Jimmy Boyle he deserved what he got.


James Boyle was a Glasgow criminal. I read his book –  A sense of freedom. He grew up poor but that is no excuse. Many grew up poor and went straight. He was a thief from his early years. His thieving went way beyond getting his necessaries. He stole huge amounts. He never saved it sensibly but spent it – going on big benders with booze and drugs.

He was convicted of the murder of a rival mobster. He maintains he is not guilty but was never cleared on appeal.


I lately saw the film about him. The actor playing him was much too old at the beginning. Boyle was 23 when he was sent down for murder. I thought the 15 year minimum before parole was too soft. He was no first time offender. He was a hard man as he liked to say. He revelled in his notoriety –  Scotland’s most violent man.

In prison he could not be good. He was offensive towards prison officers and he attacked them. He was so damn stupid. He could have served his time easily by being good. He spent months in solitary. He merited all the suffering. He was a very nasty piece of work and society had to be safeguarded from a scumbag like him. His dirty protest – putting shit on the wall – showed what a beast he was. If I were the police gloating over his imprisonment for life I would tell Boyle – tonight I am going to bone my wife, go to the pub with my mates, go to the cinema – I am going on hols to Spain soon. You are not going to do any of that again  – ever.

He was released from prison eventually.

About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

471 responses »

  1. A policeman who said that might have found his appendage removed by the jagged edge of a pint glass wielded by a man procured by Jimmy Boyle to follow him home from the cinema while on holiday in Spain.

    • He was ghastly Boyle. He served 19 years. In fact he should have been kept in for 30. He was a truly nasty piece of work. He was a psychopath. He was violent even when that made his situation worse. He had no chance of overcoming all the guards. He did not try to escape. I would have given him one meal a weak so he became too debilitated to be a threat. Of course with ”human rights” the humanity of everyone is taken away by odious cunts like Boyle.

      • You are a right prick mate and an arrogant one at that, yes Boyle was a scumbag but he’s done more for people after he turned it around what have you done for anyone except yourself, you pull people up for grammar etc that makes you a cunt a smart ass who thinks he’s better than others, you would have bowed and scraped in front of someone like Boyle not been the bigmouth you are on here all safe behind a computer desk.

      • I am better than others. Yes, I am safe here. Why would I have bowed to Boyle? He was a violent psychopath – nothing to be proud of.

  2. Jimmy Boyle was no hard man, he preyed on the weak and vulnerable. The media were wrong to make out he was a gangster
    and the man he killed was a gangster, the man he killed was an alcoholic never used a weapon in his life, Boyle was a liberty taker. I knew Boyle and Babs Rooney the man he murdered.

    • Dear Mrs Haston, I thank you for your insightful comment. Jimmy Boyle was loathsome and deserved everything that he got. Why do you say he was no gangster? The man he killed may have been as bad. People say it is dirt on dirt. However, one must not allow lawless violence. It is right that people go to prison for such things.

      • He certainly was not a gangster, he was a little thug, Babs Rooney had borrowed three pounds from a local money lender whom Jimmy worked for. The money lender stood outside the local labour exchange in Kinning Park and collected money owed. Babs being a drunk mannaged to skip out another door without paying Beef the money lender. Jimmy went to Bab’s house along with a friend of his’s brother that day knowing Babs would let him in with a carry out. There was a third man with them who has never been mentioned.
        Perhaps it was that man who murdered Babs, Jimmy has never admitted murder. Jimmy always had people with him when he stabbed, slashed or stole as I have said before

        Jimmy Boyle was no Gangster he was a libery taker.

      • It would seem Miss Haston that you are better acquainted with the minutiae of his crimes than I am. I am not in a position to quibble with this version of events. He was a nasty piece of work. Can we agree on that?

      • I think Jimmy thought he was another Arthur Thompson but Jimmy was nothing like him. Arthur would help out anyone who was introuble with local gangs, if some old lady or man was being evicted for rent arears he would pay thier rent and ask for nothing in return, Jimmy would take advantage of thier situation, I saw a man outside Fairfields shipyard who had just finnished work standing crying after Jimmy had taken his weeks wages from him leaving him without a penny.
        I married a childhood friend of Jimmy’s and was introduced to many would be gangsters who were like Jimmy,,,,a legend in their own minds.

      • I was married to a friend of his for 18 year ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++BABS was a near down and out who couldn’t punch his way out of a wet paper bag.

      • Yes and in prison they are targeted by screws who commit worse crimes than the prisoner, they go in team handed to batter senseless prisoners yet if that was on the street it would be years in jail for it, I have posted a couple of comments awaiting your ok it will be interesting to see if you only keep the comments that don’t call you out for being the wank you are, will you censor mines let’s see.

    • I too have read both of Jimmys biographies..fascinating to hear views of him and his behaviour from a different perspective. Anymore stories of him your willing to share? Would love to read your book when its finished.

    • He didn’t murder anyone you should know that after all you have gangland connections, so you know the truth he did the time rather than grass do he cant be such a bad bastard can he.

  3. Having just read both of Jimmy Boyle’s books about his life I was doing some research online and came across your blog.

    I have to say I find your judgement very harsh, and I suggest you consider what prison is for. If it is indeed a place to store all the nasty pieces of work in the world so us ‘normal’ human beings can continue merrily on with our lives safely then yes, perhaps your view is fitting. However if a prison is a place of rehabilitation your view is very closed minded. I find it extraordinary of you to say that 15 years was not long enough. Did Jimmy Boyle not change his life entirely in that ‘mere’ 15 years? Why would the 30 you suggest benefit better? He had the support (in the Special Unit) and the strength to learn to be a better man in half as much time as you would have him rot for. Which attitude towards life is more admirable then, his now or yours expressed in this blog? Since leaving prison this man has changed himself and his life, and worked for good in the lives of others. He now lives peacefully and quietly.

    I strongly suggest you read his second book, The Pain of Confinement. It documents his time in the Special Unit in Barlinnie, and his own personal struggle with who he had become. It also highlighted the difference that can be made to somebody’s life when the proper care is given to them. I notice you do not judge the prison guards who acted as the prisoners did. What those guards did would have bought them the same sentence Boyle received in a fair system. So please think twice before you applaud their actions.

    I am sorry if I anger you with my views in this comment; I do not intend to. I merely wish to present another angle to his story, and encourage an open mind refraining from judgement. I am no fool; he did terrible things and that can not go unpunished. However on the flip side of that, I am no fool in that he has been punished and has since become a reformed and respected member of society. I suggest you also bear that in mind.

    • Sarah,

      I strongly disagree with you about Jimmy Boyle. Is he still alive? I fondly hope that he is not. He was a deeply wicked man. He caused his own suffering and he earned the punishment that he received.

      • He’s living in Marakesh, enjoying the money that he has made through his books and media payments.

      • How long did he serve in prison inside? I am unsure that he paid his debt to society. Supposing he has been sufficiently punished then I do not raise any objection to him living out his days in modest comfort. To think that he profited from his crimes is galling.

      • I don’t think he is living off his “books and media payments”. After he got out he tried to get away from the media but that doesn’t sell papers, does it? Since leaving prison he has led a peaceful life living off the money he has made through his art work. I can only commend the work of the Special Unit for giving people actual skills, instead of our then prison system – and indeed our current prison system – in which people soon forget how to function on a day to day basis without a prison guard telling them where to go and what to do. To me, if someone can clean up their act and turn their life around to that extent he has been sufficiently punished.

      • Sarah, it seems that you know a great deal more about the old lag than I do. He has done her porridge. Did he not make a few farthings out of his scribblings? He has served his time and thus legally discharghed his debt to society. I have no wish to disturb the old boy now.

    • Agree with your comments Sarah. Sadly a great people do not believe (or do not want to believe) in the possibility of redemption. I think it makes them feel better about themselves. The truly shocking aspect is that many of them go to church and would describe themselves as Christians.

      • Dear Dorchester girl,

        If you read my other posts you will see that I do believe in redemption. I am not a Christian though. What has Boyle done to make up for his ghastly criminous past? I am not saying he has done nothing but I am in need of much convincing that he has undone his wickedry. Rehabilitation is the ideal outcome of prison. Only a total ingenue would believe that even the evilest man can be always be turned good by a spell in the nick.

      • Would you say that if it had been your father who cried and wet himself outside his work because Jimmy was taking his whole weeks wages????
        I lived next to these people in Govan and the Gorbals where did you grow up?

