A great Collection of autobiographies, history and books about real true crime from top London Authors. (From both sides of the law!). You want books about gangsters, written by gangsters.. this is the place to be! Scroll down for a great collection
Books about gangsters, top books about the people, the places of underworld London.
Those Were The Krays. 90 Years In Places
Location is everything and when speaking of the Kray twins, and their family, there are renowned historic stomping grounds that usually get the attention. David Last’s book does, of course, cover these. As a historian of this era his knowledge runs far deeper. David’s first book highlights the highs and lows of the Kray’s life through locations and pictures. He shares his knowledge and, at times, evidence of the places the Krays lived, frequented and were incarcerated. You will be taken on a fascinating footprint of the Kray journey through imagery that includes some unseen and rare photographs.
October 2023 would have been Ron and Reg’s 90th year. This book is to commemorate their lives—the good and the bad.
This is an absolute must-buy for fans of the Krays and the Kray era, this is a superb collection of facts, places to visit, and other Kray memorabilia. David Last knows his stuff, this is a fascinating book that should definitely take pride of place in anyone’s collection.. be sure to buy your copy of Those Were The Krays here
Life Inside. The Hard Reality of Prison and What It Takes To Survive
A chilling look into the brutality of life behind bars and what it’s like to be locked away with some of the world’s most dangerous criminals.
Widely known in the criminal underworld as the ‘Black Widow’, Linda Calvey spent the first half of her life running with the UK’s top gangsters, robbing banks and rubbing shoulders with the Kray twins. That is, until, in 1990, her lover Robbie Cook was murdered at point-blank, and she found herself falsely convicted.
Linda was sent away for decades, and would go on to become Britain’s longest-serving female prisoner. This is her story of life inside, and how she learnt to survive the many years she spent behind bars.
Detailing the systems, characters and rules of prison life, as well as her encounters with notorious criminals Charles Bronson, Rose West and Myra Hindley, Linda gives a full account of her time locked up.
Featuring stories of fights, riots, dodgy dealings and what happens when a prison officer gets taken hostage, this is a gritty and eye-opening look at prison life from a woman who has seen it all.
One of the main things that stood out for me personally, is how brutally honest Linda has been throughout this book. Describing her feelings of shock, regret, fear, acceptance, and sadness, but with an element of fun thrown in for good measure! Highly recommended reading by Londoncrime.. get your copy of Life inside now! (Jim.. Londoncrime founder)
Fitted up and Fighting back.
Be warned, I COULDN’T PUT THIS BOOK DOWN! Kevin Lane is clearly an innocent man that has lost a large part of his life to a wrongful imprisonment. Read it, study it, this is a shocking but well written book that will see you on an emotional roller coaster. (Jim, Londoncrime.co.uk.)
Important, alarming and urgent, this powerful book raises many troubling questions not just about the conviction of Kevin Lane but about the criminal justice system. Also it exposes the use of public interest immunity certificates to keep important evidence hidden from police view. Over 25 years he has not waivered in his insistence that he did not commit murder. He has always believed there was a conspiracy to put him on trial and by turning detective and lawyer he has discovered things about bent coppers and their relationships with serious criminals that look like a plot from the Sopranos.
A bare-knuckle fighter turned movie-star, Lenny Mclean had powerful friends and terrible enemies. In this biography, he tells stories about his life, including how he knocked the mafia’s greatest boxer out in three minutes, and how he was brought in to intimidate the IRA.
My Dad, The Guv’nor
I am the Guv’nor’s daughter – but what does that mean?’
Lenny McLean, better known as The Guv’nor, was a legendary and sometimes terrifying figure: a bare-knuckle fighter, bouncer and, in later life, an actor. He was a formidable force in the East End and across London, but behind his towering demeanour was a loving father who provided a safe haven for his children. For his only daughter, Kelly, his status brought with it a reputation both to live up to, and sometimes escape.
Kelly experienced the old East End way of life, often lived just outside the law, first-hand and equally the uncertainty that came with her father’s mood swings and the ‘black dog’ that followed him around, despite their close bond. The connection between father and daughter became even more apparent as Kelly began to battle her own mental health issues that, as a mum to two young children, would threaten to destroy her life.
In this incredibly frank and poignant memoir, Kelly McLean provides a unique insight into life growing up as the daughter of one of the last old-school fighters, featuring many previously untold stories. This is the story of East End life from a woman who has seen it, lived it, and sometimes been plagued by it.
Verizon, The true story about Camden’s Ocean’s eleven style £100 million robbery
In 2007 the Verizon business Centre, King’s Cross London played host to one of the UK’s most brazen and audacious heists since the great train Robbery.
Boasting one of the Worlds most sophisticated security systems and hosting some of the most valuable banking data for several of the worlds leading banks, Verizon was considered one of the toughest jobs in the criminal underworld. Located in the middle of three large London police stations it would require expert planning and nerves of steel to even contemplate entry.
Then one evening a police fast response team would descend on the building and take control. Except it wasn’t a police team, it was Camden’s very own “Ocean’s Eleven” gang; using disguise and deception to gain control over the whole security operation, they would leave without raising the alarm with data chips worth £5million and data worth £100million.
The story has to be seen to be believed, this is the book that follows the ringleader, the mastermind – Terry Ellis from humble beginnings in Camden Town to the most wanted man in Britain.
Outaw. Learning lessons the hard way as Britain’s most dangerous man. Ray Bishop
Follow Britain’s most wanted man into London’s underworld and back out again Ray Bishop was on the run, skulking in a dealer’s house in north London, when an image of his face flashed up on the TV, accompanied by a public warning. The assembled company were aghast, and Ray felt sick at what he saw. How had he become Britain’s most wanted man?
