jacked lorries and ransacked railway yards to feed the black market; others stole, recycled or forged ration coupons. Scotland Yard was 6,000 men under strength but something dramatic had to be done – and it was. Four of the Yard's best informed detectives were summoned to form the Special Duties Squad and were told: "Go out into the underworld. Gather your informants. Do whatever is necessary to ensure that the gangs are smashed up. We will never ask you to divulge your sources of information. But remember – you must succeed." They did. Divisional Detective Inspector Jack Capstick, a brilliant thief-taker and informant runner, Detective Inspector Henry Clark, who knew the south London villains as few other detectives did and in addition, possessed a punch 'like the kick of a mule' and Detective Sergeants Matt Brinnand and John Gosling, who topped the Flying Squad war-time arrests, both individually and collectively, went out and with their informants, undercover officers and their own, unsurpassed ability, and in under four years, they arrested 789 criminals, solved 1,506 cases and recovered stolen property valued at £250,000 – or £10 million by today's standards. The Special Duties Squad was a one-off. How the four officers accomplished their task is divulged in this thrilling book, using hitherto unseen official documents and conversations from people who were there.
Author: Dick Kirby
Publisher: The History Press
Between 1959 and 1965, eight murders were carried out in and around west London. The victims, all of whom were prostitutes, were asphyxiated. The murders were linked: the last six were all carried out in the space of 12 months. The press dubbed the murderer "Jack the Stripper" on account of the fact that the victims were all stripped naked. The legendary Scotland Yard investigator Detective Chief Superintendent John Du Rose was brought in to orchestrate the enquiry. Du Rose flooded the night-time capital with police officers in plain clothes, while women police officers were dressed as prostitutes and carried out dangerous decoy patrols. Of the 1,700 potential suspects interviewed, the number was whittled down to 26—and then to one. But before Du Rose could interview him, the man committed suicide and the investigation was closed down. However, was this man "Jack the Stripper?" Author Dick Kirby, a former Flying Squad detective himself, has used his vast experience and contacts at Scotland Yard to reexamine the case, more commonly known as "The Nude Murders," 50 years on.
The 1950s and 1960s saw a changing of the guard in Londons gangland. A new and even more ruthless breed of criminal emerged to replace the aging generation of likes of Sabini, Mullins and Hayes. Protection rackets on bookies, club owners and shops were commonplace. Prostitution and drugs offered rich pickings. Police corruption was all too commonplace. Thanks to media interest the names of Charlie Richardson, Mad Frankie Fraser, Scarface Smithson and the Nichols became as widely known as they were feared. And then there were the Kray Twins, whose notoriety and brutality became watchwords. But as this insider book reveals they did not have it all their own way. For a thrilling and shocking story London's Gangs at War is in a class of its own. What makes it so chilling is that the murders, torture and mayhem actually happened.
The story of Fred Wensley, a Somerset gardener who joined the Metropolitan Police in 1888 and retired, forty-one years later as Chief Constable of the CID, is an extraordinary one.??After an abortive attempt to catch 'Jack the Ripper' by nailing strips of bicycle tyres to the soles of his boots, Wensley got stuck into arresting the ne'er-do-wells of Whitechapel, where he would spend twenty-five years of his service.??Within months of joining the CID, Wensley, while off duty, arrested a double murderer. He smashed the murderous Bessarabian and Odessa gangs, brought the Vendetta gang to book when, brandishing revolvers they tried to storm a police court, played a decisive part in the Siege of Sidney Street and created the Flying Squad.??Wensley's career was dogged with controversy; when Stinie Morrison was convicted of murder, was he, as he claimed, framed by Wensley? And was Edith Thompson, hanged for the murder of her husband, as Wensley stated, 'a cold-blooded murderess' or, as her defence counsel claimed, 'a fanciful dreamer'? ??The first King's Police Medal was awarded to Wensley; he was appointed OBE and commended on many of occasions.??Retired Flying Squad officer, turned author, Dick Kirby has dug deep to paint a fascinating portrait of the man dubbed, 'The Greatest Detective of all Time'.
The Scourge of Soho
Author: Dick Kirby
Publisher: Pen and Sword
The Scourge of Soho describes the dramatic and eventful life of Detective Sergeant Harry Challenor MM and at the same time lifts the lid on front-line policing and the murky world of Soho criminals in the 1950s and 1960s.??Born into grinding poverty in 1922, Challenor fought with the Special Air Service during the Second World War, being parachuted behind enemy lines, captured twice, escaping twice. He was awarded the Military Medal.??Joining the post-war Metropolitan Police, challenor spent four years with the elite Flying Squad, before being sent to clear up crime in Soho. Pimps, racketeers and crooks were rounded-up and often found themselves in possession of a bewildering assortment of armaments of which they denied all knowledge. More sensible gangsters, like Reg and Ron Kray, took off as soon as his name was mentioned.??Challenor could not be frightened or bought-off, so the gang leaders put up a £1,000 reward to anyone who could frame him. In the end, it was not needed. During a political demonstration in 1963, half-bricks were planted on innocent protesters and three young policemen were imprisoned and Challenor certified as a paranoid schizophrenic and sent to a succession of psychiatric hospitals and care homes. Policeman-turned-author, Dick Kirby has interviewed former friends and colleagues of this determined but flawed character and has meticulously studied court records and official documents. The result is a sensational and gripping account of the man who became The Scourge of Soho.??As featured in the East Anglian Daily Times, Bury Mercury and Wolverhampton Magazine.