    • I don’t need to read his book or see any films supposedly about his life, I knew him. Prisons are to punish not rehabilitate, maybe if one of your family had been assaulted boyle you may feel different,

      I suggest my comments are correct and you read a book, his children are junkies perhaps dead now,would he not have been better being a responsible parent and not a liberty taker, he affected every one whom him and his cronies took liberties with, perhaps you are mesmerised by his bad boy image, but you should never believe everything you read in a book.

      You ask me how many years I would have given him.

      30 years in segregation after making him a eunuch and his family provide daily food for him, His first marriage failed he now lives in Marrakesh or his vineyard in France, he has used the system to make money and become a hero to the small minded, not bad for a liberty taker, he lived in luxury in the special unit, state of the art gym, meals made for him and lots of other perks, wouldn’t mind that myself it costs me £150 per month to join a decent gym.
      Not meaning to insult you or sway your open mind I find your comments child like.

      • it is obvious you have led a sheltered life and are quite ignorant and out of touch with reality in fact you do sound a bit psychotic so please get some help before you harm someone.

      • Yes, I have led a sheltered life. I know little of the criminal element. Are you a psychiatrist. I suspect that you are not. I think you should not use such terminology for the purpose of personal abuse.

      • ann u r soi bitter,, what if ur family was in prison.. then maybe u would see it different

      • It’s your comments that are child like you knew of Boyle you did not know him personally you knew of his reputation and if idiots borrowed money from scumbag money lenders then that’s there fault it’s ok for everyone else to murder children rape children etc and get out and do nothing except more crime he did his sentence more than enough time and he turned his life around you are just a bitter old woman who actually knows nothing but pretends to know plenty now if he had got out and did more crime I would agree with you but he got a life sentence for a murder he did not commit so you idiots are saying he deserved to be castrated locked up for ever etc for doing what thousands of glasgow gangland figures have done in fact he was a baby compared to some, but unlike lots he actually repented and helped hundreds of young people straitened there life’s out BUT people like you and the Scottish press hounded the guy to the point he left Britain and yes I am sure you will say good riddance its bitter twisted people like you that can turn someone trying hard to changec back to the way they used to be for gods sake was 15 yrs most of it in solitary confinement being brutally beaten by guards beaten so bad that someone like Boyle would get 10 yrs at least for yet the screws could do it time after time he did 15 yrs of that and you think it wasn’t enough WHY for being a moneylender yes a scumbag but he wasn’t a murderer even though he did the time for it you are just bitter bitter idiots.

    • his judgment is harsh that is actually polite pity the writer of that piece of putting his shit on the wall saying it was disgusting ….should maybe study the history of the blanket men the dirty protests and then the starving themselves to death to get rights everyone is now entitled to …13 brave men died for the scum in prison these days

      • Thank you for your comment. I am somewhat confused by your first sentence since it is ungrammatical. I know about the blanket men. I have no sympathy for these criminals. They were vicious to those who believed in freedom. Northern Ireland had and has the privilege to be part of one of the freest countries on earth. Terrorists – loyalist or republican – are wicked. I am undisturbed by the deaths of hunger strikers. They killed themselves. They also killed many innocent people. Placing one’s excreta on a wall is a filthy and rebarbative thing to do. It undermines any cause. The hunger strikers had many rights in prison and were treated extremely humanely. They wanted to be called Prisoners of War when they were not. They were not soldiers. They were never part of the Irish Army. They fought against the Irish Army and indeed killed an Irish soldier in a shoot out over a hostage situation. The IRA did not wear uniforms. It did not carry weapons openly. It did not observe the Geneva Convention. Killing unarmed men was standard procedure for the IRA. It willfully killed civilians. The hunger strikers were brave but so what. That does not make them good. Many of the security forces were brave. Some of Al Qa’eda are courageous. Some of the SS were unafraid. Some of the KGB were fearless. This is neither here nor there.

    • Well said Sarah he is now contributing well to society but you will always get the do gooders who remember his misdemeanour

    • What Jimmy Boyle and many people in jail do is learn to cover their tracks , cover their crimes , and become silent c rimminals….no One hears of their crimes anymore , because they learnt in the university of crime how to go undetected….I lived in Glasgow , I lived in Edinburgh…had contracts out on me ect by Arther Thomson and the likes , and have been the victim of Jimmy Boyles thugs that he still provides with drugs….of course undetected with clean hands….others doing his dirty laundry….he is a vile bully , involved with rapists , child abusers and terrorists….he is not human but an alien.,..as are many of his kind…

      • Sorry for the wink (I automatically always put a wink) What happened to Rooney was awful and uncalled for.

      • Willie Bennett was a horrible person who ruled by fear and he and Boyle had a bit of a feud going on for a while whilst in the special unit. When Boyle left the unit left Bennett began to flex his muscles which caused the PO’s huge concern. Malky Mckenzie (a PO) more or less begged Hugh Collins to “take the reins” but Collins was going through one of his can’t be arsed stages. One night Bennett told all the prisoners in the unit he was going to visit them and rape them (he had a rep for this in young offenders and mainstream prison) through the night. Collins then knocked Bennett out.

      • Ann sorry to say but you’re telling Lie’s, I’ve asked all My family, you’re not anything at all to do with wully Bennett my fone number is-07495651920 if u wish to prove other Wise call me he was my wee mum’s dad I think I know a wee bit more than u.

      • I see. I am astonished that my article on Jimmy Boyle merits so many comments 2 years after it was published. I read his self-serving memoir.

  4. many people have not got a clue about Boyle he like many other kids were put in approved school run by Catholic Welsh Brothers who we the most brutal men towards these kids they would punch them and beat them daily and leave scars that would never heal,bloodied thighs and buttocks after being beaten with leather straps on their bare flesh and these kids were put ”in their care” for playing truant and stealing sweets what did you want Jimmy to be a missionary ?

    • I know nothing about what went on in this boys’ home other than what I perused in the memoire of one certain Jimmy Boyle, Esquire. If what you say is true then this is monstrous. I am in favour of corporal punishment but it should be meted out sparingly and only then after many chances and in order to correct grievous wrongdoing. These men appear to have been to liberal with the rod. Physical penalties appear to have been almost their first remedy to trifling misconduct.

      • too liberal with the rod?they abused these kids from poor families knowing there was no one to defend them they would beat them till they bled and sexually abused them so many of these poor kids went on to hate authority and ended up in adult prisons with a deep resentment for all types of discipline to end their lives with no family and no love.

      • The mistreatment of some of these children was monstrous. There is a case for corporal punishment if children are extremely bad. Patently sexual abuse is beyond the pale and never acceptable.

    • Rubbish, my late husband was in the Approved school with Boyle. If they were bad… remember we are not talking about a public school boy we are talking about a boy who was a burglar, fighter, training to be a bully, thief and liar.
      They were hosed not beaten and there are many people who would call Jimmy a liar, why do you think he never went back to Glasgow when he was released?

      • Boyle was in approved school for dogging school like many kids from poor families you call him all these things and you never knew him these Brothers the De Le Salle were the Gestapo of their time and they were protected by the Catholic Church ,a hated bunch of ”bullies” and perverts they beat the kids till they bled no wonder many became criminals so it’s obvious you need to learn more of the truth in life!

    • Rubbish my first husband was a childhood friend of his and in the approved school with him told me that what he said about the Brothers is a load of crap I have met others who deny rapes or unauthorised beatings, have you met Boyle or do you know any of his cronies, Ido
      Jimmy robbed £7.00 from a stall that is why he was in the approved school not as you say for stealing sweets, you should really get your facts right before you comment.

      I would have liked Boyle to have been a responsible member of society, if he would have been a missionary he would have found some scam to make money as well as having a ball taking liberties with the natives.

  5. Do you really think everything he has written is true? Jimmy was trying to use his name as the most violent man in Scotland and a gangster to sell his book, in reality he was a liberty taker who always had Tarzan or a few of his cronies with him.
    Read ” The Godfather” Arthur Thompson it was he whom the Krays called on NOT Boyle.

    • Here the thing Anne we don’t believe everything you have written is the truth, you have already been called out for being a liar and a bitter one at that, so far you say you knew Boyle then your father pissed his breeks when he didn’t want to pay back that weeks wages for the money he had borrowed so he could spend it all on drink leaving you and your family to starve while he got legless, he’s no victim he’s a drunk, then you say it’s your husband that new him , jeez make your mind up your just a bitter auld lady.