Growing up in a council estate in South East London, where he and his friends were regularly brutalised by the police, Ray tells all of his early days of petty crime. Being despatched to notoriously violent youth-detention centres where he was further criminalized he graduated with flying colours to a career in London’s underworld as an armed robber, a drug smuggler and a people trafficker, developing a serious addiction to cocaine and heroin along the way.
But Ray’s is also story of redemption, of coming back from rock bottom and learning lessons the hard way. Enrolling in a rigorous rehabilitation programme, Ray turned his life around. He went on to realise his childhood dream of becoming WBC Unlicensed British Middleweight Boxing Champion, setting up his own business and advocating for others along the way. Here’s how he did it.
Charlie Breaker. ‘Nuff Said. Tales of a South London Villain
I have written a collection of some of the more bizarre times in my life. Some are very different, some are totally crazy, some sexy, some very violent. Some serious crimes, murders, and underworld control stories. You might know me, you might have been there or just heard the tales first or second hand. Some are South London stories passed down through the generations, from the old timers that were there.
On the run from the police several times took me to Newcastle, Hereford, Cornwall, Ireland and Tenerife where I was finally locked up. There were many drug and alcohol induced wild scenes at these venues.
I worked in Jamaica for many years, selling stolen car parts through my franchises. I was earning more in a day than most Jamaicans could in six months. This bought on a brilliant lifestyle that few could comprehend.
Back in Brixton, I opened the first ever white man run Reggae club, The Red Stripe. I then got seriously involved in the ganja trading world. I ended up as Mr Brixton, the top weed supplier to the Jamaican community. I was only two down the line from the famous smuggler, Mr Nice. Howard Marks became a long time friend, always on my doorstep but I never knew him then. He cast me in the film ‘Mr Nice’ and mentioned me a couple a times in the sequel ‘Señor Nice’.
Charlie Bronson put me in his film ‘Bronson’ and wrote about me in his books, as did media ‘gangster’, Dave Courtney. I played his uncle, Sir Charlie, in his blockbuster ‘Hell to Pay’.
Check Mr Breaker in Lock Stock an’ Two Smokin’ Barrels.
No love stories here, only sex. No heroes, only villains. No justified nice guys, bad boys only.
My life was a whirlwind of crime, violence and sex, fuelled by drugs, booze and rock n roll. Not the suitable for the weak hearted.
These jackanories are laced with rhyming slang, South London humour and culture.
If there’s any decency about you at all, you won’t buy this book!
I am not a Gangster
‘I am not a gangster,’ I spat. ‘I’m a businessman trying to make a hard-earned crust. Understood?’
I didn’t give him time to reply. I took the barrel out of his mouth and smashed him in the face with the butt. His lip split, but he wasn’t a dead man. He seemed to appreciate that his life had been spared.
He spluttered his thanks: ‘Ok, you’re not a gangster. You are not a gangster.’
This is the gripping true story of how one man ruled his north London manor with an iron fist – and a sawn-off shotgun called Kennedy. It’s a shocking insight into a society where the rules are made by gangland leaders and if anybody dare break them, they have to deal with the consequences.
Bobby was sent to prison for the first time in 1967, aged 16, and over the next decade he established himself as a hardened criminal running protection rackets and robberies against a backdrop of all-out gang warfare, where doorstep slayings and bloody shoot-outs were common.
Eventually Bobby was sentenced to 12 years in Britain’s most notorious prisons, along with the Krays, Charlie Richardson and the Yorkshire Ripper. Inside, he was introduced to the Open University and on his release he soon got down to business again. Only this time his efforts saw him go from custody of Her Majesty’s Prison Service to meeting with the Queen herself…
I Am Not A Gangster is an explosive account of life in the criminal underworld by one of Britain’s most dangerous men, but above all it’s a remarkable tale of redemption with the biggest turnaround in gangland history.
Dave Courtney’s Little Black Book
Dave Courtney’s Little Black Book is back, and will tell you all you ever needed to know about gangsters and London’s criminal under-world. Packed with amazing insider-knowledge:
– Profiles of legends such as Reggie Kray and Ronnie Biggs
– The tougher-than-tough women in Dave’s world
– Who made it – and who didn’t
– A dictionary of gangster speak
The Godfather Of British Crime
To Britain’s criminal underworld, Freddie Foreman is the Godfather. Held responsible for the gangland killings of Ginger Marks and Frank ‘The Mad Axeman’ Mitchell, he was the punisher to those who broke the underworld’s strict code of conduct. Foreman’s dramatic kidnap and arrest for Britain’s biggest cash robbery made headlines around the world, yet this daring raid was just the peak of the safe-blowing, bank-robbing career that spanned decades. His story is a fascinating, yet chilling account of life as a freelance enforcer for the Kray twins, and as London’s most feared gangster. Bloodshed aside, Freddie’s often humorous stories reveal a caring man who believes that violence is a last resort and who always treated people with respect. Revealed in these pages are the amazing details of the heists, the double crossings, the shoot-outs and the betrayals that accompanied life as a career criminal when the streets were controlled by fear. Exposed are the audacious plans behind the century’s most famous crimes, the damning evidence of police corruption and the eye-opening events that gave Freddie this most revered reputation.
Carlton The Final Say
I try to read all of the books that I present on this website, I believe it gives a certain amount of “Quality control” to the visitors here.