The Real Sweeney
Author: Dick Kirby
From his bruising initial experience of giving evidence to the feat of securing Britain's first double-supergrass, Dick Kirby re-tells, with a strong dose of humour, the trials and tribulations of a career fighting crime, in which, of 40 commendations he received, over half were for the arrest of armed robbers. He plunges us straight into the underworld, pulling no punches. His tales of how life in the force used to be are sometimes shocking, sometimes blackly funny and always compelling.
Death on the Beat
Author: Dick Kirby
Little shocks the British public more than learning of the killing of policemen and women whilst tackling criminals. Even the vast majority of hardened crooks baulk at what is seen as the ultimate crime _ the mandatory death sentence in days of capital punishment reflected public disgust at such a crime, particularly when the police were largely unarmed. This book spans fifty years of crime enforcement and describes in detail the ever present danger to the police who patrolled LondonÍs streets and who lost their lives in the line of duty. Many of the police officers died carrying out run-of-the-mill police duties; from PC Nat Edgar, shot in 1948 by a burglar to PC Patrick Dunne, the home beat officer murdered while investigating a domestic incident in 1993; it took 13 years for his killer to be brought to justice. WPC Yvonne Fletcher was mercilessly gunned-down policing a demonstration in Central London in 1984, as was Detective Sergeant Ray Purdy, whilst arresting a cheap blackmailer. PC Ray Summers, an officer with less than two years service, stabbed to death as he broke up a gang fight, and the three-man crew of the ïQÍ car wiped out by gunmen in 1966, all feature in these pages. There are the thrilling stories of the investigations into the IRA after the murder of PC Stephen Tibble and the horrific bombing of Harrods store which cost three brave police officers their lives. Retired detective Dick Kirby has drawn deep on his knowledge and contacts within and outside the Metropolitan Police to track down those people who were there, who were involved in the investigations and those who were left behind; and how the trauma of losing a colleague or a loved one affected them. Written in his trademark gripping authoritative style, Death on the Beat, Dick KirbyÍs ninth book, promises to be the best yet.
In their daily battle against a remorseless tide of crime, officers of London's Metropolitan Police routinely risk their lives protecting society. Veteran detective and crime author Dick Kirby has brought together a superb collection of inspiring stories of police gallantry over the last hundred years. All four officers to be honoured with the George Cross, the highest civilian award have their stories told including Jim Beaton who saved Princess Anne from kidnap in The Mall. Three women officers have been awarded the George Medal, two for decoy work, the third for a heroic rooftop rescue. The book concludes with the astonishing story of a retired detective who tackled armed robbers – at the cost of his eye. He may have left the Met behind him but not his courage. Every page of this gripping book is full of excitement and courage of the highest order.
During David Woodland's 19 years' service with the Metropolitan Police, the 'thin blue line' came under intense pressure. In addition to the routine caseload of gang crime, murder and armed robbery, Irish terrorist groups launched a vicious and prolonged terror campaign.??The Author, a Detective Inspector in the Crime Intelligence Branch at New Scotland Yard, witnessed a series of major scandals. He reveals why many otherwise honest detectives strove to rectify defects in the law that allowed professional criminals to evade justice. When Sir Robert Marks, the newly appointed Police Commissioner, described the CID as 'the most routinely corrupt organisation in London', there may have been more than an element of truth in his extraordinary claim but it devastated the public's credibility in the CID. ??Using his own cases and experience, he demonstrates the difficulties faced by a depleted, demoralised Police Force not least 'the enemy within'. ??Crime and Corruption at The Yard is a gripping, shocking and instructive insider's account of sharp end police work. Salutary lessons are learnt about the effect of PC and 'human rights' on the preservation of law and order.