      • Clint first off am not your mate, secondly she constantly talked like she knew him personally and says she knew him through her man etc she also says her dad was standing outside the pub being sick with fear because Jimmy wanted his weeks wages, I say he shouldn’t have fucking left his family with fuck all so he could get drunk, hes a cunt for that my dad did the same he was a cunt dont blame the people who loan you it, you know fine fucking well what happens if you dont pay but he still chose too ok, so no am not fucking pathetic twat, I will say this though when I wrote that I though Anne was full of shite however she definitely did know some serious characters as I read further down, but slagging Jimmy off is wrong he did his time for a murder he didnt do rather than grass his mate, he nearly got more violence off the scum screws than he gave out yet the screws are allowed to leave him for dead, he did his time so fuck every one of you slags who call him scum.

      • I haven’t spoken to him for years but I can find out, will let you know if I do. Do you have a sister called Helen. I live in a little village about18 miles south of Edinburgh, so I don’t go through to Glasgow very often

      • 0I haven’t saw Frank for years but i’ll try and find out I live in a little village about 18 miles south of Edinburgh so I don’t go through very often
        Chic passed away in October

      • re one of your blogs to me I did know him and saw many things My first husband was in the approved school at the same time as Boyle. and met regularly in the Bonnington bar or the Ferry bar on Govan road
        Did you know Boyle, if you do then you must know me, I think it is you who needs to wake up and smell the coffee where Jimmy is concerned he lives in Marrakesh and of course his vineyard in France. I am writing a book the publisher has accepted it,my problem is I haven’t finished it yet,

      • Maybe for Jimmy, Chic passed away in Birmingham on October and I live in the back of beyond.

      • hello, just came across this and would like to inform you that yes (Tarzan) frank wilson is still alive.

    • Hello Ann, 18 miles south of Edinburgh is not that far from where I live. Do I assume you live somewhere near Earlston?

  6. Jimmy was very clever especially marrying his therapist!that set him on the road to freedom which he deserved not as if he was a war criminal my last contact with him him was only by postcard when he was getting married and I was livung in France at that time.

      • I read a really great book by Hugh Collins who was also a Glasgow Gang member and ended up in The Special unit with Jimmy Boyle…who who also became a succesful sculptor. In Hughs book he talsk about a William bennet entering the Special Unit but this was quite controversial as he had a long feud with jimmy back in the main prisons. Both of Jimmys books mention the fued with “the poof” and also of a “new prisoner” entering The Special Unit of whioch he had a past with. William Bennett is also mentioned in ” A Sense of Freedom” as one of Jimmys gangs memebers brother and a drinking buddy of Babs Rooney. I was just wondering if they were one and the same.

  7. Was this Willie Bennett the same that ended up in Special.Unit..the one Jimmy labelled as the poof in his book and had a few run ins with inside?

  8. The post prison situation about Jimmy and ppl like him I think was well potrayed in the Billy Connolly movie ” The Debt Collector” whereby he wants to move on from his violent past, whereas some members of society ( a detective in this film) believe he should not be allowed to move on from the damage, fear and harm he had caused others in the past.
    Every City in UK has its Jimmy Boyles, those thug types that thrive on having a reputation ( usually exaggerated) and on people fearing them. I do get a sense from reading his books that he plays the martyr a little too much, focusing on the awful situations, poverty and beatings he had endured in life, with little or no showing of real remorse or empathy to the misery or fear he caused others around him.. he saw his behaviour as ” the norm” in Gorbals. I was brought up in a violent area, it was the norm for me to see men fighting on the streets, drug addicts etc.. with respect always given to those men who could fight well, but for the more respectable decent folk who had to live amongst it all aswell, the norm doesnt neccesarily mean it wasnt terrifying, or at least miserable to live around those who use violence, bullying, fear and liberty taking towards the very same people who live amongst them ( their own kind) in the same miserable surroundings as they do.

    At the same time, what does society expect Jimmy to do? Not rehabilitate himself? Not take the opportunity the special unit gave him? Apologise for the rest of his life?

    He isnt the first, nor the last, nor by any stretch of the imagination the worst, hes just for some reason one of the most infamous thugs the UK has produced.

    I dont for one moment believe everything he wrote in his books, the truth will be somewhat mixed in with the tales, but I for one think his was a fascinating story which does leave room for thought and debate on at least the judicial system back then, society, and its effect on people.

    He was by his own admission a terrible waste of a human being.

    • I know your comments are not chiefly addressed to me. As this is my blog it is my prerogative to respond. I agree that criminals should reform. Rehabilitation is to be welcomed. Patently one must be circumspect. It would be rash to be too quick to believe that someone is a changed character. I am a big fan of Billy Connolly by the way.

      • I agree..but Jimmy Boyle is now selling books and artwork..not slashing ppl for a living..i think we can safely assume he has reformed to a large degree right? However there is a part of me that believes life should mean life not 15 years! For every 1 that does reform how many are released to return back to causing more misery to society.

      • I think life sentences should be awarded at the judge’s discretion. A life sentence should generally mean what it says.

  9. I have never read so much blind crap for years concentrate on the real criminals ! Boyle was beaten senseless in prison incidentally they were not the PC prisons of today they were brutal rat infested Victorian slums where Boyle and 4 others were kept in solitary (constant dark) and Boyle DID NOT commit the murder he was convicted for but I will say no more on that so leave him alone and start to post about the real criminals like Cameron and his ilk!

    • I do not know whether you write the truth or not. Boyle committed many grave crimes. In prison he repeatedly refused to obey the rules. He cost the taxpayer a lot of money. He brought it all on himself. I have no sympathy for Mr Boyle.

      • I am sorry but you do not know the reality of prisons then today they are a luxury if you gave in to prison wardens then you were as good as dead or driven insane they were scum guarding some other scum.

      • I do not think that prisons are a luxury but they are not that harsh. I do not want them to be brutal. Free telly is a bit much though/.

    • I could very possibly be wrong here, but I get the impression from reading both his books and a number of interviews that Jimmy maybe didnt kill Babs Rooney himself, the way Jimmy seems to word it ” I did not commit the murder I was convicted of” could easily be interpreted as ” But i did commit murders I WAS NOT convicted of”. He beat the rap twice before on murder charges..was he just unlucky to be constantly roped in for murdering people when he never murdered anyone? But Babs Rooney.. I get the impression he didnt kill.

      I do however feel the lifestyle he was leading at that time, the chances were that someone was eventually going to die and the hands of his violence, and Jimmy was destined to do such a long sentence eventually anyway. I didnt get the impression that Jimmy was about to turn his life around had he walked free from that court for a 3rd time!

      Maybe Jimmy wouldnt be where he is today had things not panned out the way they have.

      As for the prison conditions he and many others endured, well they hardly deterred crime, nor do the luxury pads of today either. I dont know which is better solution to imprisoment do you?

      • no solution to imprisonment the solution is age and wisdom along with education.and remorse too much poverty around now so crime will increase deprivation and non education with no discipline all the ingredients for madmen.

      • I do not accept that poverty causes crime in a rich country such as the UK where even the poorest have a decent standard of living. Think of all the poor people who do not commit crime. A century ago we were much poorer and there was minimal crime. Crime has increased because of softer prisons, lax policing, drugs and the breakdown of a sense of morality. I am not talking about puritanism. I am talking about real morality. Hurting other people should be avoided.

      • I disagree – old prison conditions did deter crime. Look at crime rates in the 1960s and look at them now. I know crime has fallen since 1995 but it is still higher than in the 1960s.

      • Old prison conditions did not deter crime!! Read Jimmys book again as an example.. he experienced those appaling conditions only to be set free and return to his old ways immediately. If harsh prison conditions deterred crime then they would have solved crime years ago!! A man serving a sentence in such appalling conditions, being brutalised, humiliated, chastized of his self pride and dignity will only breed inner hatred an angry individual and real sense of anto society, a human time bomb! The then let him out into the public without any personal skills to cope with the outside… a recipe for disaster! I am and have always been a law abiding citizen and I certainly have as much malice towards such people as Jimmy Boyle was in his prime.. but had I been imprisoned and experienced those conditions, been brutalized etc.. Im pretty certain I would be a ticking time bomb when I was released seeking to vent my fustrations on the next bloke that looked at me the wrong way!

        If your going to release an individual from prison eventually, you need to at least attempt to rehabilitate him…he needs to re enter society amogst us all!

        If your going to give a man life imprisonment and brutalise him… you may as well just hang him instead…whats the point otherwise?

        Jimmy Boyle refused to back down to the screws and their brutality… instead he went to war with them to maintain his sense of pride…to keep a bit of himself intact. Did he deserve what he got..?? in my opinion YES! He knew the score…he chose his lifestyle…lived it and so he paid the price! No remand home or Borstal or prison system deterred him!

        But the screws got what they deserved from him and his inmate pals too… it sounded like a jungle in there.