Although I won’t slag off any particular authors in the “true crime” genre for the pure drivel that they commit to paper, I simply won’t present their books here because they don’t meet my “standards”! I leave it up to you to spot the missing “true crime” authors, and if you’ve got a decent detective hat on, then you could work it out for yourselves who the missing authors may be.(although there may be some that I simply haven’t got to read yet!)
Carlton Leach’s previous best seller from 2003 “Muscle” gave a real insight into the tough world that he had been a part of for over 20 years.. the book was successful and it also sits proudly in my personal collection, if you haven’t read it yet, then I suggest you buy a copy!
Moving forward to now, the release of “Carlton, The Final Say”.. This book will also sit proudly within my collection!
near on two decades on from “Muscle”, Carlton presents his life from early school years right up to present day and including sections from close friends and family members plus never before seen photos . This hasn’t got the “feel” of a bog-standard autobiography.. This is as close as you can get to going out for a drink with Carlton and his crew without actually going for a drink with him! It truly is a great book that not only gives you Carlton Leach’s personal and up-close history, but also some revealing things that are close to his heart and the things (and people) that are not.
Books like this will always take a proud placement on the Londoncrime website,(and on my bookshelf!) do yourself a favour and grab a copy.. Jim (Londoncrime founder)
Reflecting upon his childhood and the renowned 90s so as to fill in blanks that have remained largely unspoken of, The Final Say is set to reveal what Carlton’s life has been like over the last 2 decades….this book is sure to surprise many who have pre-conceptions on both his beliefs and his private life! Offering so much more than just violence and crime, this book also delves into intimate details of Carlton’s life, from his east London up-bringing including his 1960s and 70s schooling, the highs experienced over decades of partying in Ibiza, to the immense pain of watching his father fade and pass away, plus so much more inbetween. Here, Carlton recalls the most extreme moments in his life that have yet to be discussed, from the most joyous to the excruciating. This is a rare opportunity to hear, not just from the man himself, but also from those closest to him; Carlton’s family and inner-circle. For Carlton, it’s time to set rumours straight, leave his legacy and for him to have the final say. Going a step further than the written word, this book also includes over 35 never before published photographs!
Rise of the Footsoldier
‘The first thing that caught my eye was the geezer with the gold tooth – the second was that he was holding a shooter – and the third that he was pointing it at me.’ Carlton Leach is a gangland legend – the mere mention of his name strikes fear into his enemies; yet to his friends he is as loyal and caring as they come. If trouble comes calling, Carlton isn’t afraid to let his fists do the talking and woe betide anyone who crosses him, or those close to him. At last, in Rise of the Footsoldier, Carlton gives the full account of his life including how his story has been made into a hugely successful film. Born and raised in East London, Carlton was a key member of the notorious Essex Boys gang and the West Ham InterCity Firm, one of the most violent hooligan gangs to trouble the football terraces during the eighties. He’s been shot at, stabbed, glassed – he’s even had an axe in his head. Yet the event that really brought turmoil into his life was the murder of his best friend in the infamous Range Rover murders. Carlton vowed that he would find those responsible and make them pay. There isn’t much that Carlton hasn’t seen or experienced in his life and his tales of violence, gang wars and close calls with death will have you on the edge of your seat. He knows how close he has come to dying and has therefore shut the door on a gangland life. He may have changed but, as he himself says, ‘I’ll always need to exercise the Carlton Leach brand of justice. It’s in me – ‘
This is the gripping autobiography of Carlton Leach, a man to be reckoned with. He has earned himself respect throughout the deadly underworld he occupies. Make a friend of Carlton and you have an ally for life; cross him at your peril. For 20 years he has ranked among the toughest of Britain’s brawn brigade. He was a key member of the dreaded Essex Boys gang which ran riot in the eighties and the nineties, sparking a savage drugs war which saw three of his pals wiped out in the 1995 Range Rover massacre. Even now, he knows that a bullet still has his name on it as a result of that simmering feud. Carlton was minder to boxer Nigel Benn throughout his glory years in the ring and tells of the blood, sweat and tears of their special relationship. He also tells how he saved four of his firm from being tortured to death and their wives and daughters raped in front of them after a #10 million heroin consignment went missing
Loyalist Paramilitary Gunrunner
A Londoner enters a world of guns, bombs and assassinations until the Special Branch of the police and military intelligence step in. Frank’s years as a peaceful football fan and Socialist end abruptly when he turns to hooliganism and British Nationalism. In the menacing drinking clubs of Belfast, he takes orders from prominent Loyalist paramilitaries. His crimes escalate until the media and authorities uncover his secretive and dangerous existence.
At Londoncrime, we take a look at various books and films, and we like to read or watch whatever comes on to this site before presenting them on here.
I initially got hooked into the writing of David Videcette from his first fiction release The Theseus Paradox and then followed by the second book The Detriment ,
(if you haven’t read these yet, then I strongly recommend that you do!) With decades of experience working in counter-terror operations and combatting organised crime as a Scotland Yard detective, David’s experience shows in his writing and totally proves that he knows exactly what he writes about.
Estate agent Suzy Lamplugh went missing in July 1986, David Videcette takes you on a quest to unpick her mysterious disappearance and scrutinise the shadowy ‘Mr Kipper’. “Finding Suzy” is the result of David’s 5 year investigation and research into the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh. This book breaks down the original investigation, proves errors and provides results of new interviews, and it certainly sheds some light onto this whole mystery.
I personally would like to highly recommend this book, it had me hooked from beginning to end and I hope that David will follow up with more investigations like this. I look forward to the next release, whether it’s going to be fact or fiction, it’s sure to be a great read!
Step inside a real-life, missing person investigation in this compelling, true crime must-read.