Behold a Pale Horse
Author: William Cooper
Publisher: Light Technology Publishing
Bill Cooper, former United States Naval Intelligence Briefing Team member, reveals information that remains hidden from the public eye. This information has been kept in Top Secret government files since the 1940s. His audiences hear the truth unfold as he writes about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the war on drugs, the Secret Government and UFOs. Bill is a lucid, rational and powerful speaker who intent is to inform and to empower his audience. Standing room only is normal. His presentation and information transcend partisan affiliations as he clearly addresses issues in a way that has a striking impact on listeners of all backgrounds and interests. He has spoken to many groups throughout the United States and has appeared regularly on many radio talk shows and on television. In 1988 Bill decided to "talk" due to events then taking place worldwide, events which he had seen plans for back in the early '70s. Since Bill has been "talking," he has correctly predicted the lowering of the Iron Curtain, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the invasion of Panama. All Bill's predictions were on record well before the events occurred. Bill is not a psychic. His information comes from Top Secret documents that he read while with the Intelligence Briefing Team and from over 17 years of thorough research. "Bill Cooper is the world's leading expert on UFOs." -- Billy Goodman, KVEG, Las Vegas. "The onlt man in America who has all the pieces to the puzzle that has troubled so many for so long." -- Anthony Hilder, Radio Free America "William Cooper may be one of America's greatest heros, and this story may be the biggest story in the history of the world." -- Mills Crenshaw, KTALK, Salt Lake City. "Like it or not, everything is changing. The result will be the most wonderful experience in the history of man or the most horrible enslavement that you can imagine. Be active or abdicate, the future is in your hands." -- William Cooper, October 24, 1989.
A Lonely Death
Author: Charles Todd
Publisher: Harper Collins
“Todd’s Ian Rutledge mysteries are among the most intelligent and affecting being written these days.” —Washington Post Critics have called Charles Todd’s historical mystery series featuring shell-shocked World War One veteran Inspector Ian Rutledge “remarkable” (New York Times Book Review), “heart-breaking” (Chicago Tribune), “fresh and original” (South Florida Sun-Sentinel). In A Lonely Death, the haunted investigator is back in action, trying to solve the murders of three ex-soldiers in a small English village. A true master of evocative and atmospheric British crime fiction, Charles Todd reaches breathtaking new heights with A Lonely Death—a thrilling tale of the darkness in men’s souls that will have fans of Elizabeth George, Martha Grimes, and Anne Perry cheering.
Author: Dick Kirby
CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION & DETECTION. The story of sixty years of Scotland Yard s top crime-busting department has been written over a twenty year period by a former detective who spent over eight years with the Flying Squad The Sweeney. The meticulous research by the author has uncovered files never before released by the Yard and he has amassed the tales of bravery and top-notch investigations, carried out by the Squad officers of yesteryear. The Flying Squad was formed to stem the tide of lawlessness, following the First World War; from humble beginnings using horse-drawn wagons, they swiftly progressed to high-speed cars. The war years, the secret post-war Ghost Squad, the horse-doping scandals, the Great Train Robbery, the Bank of America robbery, Supergrasses and corruption are recounted with its scrupulous attention to detail. The book is filled with thrilling, amusing and always compelling anecdotes from the men who were there.
From the dark centuries of the Middle Ages to the 1960s in Britain, the criminal law executed felons and someone had to hang them. Britain has always been a land of gallows, and every town had its hanging post and local 'turn off man.' First these men were criminals doing the work to save their own necks, and then later they were specialists in the trade of judicial killing. From the late Victorian period, the public hangman became a professional, and in the twentieth century the mechanics of hanging were streamlined as the executioners became adept at their craft. Britain's Most Notorious Hangmen tells the stories of the men who worked with their deadly skills at Tyburn tree or at the scaffolds in the prison yards across the country. Most were steeled to do the work by drink, and many suffered deeply from their despised profession. Here the reader will find the tale of the real Jack Ketch, the cases of neck-stretchers from the drunks like Curry and Askern, to the local workers of the ropes, Throttler Smith and the celebrated Billington and Pierrepoint dynasty. Along with some of the stories of famous killers such as William Palmer and James Bloomfield Rush, here are the bunglings, failures and desperate lives of the notorious hangmen, some who could entertain the vast crowds enjoying the show, and others who always faced the task as a terrible ordeal.
Author: Diane Goldstein, Sylvia Grider, Jeannie Banks Thomas
Publisher: University Press of Colorado
Ghosts and other supernatural phenomena are widely represented throughout modern culture. They can be found in any number of entertainment, commercial, and other contexts, but popular media or commodified representations of ghosts can be quite different from the beliefs people hold about them, based on tradition or direct experience. Personal belief and cultural tradition on the one hand, and popular and commercial representation on the other, nevertheless continually feed each other. They frequently share space in how people think about the supernatural. In Haunting Experiences, three well-known folklorists seek to broaden the discussion of ghost lore by examining it from a variety of angles in various modern contexts. Diane E. Goldstein, Sylvia Ann Grider, and Jeannie Banks Thomas take ghosts seriously, as they draw on contemporary scholarship that emphasizes both the basis of belief in experience (rather than mere fantasy) and the usefulness of ghost stories. They look closely at the narrative role of such lore in matters such as socialization and gender. And they unravel the complex mix of mass media, commodification, and popular culture that today puts old spirits into new contexts.