        I dont think comparing crime statistics from the 60’s to today tells a full story.. statistics can be skewered,,, more crime is detected now.. more crime is probably reported now than it was in the 60’s.

        Ending poverty wont banish crime either! Crime and criminals will alwasy exist

      • I quite agree. He was a violent criminal. He did not make a few youthful mistakes. He chose robbery as a career. Boyle did not do his time quietly but instead constantly attacked the prison officers. His suffering was richly merited. He was the author of his own misfortune.

    • BTW..we post about the likes of Jimmy Boyle because they are far more fascinating characters than boring politicians of whom we all know are capable of scandelous acts, deceit and unethical things, doesnt make the common thug any less of a criminal though does it. It would be far more interesting to read from someone who knew Jimmy ( like yourself) the other side of him rather than defend him, what he was like?, t etc.. not whether he was a murdered or not.

      • I would like to know more about Jimmy Boyle too. Some politicians have been dishonest but that is not the majority of them. Politicians who break the law can be gaoled and have been.

  10. for what you people do not know it is better to remain quiet and stick to street gossip search the truth and open those closed minds of yours for God’s sake do not be so prejudice over things you know nothing about!

    • I do not see how I have a closed mined. By the way you suggest that Mr Cameron is a criminal but you have said nothing to substantiate. You calumniate the Prime Minister which is ghastly.

    • It’s so funny how Cakers on the one hand says billy was scum etc for beating people remember he didn’t kill Rooney, yet he also agrees with a commenter that Boyle deserved getting the beatings he got of the guards, severe beatens the kind that would get us locked up for years in jail, but because it’s Boyle it’s ok to beat him to a pulp leaving him for dead.
      I said Anne was talking crap then read the comments further on where it turns out she did know a lot off gangland figures, which again sort of makes you wonder about her she acts all high and mighty here saying Boyle was scum etc yet she married a criminal and rubbed shoulders with them, and she says she is writing a book she’s a bitter auld lady.
      As for life should mean life what a load of crap do we want to end up like pathetic America where some prisons are really old age pensioner jails there should only be certain real life sentences child rapists and child murderers being top the reason they say life is that if they have them 15 years then that’s when they would get out but if the board thinks they haven’t changed they can keep them for as long as nessecary till they change, and when released they can be sent back for anything so it’s a good tool, so life should not automatically mean life, my bruv is doing life and has done 15yrs so far for robbing banks whilst child killers and rapists have came and gone, my brother went through the system from first going into a home at 10 and then it was approved school young offenders etc working his way up never being on the street for longer than 18 months since then, he became institutionalised he made me realise what the word meant, he couldn’t handle not being regimented it was only a matter of time before he killed or was killed so we were glad when he got caught for all the armed robberies, the system can chew you up so you don’t have a chance that’s why you need places like the special unit which is defund nowadays in that there is a lot more help for people than in the older days, some people are just so arrogant thinking they know it all, they should decide that someone is always scum and can never change what a load of crap anyone can change, some just need so much more work than others and the odd few can’t as they are so far gone and just bad through and through, Jimmy was not one of them.

  11. Wtf came to this thread by mistake ,actually looking for Jimmy Boyle the film director ,Some very blinkered clichéd views on display here But then you are a right wing libertarian ,a few points to peruse in your no doubt somewhat boring life The Jimmy Boyles of this world are made by corrupt parasites like Cameron ,born with a silver spoon up his ass clawed his way up the sleaze ladder ,to the gravy.Blames the working classes for everything. Crime that’s a good one, Camerons committed far more crime in his life for sure ,than Jimmy Boyle ever did !! I now live in Thailand enjoying a very good standard of living ,due to what you would probably call the proceeds of crime I prefer the term ,hard work in an alternate economy But lifes really about opinions and points of view Anyway going to see if Amazon have anything about Jimmy boy for my Kindle ,sounds like an interesting character !!

    • Dear Jon,

      Thank you for your fascinating and unlettered comment. You are plainly a class warrior. No one but a bigot could think that Cameron is evil because he is well-educated. This is a vice of which you are plainly not guilty. My life is not too boring. I have been to about a dozen countries this year and just come back from a two week luxury cruise. If my life is so tedious then it is a wonder that you manage to read my musings. I am not enamoured of Cameron and yes he does exude a certain oiliness. You have not pointed to a single crime committed by David Cameron. For my money he is a fairly good Prime Minister who has done something to solve many of the horrendous problems bequeathed him by the foregoing Labour administration.

      Boyle was a selfish thug who richly deserved all he got. As you are a self-confessed criminal it only galls that you may not spend the rest of your days in the fleshpots of Bangkok.

      • my God how blind people are Cameron gives weapons to barbarian imbeciles in Syria men who eat innocents livers live on camera he targets the unemployed and disabled are you for real! or if you are on medication I will offer my sympathy as psychosis is a sad illness if you are not then you must be one of those people who hold the working classes in contempt I defend the person you called a ”criminal” as your head must be far up your ass as for Jimmy Boyle leave him be he suffered enough through bigots like you.

      • I agree that arming the rebels in Syria is unwise. I do not think simplifying it to a gruesome image provides an accurate reflection of this multifaceted conflict. Society suffered a lot through Jimmy Boyle. He caused all his own problems. No on doubts he was a violent criminal. He could have served his time as a good prisoner. He cost the poor taxpayer a lot in prison. This no Robin Hood story. Why defend him?

      • You don’t have a clue what you’re talking about!!In the slums it’s dog eat dog and one is influenced and corrupted by his surroindings. If people like Jimmy were born where you were with the opportunities that you’ve obviously had then they very likely wouldn’t have turned to crime.I know from experience that crime is usually a means to an end,a way out of poverty.What most career criminals aim for is to make enough money to put into business to eventually go straight and escape the violence,drugs etc.They are driven by being hungry,treated like shit,abused and looked down upon by people like you,where as Cameron and his ilk have grown up with everything and are still unhonest, thieving,selfish twats and there’s no need for it.There’s a massive difference between being corrupt through necessity and survival than being corrupt just because you can.That makes the MPs who are employing family members,upping their expenses,renting out their other houses illegally and on and on a lot worse than criminal’s from rough area’s driven by poverty.Poverty doesn’t excuse it just explains it.Explain why they MPs are no worse?

      • I do know what I am talking about. I know Cameron is dishonest like most politicians. If I were born a pauper I might have been a thief. What this amn did was far more than stealing his way out of penury. He strove to become rich. This poverty excuse is overused.

  12. I have just finished reading a Sense of Freedom and read the blogs on this site. I spent a fair amount of time in Govan in the 60s and am curious about a couple of things.

    I read years ago that Willie Bennett was killed in a fight in Govan. The book also mentions a Willie Smith and a Malky Bennett. I never knew any of them but there was always a lot of talk about their escapades. What became of these two guys, are they still around?

    Ann Haston and Johniain Iain Mellon seem to know most about what was happening so I suppose my question is asked to them.

    Also who was Tarzan and Magwa? Don’t think these names were mentioned in Jimmy Boyle’s book.

    What was the name of the two brothers who attacked Willie Smith, and this ended up with him killing one?

    Well it was certainly eye opening after all these years, and I look forward to an answer from Ann or Johniain.


    • Tarzan was Frank Wilson. I thought Willie Bennett ended up in the special unit and was who Boyle referred to in the book as The poof. Unless that was another William Bennett

    • Just came across this feed after watching Sense of Freedom. My dad was Magwa who died in 1992. My dad and I were there when Willie Bemnet was murdered at the Tall Cranes Bar (Parkgate) in Govan.

  13. There is two well known willie bennetts, one is gay, that is not the govan willie Bennett but one from possil. I knew people who know Jimmy Boyle, Ann is right he was a coward, he was only a big man with non hardmen, he picked his victims. Got many bad beatings in Jail and in streets, as real hardmen and gangsters thought he was an idiot

    • Ah that makes sense as his book details him having hung around with a William Bennett ( probably the Govan one) yet the William Bennett he fought in jail ( the poof) must have been the Wullie Bennett from Possil. I’ve read a few newspaper articles on him and his exploits and I know you cant always believe the papers but having read them and his book…it was difficult to ascertain whether he was just a lowlife thieving hardman wannabe ( probably equivalent to a low life chav or ned these days) or whether he was a reflection of his environment at the time.

      You have anymore interesting stories to share about him at all?