Uncover what happened to missing estate agent Suzy Lamplugh, as David Videcette takes you on a quest to unpick her mysterious disappearance and scrutinise the shadowy ‘Mr Kipper’.
One overcast Monday in July 1986, 25-year-old estate agent Suzy Lamplugh vanished whilst showing a smart London property to a mysterious ‘Mr Kipper’.
Despite the baffling case dominating the news and one of the largest missing persons cases ever mounted, police failed to find a shred of evidence establishing what had happened to her.
Sixteen years later, following a second investigation and under pressure from Suzy’s desperate parents, police named convicted rapist and murderer John Cannan as their prime suspect. However, the Crown Prosecution Service refused to charge him, citing a lack of evidence.
High-profile searches were conducted, yet Suzy’s body was never found. The trail that might lead investigators to her, long since lost.
Haunted by another missing person case, investigator and former Scotland Yard detective, David Videcette, has spent five years painstakingly reinvestigating Suzy’s cold case disappearance.
Through a series of incredible new witness interviews and fresh ground-breaking analysis, he uncovers piece by piece what happened to Suzy and why the case was never solved.
People don’t just disappear…
How to Rob Banks and Influence People
Vic Dark is one of the biggest names in criminal history–there are few in the country that can match his criminal record. During an adrenaline-fueled career as an armed robber, his willingness to take incredible risks, combined with a solder-like ability to formulate watertight strategies and to execute them with chilling coolness, ensured a string of astonishingly successful robberies. Yet his luck couldn’t last forever, and Vic was eventually caught on the job, and sentenced to 24 years in jail. Having served his time and gone straight, Vic has decided to tell his own story, in his own words. The result is “How to Rob Banks and Influence People” a white-knuckle ride though the UK’s terrifying criminal underworld, offering a rare glimpse into the mind of a man who was prepared to go to the extreme to get what he wanted, but has come out with no illusions about the reality of being a criminal.
The life story of Cass Pennant is packed with amazing stories of a life lived on the edge of the law. In this amazing book, he tells of how he saved World Boxing Champion, Frank Bruno from a vicious knife attack; how he was shot three times in the chest and still kept on fighting and how he was alleged to be the leader of the notorious West Ham ‘InterCity Firm’.’When you see a man like Frank Bruno in trouble, you don’t have time to think about yourself. You just go in there with your fists and do what you have to do…’
The Krays. The prison years
In the 60s, Ronnie and Reggie Kray were Britain’s most notorious gangsters. With violence and intimidation they were the kings of London. They sipped champagne with celebrities and rubbed shoulders with politicians. They were untouchable. Until they weren’t. After an undercover operation, the Kray twins were found guilty of murder and were sentenced to life in prison. They were just 35 years old. But once inside, the twins were determined to make their stay truly historic. The Twins began earning more money inside than they ever did on the streets. They sold branded t-shirts and memorabilia and they allowed books and films to be published about their lives. They didn’t stop. Whilst locked up, their mother died as did their brother Charlie, and their associates and friends all fell away. But while Britain changed as a nation, the brothers continued to operate as the gangsters they once were. Their violence ingrained so deep that they couldn’t leave it behind. The Krays: The Prison Years explores the fascinating and largely untold story of the Kray twins following their imprisonment.
The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins
The classic, bestselling account of the infamous Kray twins, now a major film, LEGEND, starring Tom Hardy.
Reggie and Ronald Kray ruled London’s gangland during the 1960s. Building an empire of organised crime such as nobody has done before or since. John Pearson explores the relationship that bound the twins together, and charts their career to their downfall and imprisonment for life in 1969.
Now expanded to include further extraordinary revelations, including the unusual alliance between the Kray twins and Lord Boothby – the Tory peer who won £40,000 in a libel settlement when he denied allegation of his association with the Krays – The Profession of Violence is a truly classic work.
Charlie Richardson The Last Gangster
Charlie Richardson, one of Britain’s most notorious gangland bosses, sheds light on his extraordinary life story completed just weeks before his death in September 2012. Notorious Charlie Richardson was the most feared gangster in 1960s London. Boss of the Richardson Gang and rival of the Krays, to cross him would result in brutal repercussions. Famously arrested on the day England won the World Cup in 1966, his trial heard he allegedly used iron bars, bolt cutters and electric shocks on his enemies. The Last Gangster is Richardson’s frank account of his largely untold life story, finished just before his death in September 2012. He shares the truth behind the rumours and tells of his feuds with the Krays for supremacy, undercover missions involving politicians, many lost years banged up in prison and reveals shocking secrets about royalty, phone hacking, bent coppers and the infamous black box. Straight up, shocking and downright gripping, this is the ultimate exposé on this legendary gangster and his extraordinary life.
Lost Soul: Broken Soul to Soul on Fire (Getting Your Life Back)
Although not strictly a “crime book”, this is from one of LondonCrime’s featured authors (and a very good friend), Swallowed by the lasting effects of brain trauma that an assault at work left her facing, Donna Siggers lost all sense of purpose. Challenges included memory loss, constant pain, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and seizures. Relearning who the important people in her life were, and with their support, Donna has fought diligently to regain quality of life despite it being vastly different from before. Unable to look at her own reflection and initially unaccepting of forced change, this candid account of triumph over adversity will give hope to others facing similar difficulties. Now an award-winning crime fiction author and a mental health advocate, Donna strives in spite of her experience and hopes by sharing her story it will inspire others..