  14. What a load of drivel, I knew this one I knew that one, Jimmy was gay, in and out of prison,. Have a read of Sebastion Morsleys Dandy of the underworld.
    As Anne said Jimmy was a liberty taker, but I very much doubt he murdered Rooney, the other man whose name was never mentioned who was at the murder scene was most likely the culprit.
    Jimmy after his release went to Edinburgh, he couldn’t even put something back into the city he once called home.
    Wee Wullie Bennet was not gay, this is another Wullie Bennet from Possilpark Boyle talks about. Wullie from Gavan was never gay.
    Boyle couldn’t fight sleep and couldn’t even go sort Gary Moore after he murdered his don Jaimer.
    If you want to talk about gangsters in Glasgow there’s a great website called Glasgowgangland.com that researches all of the above.
    Arthur Thompson was a rat, a paid informant for the security forces who nailed men to the floor in front of their wives and children.

  15. willie smith is still alive and well him and frank Wilson where the real leaders of the cumbie boyle wasn’t a hard man but he was a dangerous man

    • What did you think to his book Gazza? (apart from him making out to be a hard man) you think it was all pretty much BS? Was he feared at all in Glasgow or just thought of as a bullying thieving little scumbag? I often thought when reading his story how such a small guy could possibly instill so much fear as he was supposed to have had in such a tough city as Glasgow. You have anymore interesting stories about him or the Cumbie gang from that time?

    • Gazza – do you know how Tarzan received his huge scar from ear to mouth? It didn’t happen inside, and though rumour mentions the Krays, I think there may be another story behind it.

  16. My family was involved with Boyle before and after he got out of prison and I met him a few times when he was running the Gateway exchange in Edinburgh. I’ve been looking into him a bit more and wondering how involved he was with the Krays – there are quite a few references to his being under their protection and knowing them well (eg: http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/scots-underworld-figures-expected-at-former-london-gangster-s-funeral-crocodile-tears-for-the-mad-bad-kray-1.689539), but so far I haven’t found anything really substantial.

    It’s well-known now that the Krays were involved in procuring children for the power elite via the Jersey care home, Haut de la Garenne, with which Jimmy Savile has also been connected. Savile had dance clubs in Glasgow in the 50s and 60s and seems to have got his start as a gangster before entering the entertainment biz. He has been connected to Myra Hindley and Ian Brady (who grew up in Glasgow), as well as to Peter Sutcliffe, the alleged “Yorkshire ripper,” whose crimes (like Savile’s) were covered up by local police for years. Savile hung out with the Krays in East London (https://cigpapers.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/jimmy-savile-edward-heath-and-the-kray-twins/) in the 60s, during the period Boyle was supposedly under their protection. Since my family was involved with Boyle I’m obviously curious to find out what his level of involvement in any of this was. Needless to say this is highly sensitive, hence I prefer to comment anonymously for now. Any information will be much appreciated.

  17. It is revolting; the allegations are mostly well-documented, which doesn’t mean they are true, because we have to trust to other sources, not direct experience. But so far as I have been able to verify, the above is all accurate information. You can look into Haut de la Garenne and you will find that it is an “open secret,” the whole island knows about what is going on there. Same with Savile, he was quite brazen about his activities, and appears to have been protected from “on high.”

  18. Was Babs Rooney related to Bandit Rooney, does anyone know? And was Babs a ‘crime lord’ or a petty crook? Different writers seem to go with different options.

      • Babs Rooney was the guy Boyle was convicted of killing? Bandit (John) Rooney seems to have moved in the same circles – he was sent down for something involing the ‘Tarzan’ mentioned in one of the earlier posts. I’m curious as to whether any of the other people posting in this thread know if the 2 Rooneys were related, partly because Bandit was a distant relation.

    • I think I read that John Bandit Rooney…Jimmy Latta and Frank Tarzan Wilson were all charged with something like perverting the course of justice during Boyles trial for the Babs Rooney murder. They were intimidating witnesses etc..to prevent Boyle being found guilty. If then that Bandit Rooney was indeed a relative to Babs…its pretty shameful that he’s trying to get Babs murderer off the hook UNLESS he knew Boyle was innocent. Don’t forget however that Tarzans brother..William was in the dock with Boyle for this very same crime.

    • Yes very briefly. He went on the run stayed in London the Krays helped put him somewhere apparently a bent copper offered to put him up as well lol

  19. Some of the stuff written about Wilson & Willie Bennett is completely untrue. Both were respected as elite cons by their peers. No chance that Bennett got beaten up inside! Certainly not while I worked in Peterhead anyway. That said, several cons (including Willie Bennett) had their special friend in the next cell. From memory I think in Bennett’s case it was a con called Donnelly. Wilson did not partake of such romance! Another thing – there was a live and let live unwritten rule between cons and screws. Okay – a small number of screws hated cons and vice versa, but most screws were simply doing a job to keep food on the table for their families. Peculiar thing was that the vast majority of cons actually did speak to screws if they were out of sight of other cons. They did not grass – just spoke about Celtic, Rangers or whatever. As soon as another con was within sight – the conversation dried up immediately. That applied to the big name cons too.
    One of the worst memories of Peterhead was during the dirty protest by Boyle and Bobo Conroy around 1970. God only knows who or what they were protesting against. Whatever it was – the whole episode made them look like animals – covered in their own s— from head to toe. Make no mistake – the only losers in that crazy episode was Boyle & Bobo themselves.

    Edis Nori

    • They were protesting against the brutality bestowed upon them. No screw will attack a con if he is covered in his own excrement

      • This is an incisive observation. Anyone who would daub himself in his own nasty is disgusting and desreves derision. These criminals merit little sympathy.

      • It could be argued that those men who daubed themselves in their own excrement did so because they were desperate and animalised due to the continual brutality and conditions of their imprisonment. I’m not suggesting for a moment that prisons should have been a holiday camp, but without having lived in those conditions, been brutalised to very near death, listening to men in either side cell trying to commit suicide each night whilst listening to screws watching and laughing at them failing to do so.. no communication with outside world…in a ridiculously small cramped damp cold cage inside a cell…naked and cold food shoved under the bars with screw spit in it… if that doesn’t animalise someone… what will?

      • I have never been to prison. A prison chaplain said to me that even now despite some cushiness – televisions and educational courses – prison is sitll not a place most people would want to be. What you have described is quite harrowing. Prison is intended to be disagreeable. If prisoners dislike being there then that is a success. On the other hand I do not want prisons to be savage. What yoy have described is disturbing. Prisoners in such a situaiton should knuckle under and once free never reoffend.

      • He could hit him with a baton. Covering oneself in human waste is a repugnant and uncivilised thing to do. I question the sanity of those who would do something that offends against all human norms.

      • Hello Applets,
        So Boyle and Bobo were protesting against the brutality bestowed upon them. By whom may I ask? Believe me, both cons and screws alike realised that due to numbers – the prison was always in the hands of cons. Normal ratio in a hall would have been 7 screws to 60 cons. there was no way that Boyle and Bobo suffered brutality. The only time that screws would engage in thrashing a con was – if that con had lashed out against a screw either with a home made weapon, boiling water or whatever. Only in extreme circumstances would screws draw their batons – mainly because cons would take them and use them against the screws. No – Boyle and Bobo covered themselves with their own s— because they had no more sense.
        Edis Nori

      • Interesting stuff Edis, obviously I myself am only commenting on what I have read really, obviously you are commenting from first hand accounts. May I ask, were you a prison officer there at the time or a con? Would be really interested to hear anymore stories your willing to share on Boyle..Conroy..Winters from your experience inside with them….obviously your accounts will conflict with what I have read in Boyles books and Winters biographical film (silent scream)

  20. Just remembered another odd circumstance. Though cons were perceived as hating screws, the works officer in the laundry party seemed to have a different relationship with cons. Jimmy Boyle – Frank Wilson – Alec Hardie – Tony (the nose) Smith and Donald Forbes all worked in the laundry, which was probably the best job in prison. They called the works officer by his first name – Sid. Sid was a grumpy old screw who didn’t much like the cons – nor did he like other screws. In fact I don’t think Sid liked himself! Yet those big name cons called him Sid. Sid had quite a say in who worked in the laundry. Chief Officer wanted Bobo to be in the laundry party – if nothing else than to please Bobo. The laundry cons also wanted Bobo to join them. Sid was emphatic – no way was he going to allow Bobo to create havoc in his laundry – and that was it. The regime just didn’t know what to do with Bobo. He was considered to be too loose a cannon – unlike the other cons in the laundry, who all had a bit of brains.

    Edis Nori

  21. This note is for the person who suggested Peterhead was a brutal establishment – dark – dirty and rat infested. What a load of nonsense. C Hall – where most of the laundry cons lived was as clean as the average house, and the cells – home to Boyle, Tarzan Wilson etc were immaculately clean. Okay, they were polished by the passmen but make no mistake they were shining. And there was not a rat in sight during the years I was in Peterhead.

  22. Hello Appletts – I was an officer/screw in Peterhead and by co-incidence spent a lot of time in C Hall where Boyle & Tarzan Wilson was during that period. You’ll probably guess that Edis Nori is not my real name. Thing is; there is not a great deal of difference between screws and cons. Most screws in Peterhead belonged to the area and it was just a job with housing attached. Had those screws been brought up in Possil or wherever – no doubt some of them would have ended up inside as cons too – and vice versa.

    • Thanks Edis. Did you ever read Sense of Freedom? If so I guess you would say most of it is lies? Were you at Peterhead when Boyle and Willie Bennett were at war with each other?

      What’s your general opinion of Boyle? Wilson? Winters? How would compare them to the typical prisoner/thug of today? Was Boyle really the most violent man in Scotland or is his reputation exaggerated as some on here have suggested? How feared and dangerous was he really?

      Really appreciate your input here, really great to be able to ask someone who has first hand account.

    • Interstingly, Hugh Collins always said that screws were as much victims as the prisoners. A lot of ex officers attended Collins book signings and spoke to him afterwards. Collins also attended Malky Mckenzies funeral and spoke highly of guys like McKennzie and Ken Murray. He also respected greatly guys like Peter Watmore and Ian Stephens, who has remained in regular contact with Collins after the special unit and following his release.

  23. Hello Applets – Yes I was at Peterhead during the reign of Boyle, Wilson, Winters, Bennett & others. In fact I am writing a novel loosely based on fact within Peterhead jail. It is called “Blue Toon” which is the nick-name for Peterhead. The prison regime was more than a little complicated. A major function of the senior screws was to try to place individual prisoners in specific halls and work parties, to ensure as far as was practically possible – to sustain at least a degree of stability. Eg. Willie Bennett (and his immediate gang) was the main man in B Hall and 13 party. C Hall was run by Tarzan Wilson really, though Jimmy Boyle was a trusted friend. They also ruled the Laundry party.
    Whitey (loose cannon like Bobo) was in D Hall and ruled 6 party (making mail bags). A Hall housed the 15 or so category A top security cons along with another 50 or so cons – all of whom were classed as serious criminals. They included Walter Scott Ellis, Howard Wilson etc etc. Most of those cons worked in the tailor shop making army uniforms etc.. My personal view is that probably Tarzan Wilson was the con most feared by all others. But there were many cons who were more than capable of looking after themselves such as James Shields in C Hall. James also appeared to be trusted by Wilson & Boyle although he tended to be a more solitary con.
    It really would take 2 or 3 books to explain how it all panned out. But that was Peterhead.

  24. Answers to your specific questions. Boyle was feared by say 95% of all other cons. Feared, because in Peterhead, unless a con was supported by one of the “main men”, there was no-where to turn for help. In movies usually the good hero turns up, but in Peterhead there was no good hero – just another bad one round the corner. Boyle was dangerous in that he knew no boundaries re’ levels of violence. He was capable of anything. Doubt if he was the most violent though. Many Peterhead cons had that same trait. A very vicious streak as soon as they did not get their own way. Simple things could become explosive in seconds. Difficult to compare 60’s & 70’s cons versus today’s cons.
    Amongst all the craziness in Peterhead there was a peculiar form of loyalty too. Hard to pinpoint exactly what – but it did exist. What I will say is that cons have a usefulness which is not altogether understood by society in general. They have a unique type of camaraderie. Just as the late great con Johnny Ramensky was used to go behind enemy lines in wartime – so too could today’s cons be used to infiltrate and break the current Islamic State extremists. Now there is a thought.

    • Thanks Edis. It seems that your account of Boyle is somewhat in line with some others on here in that he was certainly vicious, but more a hard man when he knew he had back up, and not so much on his own? Was it Peterhead where these guys had the riot led by Boyle whereby an officer lost an eye in the attack? If so, what caused the riot if not a protest against the conditions and brutality as Boyle had suggested in his book? Was the riot as vicious and brutal as portrayed in his book?

      • There were quite a few riots – but the one you refer to was in the “cages” section in Inverness. Although not employed there, my understanding is that perhaps boredom more than anything else was the root cause. Cons had all day and all night to conjour up bad feeling against either staff members or prison conditions. Maybe worth noting that whatever conditions applied to cons in the cages unit, applied to screws too. It is also worth noting that
        those screws who have worked most of their life in jail – have actually done more “time” than many cons. Not the Peterhead cons of course – they were usually in the system for most of their adult life. Difficult to describe the meaning of “hard man”. It may be someone who accepts high levels of pain without asking for help or sympathy – or it may be someone who has no fear. If it is the latter, then that applied to a great many cons in Peterhead. So Boyle was perhaps one of many “hard men”.

  25. There tended to be 3 types of cons in Peterhead. (1) Leaders (Boyle, Wilson & Bennett were leaders). (2) Sheep or followers ( Bobo was a follower as was 80% of the cons) and (3) Manipulators (Walter Scott Ellis was a maninpulator). Without a shadow of doubt the most dangerous were the Manipulators. Very difficult for staff to guess what their motive or plan was. For example Category A prisoner in 1969-71 era William Davidson was a Manipulator. As far as staff were concerned, this bank robber was a perfect prisoner – but all were aware that if you were the only unfortunate person between Davidson and freedom – you would probably be killed there and then. Davidson also had enough brain power to be Governor of the jail had he chosen that path in life.

    • Read the book..watched the film.. interested to know more..about that period 60’s in Glasgow…gang cultures …the special unit..the characters involved in all such things. I myself was brought up in a similiar enviroment…had our own so called local hardmen legends.. brothers and sisters of mine in and out of prison..lots of machismo and violence around me growing up. Thankfully I never turned out like a lot of them and I certainly don’t think highly of such people…just find the Boyle story interesting.

      • I understand your interest – if nothing else, the whole gangster/prison thing is interesting – providing you are not a victim or part of a victim’s family.

    • Hello Edis

      What can you tell about the William Bennett Rab Duncan affair in Peterhead?

      Boyle referred to Bennett in his book as “The poof” but other reports had him as “the thug” or “the devil”…what was he actually known as from your memory?

      • Hello Applets,
        Willie Bennett was just known as “Bennett”. I don’t recall anything else. Bennett & Duncan had agreed to a fight to the death in A Hall to prove once and for all who ruled Peterhead at that time. I think the fight was in cell 8 on the ground floor. Tony (the nose) Smith stood outside the cell door to ensure no-one (including screws) knew what was going on. At lock up time at 9pm Duncan was found dead – covered in blood. Bennett was also found to be covered in blood – but it was all Duncan’s. Bennett was placed in the separate cell block and awaited police questioning. When police arrived and Bennett’s cell was opened – he was fast asleep. Can you imagine that? Having just killed a man – he was absolutely sound asleep. Bennett was never a problem for staff.

      • Good lord! Pure Psychopath…to be able to mentally separate what you have just done to then get a good nights sleep!! Chilling!

      • Hello Edis

        What was your general opinion of the Barlinnie Special unit back then? And of it now?

        I realise it came under quite some criticism from the media for its unorthodox methods and I assume a lot of gossip amongst prison officers..but what was your view of it then and now? Did PO’s see it at all as a relief to have somewhere for the likes of Boyle, Conroy and Winters to be taken out off your hands?
        How did PO’s think the Special Unit would look to deal with such characters when it first opened? I assume nobody thought it would take such a liberal approach to them??

  26. Well – the Inverness cages didn’t work, therefore the other extreme – “special unit” was tried. The gamble was that in order to achieve “special unit” status and its favourable facilities, main stream prisoners had to become nut-cases. Therefore there could have been a culture of “let’s have a go and see what the outcome is”. I still believe that much of the violence was due to boredom, simultaneously reminding fellow cons of how “hard” a particular con was/is. For what it is worth – my personal view is that all prisoners ought to be treated fairly and equally. Giving favours for bad behaviour doesn’t fit well in my mind at all. Best persons to discuss this subject with would be the victims of the often horrendous crimes that those “special unit” cons carried out. I don’t believe for one minute they are concerned about their victims – just themselves. Peterhead was the chosen venue for career criminals – simple as that. Peterhead screws were well used to those cons and with experience – knew how best to handle them.

    • It would seem however that the Special Unit methodology worked for some ( such as Boyle and Collins) who never re-offended again. Reading their books I don’t get the impression that the normal prison regime would have seen either of them reform their characters. (that’s of course if one agrees to prison being a place of rehabilitation and not purely one of punishment). I suspect however that although the likes of Boyle and Collins took the opportunity the Special Unit gave them and made best of it, others simply took advantage in another way (Winters) and so its philosophy was not effective for all…apparently it really started going downhill after Boyle left (according to Collins).