Soul Searching. To PTSD hell and back twice
Following on from Donna’s previous book “Lost Soul. Broken Soul to Soul on Fire, this book, Soul Searching, to PTSD hell and back twice, Donna goes into greater revealing depth of not only her life but the science behind mental trauma/ mental health. Disturbing at times, but also with it’s funny moments.. there is a lot to learn from this book!
Trapped within what Donna describes as a cycle of doom, it took a life-threatening situation resulting in brain trauma that she survived, for her to step beyond the grips of what held her encapsulated within it. Soul Searching is her PTSD journey in which Donna discusses trauma frankly. Ultimately the prose conveys how, through inner determination, Donna has turned her greatest fears into courage to own her story in order to live her best life.
Scientifically aware, she shares how the chemicals our bodies naturally release interfere with recovery and mental health, in understanding this aspect of yourself Donna hopes it can forge a way forward for you too.
As stated in the description on Londoncrime for her book “Lost Soul”, this is not primarily a crime book, but there are crimes within.
Donna has been a part of the Londoncrime “family” from the outset, and It’s always an honour to have her books on the site. We are also very good friends that share common interests including mental health issues, which means I’m particularly honoured to be a part of this book.
(Jim Fletcher. Londoncrime.co.uk founder)
Joey Pyle: Notorious
The Krays, the Richardsons and men like Buster Edwards or Freddie Foreman may be better known, but by the end of the sixties they were either in prison or living in enforced exile. Joey Pyle was every bit as notorious, feared and respected. His broad range of criminal contacts and associates ensured he was either involved in or very much aware of every major criminal escapade that took place. From the murder of Jack the hat by the Kray twins to the Great Train Robbery, from the fatal shooting at the Pen Club to the American Mafia’s attempts to penetrate London’s casino scene, Pyle has seen it all.
Like Father Like Son: A Journey of Minds
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON, A Journey of Minds is the joint work of Joe Pyle snr and jnr. Both keen lovers of poetry, this book is a compilation of both poem books looking at Life and From Villain to verse-maker. The book also contains a few unknown stories as well a few excerpts from the script of the motion picture currently in post-production about the life of Joe Pyle snr.
There are extra poems that never made it to their poetry books, one of which is a poem snr wrote for Ronnie Kray when he was in Parkhurst prison. Joe also include a few chapters of his time in South Africa, a fun time which turned very dark. It is a tale of Joe’s life which few people know about, but it’s included into this book as there have been talks about the possibility of a future movie being created from it.
Fascinating insight into Joe Pyle’s life and time spent in Afrika, exciting, harsh and often terrifying times! There are words to live by in the terrific poetry from both Joe Pyle Jnr and Snr. This is definitely a must-read for your collection! (Jim-Londoncrime.co.uk)
Mean Machine:Roy Shaw
The definitive story of East End Hard Man Roy Shaw, as told by the Shaw family.
Mean Machine includes many, previously untold, tales from Roy’s colourful life.
Roy Shaw was a former unlicensed British heavyweight champion, holder of the original Guvnor title.
He was a dangerous Category A prisoner and property tycoon.
Whether you loathed or loved him, His charismatic life and times are now immortalised within the pages of this book.
Mean Machine is the most accurate account of the legendary East End hard-man.
Told to Jamie Boyle by Roy’s only son Gary.
Inside Broadmoor: Up close and personal with Britain’s most dangerous criminals
Broadmoor. Few place names in the world have such chilling resonance. For over 150 years, it has contained the UK’s most violent, dangerous and psychopathic.
Since opening as an asylum for the criminally insane in 1863 it has housed the perpetrators of many of the most shocking crimes in history; including Jack the Ripper suspect James Kelly, serial killers Peter Sutcliffe, John Straffen and Kenneth Erskine, armed robber Charles Bronson, gangster Ronnie Kray, and cannibal Peter Bryan.
The truth about what goes on behind the Victorian walls of the high security hospital has largely remained a mystery, but now with unprecedented access TV journalist Jonathan Levi and cultural historian Emma French paint a vivid picture of life at Broadmoor, after nearly a decade observing and speaking to those on the inside.
Including interviews with the staff, its experts and the patients themselves, Inside Broadmoor is the most comprehensive study of the institution to-date.
Published at the dawn of a new era for the hospital, this is the full story of Broadmoor’s past, present and future and a dark but enlightening journey into the minds of Britain’s most dangerous and how they are treated.
Jimmy Tippett Jnr was born into gangster aristocracy. Son of legendary boxer and South London heavy, Jimmy Tippett, he grew up rubbing shoulders with the most notorious faces in London. The result was a lifestyle amongst the criminal elite – and with an upbringing like JImmy’s, what could go wrong? He had the brains, the muscle and the balls to be a player, and when the work was done there were cars, cash, drugs, girls and high times. His reputation as a man never to be crossed was undisputed. But was Jimmy traveled deeper into the heart of the underworld, his judgement began to falter. Mired in cocaine and paranoia, his operation began to come off the rails. Friend and foe alike became targets, and the world he had known for so long threatened to tear him apart…
The Dirty Dozen: The real story of the rise and fall of London’s most feared armed robbery gang
THE TRUE STORY OF LONDON’S MOST PROLIFIC ARMED ROBBERY GANG
The average bank robbery takes around four minutes. The essential ingredients are ruthlessness, cunning and plenty of bottle. You’ll also need a weapon, a disguise and a getaway car. If you have all those things, then you could go to work right now. The Bradish boys had all these things and, boy, did they go to work.
The ‘Dirty Dozen’ were a ruthless federation of criminals who ran the armed robbery game in London for over a decade.