      I for one would have found it incredibly daunting to work as a PO in Inverness using the “Cages” as a means to house violent prisoners, I’m not for a moment sympathising with the Cons here because my personal views about such things can be as extreme as anybody’s at times, but for a PO to work such a brutal regime must have been daunting? Its not exactly normal is it to treat a human being like an animal ( even if he behaves like one) to then go home and eat supper whilst watching Coronation Street with the family?…or did PO’s just get used to it and saw no other way as a solution?

      • Collins did say the special unit went downhill following Boyle’s departure but suspected that, even prior to Jimmy leaving, there were moves afoot to sabotage the work being done in the unit, particularly by Joyce Laing. While in the Unit Boyle and Collins worked together towards their release with Boyle, to an extent, using Collins towards his own ends. Collins was aware of this and was a willing participant based on the theory that if Boyle got out then he, Collins, would eventually be released. Boyle was the more manipulative of the two and would be the PR, if you like, for the unit. Boyle would describe Collins as the “rottweiller” who would “bare his teeth” when the situation required it and it seemed to work I that environment. I don’t think they could ever be described as friends although they did, in print at least, appear to respect each other. Collins certainly spoke of being appreciative of Boyles initial guidance although when Collins sculptures began to eclipse those of Boyle then Boyle’s ego got in the way. For his part Collins was always resentful of Boyle for what he saw as Boyle blaming everyone else and taking little or no responsibility for the decisions that, ultimately, he had made. There are rumours that Boyle is in Marrakech having been banished there by the authorities following a domestic incident. It is worth remembering that all these guys are on life long licences and any misdemeanour’s would result in them being recalled to complete their sentence. The Marrakech argument suggests that it would not have been politically expedient to recall such a high profile figure as Boyle.

      • My previous post should read that it was the work of Joyce Laing that was being sabotaged, not Joyce who was doing the sabotaging. Apologies.

      • It is ghastly that people should be subjected to such bestial assaults. In Her Majesty’s prisons there ought to be better order than this.

      • Hello,
        Not sure if I was in Peterhead during that skirmish. I certainly can’t recall it, but we are speaking about a lot of years ago, and without doubt, my memory is not what it was. Why do you ask about Gallagher and Brodie?

      • Edis – your memory is pachidermous. It is a source of wonderment to me that my post about Mr Boyle should have generated so many wrathful comments down the years.

  27. Further to earlier comments, I am not against rehabilitation. Indeed, rehabilitation is the only sensible way forward. However, I think help with rehabilitation ought to be focussed on young people – say up to age 25 in addition to first offenders of all age groups. Sadly, the efforts and financial burden placed on society to rehabilitate those cons who have chosen a life of crime is a complete and utter waste of resources. Those cons – such as Boyle etc ought to be left to serve the sentence handed down.

    • Hi Edis,

      Gallagher was know as “Square Go Gallagher” in young offenders, heaven knows why as he didn’t have a square go in him, and later became “slasher” following the alleged incident with Brodie in Peterhead. In young offenders they used to select six prisoners at random each day to be BU (brought up before the governor) and march you into a heavily polished room in your socks. then Gallagher and a number of officers would batter you. Being in your socks meant you would be unable to gain traction on the polished floor and went down. These incidents were minuted in the meetings held in the Special Unit, and admitted to by a PO who was in yop at the time. The meetings were documented by Malky MacKenzie and Ken Murray.

      I mention Brodie because following the slashing he was transferred to BSU and Boyle made great efforts to get his to admit that Gallagher had, indeed, slashed him. Brodie’s retort was that it didnt happen, and even if it did then admitting it would get him kicked out of the unit and back into mainstream prison. Which he didnt want. It seemd cklear that Brodie saw the transfer to teh unit as a means of payment for his silence. Boyle was furious as Boyle wanted to use Brodie as leverage against the authorities and, in Boyles words, “blow the lid of the system”. A degree of that was attained during the meetings in the unit.

  28. Pity I don’t have your private email address – with which I would forward the first two chapters of “Blue Toon”. This snippet gives a true insight to life inside Peterhead jail from a screw perspective.

    • Well I have started reading it and its superb so for what its worth I’ll pay for an unpublished copy if you get to finish it

    • Hi Edis. Having read all these posts, I too have been fascinated by what you have revealed and if possible, would love to read the written chapters of blue toon if possible and the finished article.
      Many thanks in advance

      • Will be pleased to forward the first 3 chapters Locksie. Just give me a contact email.

      • Hello Locksie,
        I’ve finally finished all 17 chapters of “Blue Toon” and have forwarded it to publishers. Unfortunately I’ve been diagnosed with terminal cancer so most likely won’t be around to see the final publication.

  29. Hello Calers, have you managed to receive a copy via Applets. If not – please give private email and I will forward chapters 1 & 2 as a taster of Blue Toon. I assume you can then delist your private email.

  30. Drugs was seldom an issue around 1970 in Peterhead jail – but when there was an episode it created havoc. I recall Boyle and Alex Hardie on the top gallery of C Hall inviting all takers to have a go. They were meaning screws – not fellow cons. On that occasion the drugs were inside a football that had been kicked over the wall. Anyway – after a skirmish with 4 screws, Boyle & Hardie were back in their cells, and left to holler all sorts of abuse well into the night.

  31. There is much confusion over the two Willie Bennets. I can only throw light on the Willie Bennett who spent years in B Hall in Peterhead jail. This Bennett was serving life for two different murders and an attempted murder for which I think he got 12 years. Although a homosexual in that he had a long term partner in the jail – it would be wrong to class this Willie Bennett as a sex pest. A fair number of long term prisoners had similar relationships. Even Tony the nose Smith had his special friend (McCubbin) as his next door cell mate. On top of all that, there was Bunty in C Hall (can’t recall his real name). Bunty was a pass-man who (by his own admission) provided sexual favours to other prisoners – more than likely for an ounce of tobacco or whatever. Despite this Willie Bennett being a cold killer – he was actually quite a nice person. Usually in pretty good humour – and the kind of bloke who would have been well liked by his fellow men – unless you crossed him of course.

      • My personal view (which could well be wrong) is that making any decision to finally release a man convicted of 2 murders and an attempted murder – in addition to many other violent crimes in his life – would have been too much for “normal” prison authorities to make. Therefore shipping Bennett off to Bar L really passed the buck to other so called do-gooders.

      • How such a man could ever be remotely considered for release is to me…..just ridiculous. What came of Willie Bennett ? is this the same Willie Bennett that got stabbed to death outside a Govan pub by a young lad ironically named Boyle?

  32. Did you say discombobulate? That word sounds like a severe Scottish hangover. Eg; He was absolutely discombobulated!

  33. I actually know the meaning of discombobulate. Seems to me that perhaps you are either an English teacher or historian Calers. Such a grasp of the English language for an Irishman! Remember that knowledge, grounded on accuracy, aided by labour and education, will finally overcome all difficulties.
    That said; I still don’t know the correct method of dealing with the Jimmy Boyles of this country.
    Re’ Northern Ireland at the beginning of the troubles; several prison officers from Peterhead were seconded to help contain the pressures of keeping Catholics and Protestants segregated in jail at that time.

    • I had not known about warders being sent to Ireland. Yes, I am a Hibernian but English is my native tongue. I cannot converse in my ancestral language.

  34. Poeple say that Willie the devil Bennet was a nice man when you were on his good side, he was an evil man and earnt his devil reputation for being an evil man, he is mentioned in Alex Fergusons auto biography, does anyone else have any more information on him – thanks

    • Hello Skally, what I meant about Bennett being perhaps a likeable character was based on a great many Glasgow “likeable rogues”. Now, I don’t know Mr Smiley, and he is perhaps a church elder for all I know – yet the following wind-up phone call illustrates the “likeable” humour of Glaswegians – including a number of those living in HM Prisons. Listen to this; it is funny:- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAtCMGDrg7w

    • Hello Skally, I too read Fergie’s autobiography. Fergie’s visit to the jail gave Bennett a few Brownie points in that Fergie knew him, and of course vice versa.

  35. I knew Bennett pretty well in that I was the last person he saw many nights in Peterhead jail. I locked his cell door in B Hall – and on early shift, often opened his door up again. Changed his razor blades – watched his general daily routines, including his side-kicks when putting pressure on other inmates.
    Peterhead jail was a small confined area, and there was no hiding place for either cons or screws. We all knew each-other inside out. Eg. there would have been no question that Bennett would have known how many children we had, and the type of car (old banger) that I drove.