When charismatic leader ‘Gentleman’ Jim Doyle was jailed, the innovative but violent Bradish brothers, Sean and Vincent, stepped up to take the throne. Hardened by a life in London’s most lawless corners, they recruited a tight-knit crew to forge a reputation as the brutal kings of their underworld trade.
Banks, security vans, post offices, travel agents – anywhere was fair game and nowhere was safe. With endless money at their disposal, the gang spent freely on cars, drugs and decadence. Life was good.
But with the Met’s tough-as-nails Flying Squad hot on their heels, a member of the inner circle cracked under the pressure and turned grass – and so began the thrilling chase-down of the Bradish boys and their illicit empire. The Dirty Dozen is the real story of the rise and fall of London’s most feared crime syndicate.
London Crime, Barry Faulkner
You have to admit, this is a great title for a book (but I may be a bit biased!) Although not associated with the website, this is a great book! An in-depth look at the major London crimes and robberies of the 1930s – 2020. The heists, the rackets and the empires of the gangsters who ruled the city and where their money came from. Starting with the Messina Brothers in the 1930-40s and how they introduced London to people trafficking and major prostitution, through to the modern gangs. On the journey through we visit all the big heists including the Securitas and Brinks Mat bullion robberies, the Great Train Robbery, the Baker Street ‘naughty photos of Princess Margaret’ robbery through to the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit and all those in between in detail and take a look at the masterminds who planned them and carried them out and what happened afterwards. When millions of pounds are involved loyalties are broken and bodies turn up. We take a good look at the Krays and Richardsons and their little war and the ‘names’ involved like McVitie, Cornell and Fraser. It’s an astounding history that will amaze you.
The Monkey Puzzle Tree
The headline “Armed police throw ring of steel around court” says it all. Stephen Gillen was the most wanted and most feared in the UK. But not everything was what it seemed and this gripping true crime story reveals for the first time what actually happened. The Monkey Puzzle tree is not fiction. It happened. Real people did unspeakable things. Stephen’s journey took him through the brutal civil war in Northern Ireland where as a child he witnessed real hell on earth. It took him into London’s hidden organised crime scene, and high-security prisons. But in the end, it is an inspirational story of transformation and redemption that takes us from the darkest places back into the light. You will never read a more powerful book.
Sibbet. A Body Under The Bridge
On the 5th January 1967, at 5:15 AM, The body of Angus Sibbet was discovered in the back of a Jaguar Mark X under Pesspool Bridge, South Hetton, County Durham.
Subsequently, Londoners Dennis Stafford and Michael Luvaglio were arrested for the murder, and after the court case, were sentenced to life imprisonment (they both served 12 years). The two men that have protested their innocence ever since.
Neither men had motive to Kill Angus, no weapon found, no witnesses to the crime and Michael Luvaglio classed Angus Sibbet as his “best friend”.
Angus Sibbet was in the business of installing and collecting cash from fruit machines (One armed bandits), and was part of the company “Social Club Services” along with Dennis Stafford, Michael Luvaglio and the company owner (Michael’s Brother) Vince Landa.
In what became known as “The one armed bandit murder”, the police investigation and court case had more holes than a collander! In modern times, this case would have been laughed out of the courts.
I have taken a lot of personal interest in this case. My dad knew Michael Luvaglio from the early “60’s, and was insistant that there was no way on earth that Michael would have done this. My dad passed away on Christmas day 2014, and I had decided to research the “One armed bandit murder” in more detail. (which, in turn, resulted in Londoncrime.co.uk being born!). Why is this book appearing on Londoncrime? Because, there are so many links, references and rumours to London.. Simple!
There was one book that had all of the details of the case, with court transcripts, facts and much more. This book was called “Most Unnatural: An inquiry into the Stafford case” written by David Lewis and Peter Hughman and was released in 1971. I was extremely lucky to be able to get a copy, but this book is difficult to get hold of now (but if you can get a copy, buy it!)
There is another book that was released by Steven Lytton in 2012 called “Mark X. The killing of Angus Sibbet. The one armed bandit Murder” which gives another independant view of the case, and this is also proving difficult to get hold of (although I do have a copy)
Moving forward to 2020, and we have “Sibbet. A body under the bridge”.. written by the same authors as “most unnatural” David Lewis and Peter Hughman,edited by Steve Wraith, the case gets revisited with new evidence, mistakes in the investigation and theories of why the murder was committed and by whom.
If you’re new to the case, and want to learn about it, this is an ideal book which will bring you up to speed. If you already know the case, then the book is a worthwhile addition to learn more from. Filled with photos, documents and much more, I would personally recommend that you get a copy.
For me, my personal involvement was never to find out who actually done the murder, but to attempt to prove the innocence of Michael Luvaglio and Dennis Stafford in what was so obviously a severe miscarriage of justice. Unfortunately, Michael passed away in November 2020 and has gone to his grave as a convicted murderer, but in the eyes of all that knew him, I would prefer to state that he went to his grave as an innocent man wrongfully convicted. RIP Michael Luvaglio.
Jim Fletcher, Founder of Londoncrime.co.uk
My Story. Ron Kray
If you want to read about the Kray Twins, there is no better way to do it than buy the books that were written by them!
Following on from “Our Story”, Ron Kray fills in the gaps and gives his version of the murders of Jack “The Hat” McVitie and George Cornell, describing his bisexuality, his marriage in Broadmoor and clarifying many of the misconceptions about the years when he and Reg ruled the London underworld and simultaneously socialized with some of the most glittering politicians, celebrities and hostesses of the time. Books about the Kray twins are everywhere, but before you get into those, make sure you read Ron Kray’s “My Story”, Reg Kray’s “A way of life” and “Our Story” first.. these are essentials for your collection!
THE BIG CON. How I stole 30 million and got away with it. Tony Sales
Fraudster, swindler, conman, chancer, trickster, loveable rogue, the Southerner with more front than Southend – call him what you will.
Tony Sales knew how to make money.
From emptying fruit machines to cloning credit cards, the man from Greenwich made a mint. And boy did he splash the cash. Fast cars, holidays in sun-kissed millionaires’ playgrounds, mixing with the great and the good.
Then came the internet – the game-changer. Data became the new currency, and how he exploited it, stealing identities and splurging hundreds of thousands on the latest must-have goods.
Sales never fails. Or so he thought.
Tony bit off more than he could chew, and ended up having to swallow a twelve-month stretch in 2010 for passport forgery. It would prove to be a life-changing sentence.
Now he has done a Frank Abagnale Jr. and gone from poacher to gamekeeper, helping global finance giants stave off prolific cyber crooks like his former self.
Only through the eyes of a criminal can you anticipate their next move. This is the incredible true story of King Con: how he stole a fortune, lost it all, and turned his life around.
Fight Fire With Fire, Rene Costa
Fleeing Cypriot civil aged 4 years old, Rene Costa has already witnessed horrific death scenes. Neighbours pinned to walls and shot down in cold blood still embeds in his psyche even now. Watching his 6-year-old brother hanging for stealing 10 pence and dealing with his father’s drunkenness became a battle as the family watched their mothers beatings. Moving to a strange country and the difficulties this entailed added to challenges Rene faced. Rene learnt to stand up for himself, cheated death on several occasions and lost a friend in the process. Dealing with protection rackets during the sixties – gangsters and bullies demanding money from the family – and the disco fever of the seventies. This is a story of money made and lost and of a boy who stayed in control to succeed as a man.Now retired, Rene enjoys spending time with his love of his life of 48 years, in recent years he has become a director and producer for comedy and gangster genre finding success in film festivals.
Lessons Volume 1. Jason Allday
Life lessons are defined by experience and the willingness to accept that you can’t change your past. Some of the most impressionable experiences are lessons in disguise, and who better to learn from than those that have been to the edge and lived to tell the tale! Maybe that’s why I favour old school villains and criminal success over the social and banking elites. Old school isn’t about being the one with the most scars or the arsehole to do any bit of work. It’s more of a philosophy and a mandate. I’ve always maintained and aligned with a working-class identity – there’s more honesty and a clearer intention with those willing to put everything on the line and fight for not what is in front of them, but instead what’s behind them. As it was once said, “Our situation does not require victory, it only forbids surrender.”
A way of life. Reg Kray. His final word
When we think of the Kray Legend, we think of Sixties London, an underground culture that has all but vanished.
Reg Kray was the torchbearer of that era in British history. But despite ongoing press interest in the world of the Krays, few have an understanding of Reg the man – a man who spent half of his life in prison and who sadly died of cancer in October 2000.
Sidgwick & Jackson published Reg and Ron’s joint memoir, “Our Story”, in 1988, and Ron Kray’s autobiography, “My Story”, in 1993. This is Reggie’s story, a diary of the life he lived, with reflections on the past and the new role he found for himself ‘on the inside’.
This is a story of courage and remorse, revelation and friendship. For the first time he speaks of his marriage to Roberta, of his relationship with his brothers Ron, who passed away in 1995 , and Charlie, who passed away April 2000, putting certain misconceptions straight.
Updated with a new chapter by Roberta Kray, this is a valuable document for future generations and a fascinating insight into prison life.
The Black Widow. Linda Calvey
‘What a fantastic read, but not for the faint-hearted!’ MARTINA COLE
‘True crime has never been more female – or more deadly.’ KIMBERLEY CHAMBERS
‘Admired and respected by the men who worked with her, she is the real deal.’ FREDDIE FOREMAN
If you think you know everything about the East End’s toughest gangsters, think again.
Meet Linda Calvey, aka the Black Widow.
Growing up after the war in the East End of London, Linda falls in with local gangsters including the Krays, Freddie Foreman and Ronnie Cook.
When the love of her life, Mickey Calvey, is gunned down on a job gone wrong, Linda resolves to carry on his work.
But in 1990, after years of living in fear of her lover Ronnie Cook, Linda finds herself accused of his murder alongside Danny Reece, in a trial that shocks the nation. Still, Linda sticks to her code of honour, refusing to confess. Until now…
After 18 years behind bars alongside notorious names including Rose West and Myra Hindley, she is released.
This is the final truth about her life and what happened the day Ronnie Cook was murdered.
Let’s Skip To The Good Bits
Happily married, with a great job and a newborn son, Darren Barden was on top of the world.
Little did he know that a knock on the door would change everything…
Let’s Skip To The Good Bits is the emotional tale of one man’s journey to recovering from a savage knife attack. Darren spares no details as he lists the events that led up to the attack, and what followed. Share with Darren as he tells you what it’s really like to be the victim of an unsolved crime, the mental repercussions that knife crime can have, and his family’s struggle to obtain financial compensation.
A heartbreaking story, of love, loss and the search for acknowledgement, Darren’s experiences will have you laughing and crying in equal measure. With Darren’s help, you truly can ‘Skip To The Good Bits’ and start mending your own mental health.
This account of a terrifying attack on an ordinary working man at his own home will leave you shocked. It is open, honest, and frankly to the point… Darren’s journey of his life before the attack, the events themselves, and the process of recovery makes for an eye-opening read. You feel every emotion in this book, and often wonder how you would cope if this happened to you. Hats off to Darren Barden, this is an important book that people MUST read to realise why we must get knives off of our streets… The full 5 Stars from us at Londoncrime! Jim (londoncrime.co.uk)
Stop The Ride, I Want To Get Off: The Autobiography of Dave Courtney
Dave Courtney – the original behind Vinnie Jones’s character in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels – tells all in his no-holds-barred bestselling autobiography. From the streets of southeast London to bare-knuckle fights; from the funeral of Ronnie Kray to drug-deals turned sour in Holland – Dave Courtney’s story is like no one else’s. “One of the most feared men on the streets of London” (Express) “Book of the week” (Craig Brown Mail on Sunday) “Illuminating, brutal and funny – well worth passing the time with” (Maxim) “Crime, gangsters, guns. Fast money, flashy women, big suits – what a buzz” (Hot Air)
Dave Courtney, whose autobiography, Stop the Ride, I Want to Get Off, was a huge bestseller, reveals all from another hidden aspect of London’s underworld. Notorious in London’s criminal underworld, Dave is also a big name in the club and dance scene. Raving Lunacy is the story of this double life, and how one world spilled over into the other. From parties in prisons, sewers, railway arches and aircraft hangers, to legitimacy (Dave and his partner Terry Turbo won 1999’s ‘Best Large Promotions of the Year’); Raving Lunacy covers the ground that Stop the Ride left out, as Dave details what went on after the doors were shut tight. The clientele that came to the parties was, in Dave’s words, ‘the most colourful characters London has to offer’. Dave was, as ever, in the thick of it and saw and experienced the explosion, the fallout, the casualties and the successes. Told with characteristic humour and brazen honesty, Raving Lunacy reveals the darker side of the era known as the summer of love.
Living Amongst The Beasts
One of the criminal underworld’s most notorious armed robbers and mastermind behind the 2007 £4 million heist at the Verizon business center in King’s Cross London, Terry Ellis speaks about his experience’s in the UK prison that house’s some of its most heinous prisoners.
Not like most mainstream jail’s, HMP Grendon is the only full Therapeutic prison in the UK, housing 228 men who have committed some of the worst crimes imaginable, from rapists to murderers and child killers to paedophiles. HMP Grendon might be different but it certainly isn’t easy bird.
As a young criminal working his way through the ranks, Terry’s biggest strength and greatest asset was violence; a product of the UK care system in the 70’s, using violence he established himself within the criminal fraternity which eventually saw him as the top man behind some of the country’s biggest heists.
He would soon realise that his biggest strength for all those years, was actually a weakness inside Grendon. Violence in a therapeutic community would see him returned to mainstream prison, it was inside Grendon that he learned his normal response of violence would be worthless.
Sitting and listening to the animals around him, about what they did and who they did it to, as a father himself having to listen to someone’s justification about the crimes they committed against children, fighting the instinct to deliver some kind of justice to these people as you might do on the out. Would you be able to elevate above this?
All of the tools at Terry’s disposal were not going to help him through this, he had to learn to live amongst the beasts.
This is the beginning of his story of redemption, his journey away from a life of criminality, the life that had already seen so many years lost due to incarceration, his story about life inside a therapeutic prison, his journey through HMP Grendon. Terry Ellis – Living amongst the beasts.
UNLICENSED – WHO’S THE GUV’NOR The True story behind the phenomenon of Unlicensed Boxing
True and astonishing accounts of how London’s gangsters took control of the UK boxing scene and created a billion-dollar worldwide industry. UNLICENSED – Who’s the Guv’nor Setting the record straight on five decades of the most notorious title in boxing.
From its humble beginnings in London’s underworld to the associations of the world’s leading boxing promoters. The dark and dangerous world of illicit boxing has created legends and myths, bestselling books, documentaries and Hollywood movies…
Now! Hear about it from the men behind the scenes….
ROY SHAW & LENNY MCLEAN had three epic battles that set London alight. They fought to be The GUVNOR. To hold the most Notorious position in the fighting world.
The most dangerous man on the planet…Three fights that have gone down in history and created legends and cemented the Guv’nor title as royalty!
This book is about that title, it’s how it began, and the fighting breed who lost blood fighting for it.
As boxing promoters go, Joey Pyle is the best, he is a silver-tongued, charismatic, dangerous f**ker. He has the ability to hold everyone at arm’s length, and you’re only in Joey’s company if invited. He’s a good friend but a bad enemy. WARNING! This book can seriously alter your views on the boxing world!
The dead do not hide the truth and they never lie. Through me the dead can speak … Dr Richard Shepherd is the UK’s foremost forensic pathologist, his job to understand the deaths which may have no natural cause. From crime scene to court room, his findings are crucial to the pursuit of justice. His work has seen killers put behind bars, exonerated the innocent, and turned open and shut cases on their heads. Shepherd’s obsession with revealing the secrets of the dead is personal. At medical school, while performing his first autopsy, he held the heart of the patient in his hand and thought of his late mother, taken too early by heart disease. He became driven by the challenge of finding the truth, of seeing justice, and by compassion: sometimes for the dead, but always for those they have left behind. Thoughtful, revealing, chilling, sometimes bizarre and always unputdownable, Unnatural Causes is the true crime book of the year.
There’s more to LondonCrime!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of true crime books and books about gangsters, but there’s much more to this site. Head over to the London Attractions page to see where to go and what to visit, check out our list of British Gangster films (London based), and, if your a fiction reader, look over our list of crime fiction books. Alternatively, if you want a bit of history, check out the A TO Z of Londoncrime for some fascinating facts.
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