  36. Hello Callers,
    I mentioned the possibility of Mr Smiley (in the phone wind-up) being a likeable rogue. However, if you multiply Mr Smiley’s reactions ten fold – add a violent criminal’s mind – then on top of that, include a tendency to kill – you will be coming near to a description of Bennett and Boyle.

    • Dear Mr Nori, My name is Calers not Callers. Oh my goodness! The chap that you have described seems uncommonly horrid. I am glad that I have not had to come to close quarters with such beastly types.

  37. Hello Calers, what is an additional L between friends? You mention “beastly types”. Believe me, those violent Peterhead cons were not the worst in the world. The real “beastly” ones were in what was known as the annexe – which housed “protection” prisoners. Perhaps 4 “protection” cons were placed in the annexe due to a real threat of death by another con or cons. The additional 16 or so were in “protection” due to their crimes against children. Crimes, mostly too bad to discuss. They were the real “beastly” ones.

    • I agree that molesting children is a loathsome crime but it is not always violent. It is wrong but someone a year underage is not the same as 10 years underage. Remember at that time a 21 year old male could go to gaol for a consensual liaison with a 20 year old.

      • I am talking here about individuals who used lit matches and cigarettes on babies etc. Altogether horrible. Most of those “protection” cons were very very poorly educated and I presume were mentally ill.


    • Piper probably represented a number of different characters or gang leaders that Boyle fueded with over the years. One being a pair of brothers that were involved in the serious attack of Boyle with hatchets outside the pub (as portrayed in the film)

  38. I assume that “Piper” ended up in jail too. This shows how Glasgow gang violence moves from the streets of Glasgow to the internal workings of a jail.

  39. You’ve lost me Calers. Perhaps my thought process has been overtaken by SNP results from yesterday. Even jails are offering SNP to cons today – Scottish National Porridge.

  40. It was a difficult choice for us to make. Two of our family (and grandchildren) live in England so we considered an SNP vote would go against them. How’s that for loyalty? Just couldn’t bring myself to vote Tory, and hearing Milliband talking about the “working Man” didn’t fit well in my eardrums – so opted for a wasted vote with Lib Dems.
    I would have thought a Hibernian would be delighted to support Nationalism. Obviously, I don’t know you well enough to understand your perspective, yet I have read with interest your views on other blogs managed by your goodself.
    Doubt if Jimmy Boyle is interested in the result. Expect he is still living it up elsewhere.

  41. How about contacting Jimmy Boyle to ask his response to some of the critical posts (including mine) on this site? He shouldn’t be hard to find in Marrakech. It is easy for all of us to write or say stuff about him, when we are not face to face.

    • I’ll be honest and say I would absolutely love to meet Jimmy and interview him about his past, I agree it is easy to say this and that about someone when your not face to face but as with anyone I’m always happy to be brutally honest about what I think of them or their actions. There are plenty of little Jimmy Boyles in my own city of which I have dealt with many times….just none so infamous outside of here. Truth is however unfortunately for me Jimmy would very likely have absolutely no interest in meeting the likes of me…nor continue to go over his past…and who can blame him. He moved on with his life many many years ago and quite successfully so…whether you agree he deserves to or not..what choice does he have? Good luck to him I say but then I nor mine were ever victims of him or his mates.Having said that…he clearly wanted a reputation…he wrote 2 books and had a film made about him…therefore he is open to the likes of us pondering over his story for years to come is he not?

      • Coincidentally I’m heading over to Marrakesh again this year (my 4th trip) to visit family. I’ve never stumbled across Jimmy whilst out there before…maybe he has moved again….or maybe he’s avoiding me ha! ha!

      • Now Jimmy Boyle was my dads Cousin,i recently found out during Genealogy research after my dad died.My dad was from The Gorbals but was fostered out to the Highlands.I managed to find Jimmy Boyle through several sites and he confirmed he was related although this Jimmy said he was his cousin but later i found from another of his relatives that it really was Jimmy The reformed gangster and everything printed about him is a complete sham designed to take you off of the scent.He Lived in Australia,was dogged with ill health and died recently in a diabetic comer.

      • What is your opinion of Jimmy? Because he was your kinsman you should not be prejudiced towards him or against him. Very few people are objective about their own blood relatives.

  42. I would think Boyle would be pleased to meet anyone who can add even a little bit more to his already overly expanded ego.

  43. Watched the film “The Bank Job” last night. Can anyone enlighten me re’ the compromising pictures of a Prince in the Royal Family circa 1970. Was this referring to Prince Philip – Prince Charles – Prince Michael or who? Since Lord Mountbatton was involved in the ultimate acquisition of the pictures, was it Prince Charles he was attempting to safeguard?

    • I saw that ages ago. I think that is sheer conjecture. Presumably these would be snaps of a heterosexual encounter. The film has Earl Mountbatten of Burma being involved. He would have been 70 at the time and possibly incapable of sex. Maybe the snaps were of years before.

  44. According to the film scene, on receipt of the pictures, and having glanced at them, Lord Mountbatten commented words to the effect of “Ah, he has been a bit naughty”. This comment appears to rule himself out of this particular compromising scenario, as it also rules out Princess Margaret. I am aware that this was a film scene only, but one would expect Royal powers that be would have moved heaven and earth to stop this publication had it been entirely false.
    Thankfully, we cannot draw a bent tree as a straight one, or the truth of history will vanish.

    • There are all sorts of films and articles that show the royal family in a bad light. The House of Windsor never tries to prevent publication.

  45. Believe me, the House of Windsor is paranoid over even the slightest criticism of their number. I have seen this happen at first hand.

    • I am totally unconvinced by what you say. There is a huge amount of media coverage of them in many countries – far too much to monitor. Prince Charles says ”do not read the newspapers”. They just ignore it and get on with it. Prince Williams says he tries not to pay any attention to negative reports about him since there is nothing he can do to prevent criticism of him in the press.

  46. Perhaps we must agree to differ on this subject. During my lifetime, I have experienced meeting and to some extent – understanding the Jimmy Boyles & Willie Bennetts of our country. Wearing a different hat, I have also led the late Queen Mother by the arm, and on a handful of occasions been in discussion with Prince Charles in person – not via mail. It was during one specific meeting in Clarence House that I became aware of the enormous importance that Prince Charles’ pr team put on his character as presented to the public.

  47. That would be showing my hand altogether. Suffice to say I have a few memorable somewhat surprising experiences. One of which was; prior to attending lunch in the presence of HRH Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother at The Castle of Me, guests waited in the drawing room. On a reading table in the drawing room was none other than The News of the World, with headlines and photo relating to Diana and one of her lovers. It was there for all to see.
    In such circumstances, one would have expected the Financial Times or whatever.

    • Edis…a few people on here claiming Boyle to be a coward and a liberty taker. You dealt with Boyle day in day out for years. Did you have him down as a coward and a liberty taker?
      After all the guy was very young and small of stature when he was supposedly a feared hard man about Glasgow… hard to see how he instilled fear in people without being surrounded by bigger more capable men?

      • Hello Applets, Make no mistake, whatever Boyle was – he was not a coward. It is easy for any of us to say he was a coward. Telling him that face to face would no doubt end up with a serious bust up. I can only say what I saw inside jail. He was not a liberty taker either. Although Bobo Conroy would have done anything asked of him – Boyle dealt with all matters himself. And that included assaults on staff too. He was more wiry than slight. Extremely fit person without fear, but perhaps the biggest concern was that he had no remorse in him at all. If he left a con with a slashed face – so what? Just another day in his office!

  48. Boyle didnt kill Babs Rooney, Boyle kept his partner talking at the front door while Willie the devil Bennett murdered Babs in a bloody frenzy – Boyle was charged for murder (which he didnt commit) but he did well out of it – he`s a millionaire now – if it wasn`t for Willie the devil Bennett or Malky Bennett, Boyle would have been run out of the west side of Glasgow – he was a coward and a liberty taker

    • Too many Willie Bennetts here it gets confusing

      Skally this Willie the Devil Bennett was the Govan Willie Bennett that (according to Boyles book) used to go out drinking with Babs Rooney… and whos brother was closely involved in Boyles gang right?

      Willie Bennett of Possilpark was the William MacMillian Bennett that Boyle fueded with in Peterhead and Bar L special unit and was referred to as “the poof” in Boyles book…right?

      So why did Bennett kill Rooney? According to the book they were drinking partners?

      • Your totally right their was two well known Willie Bennett’s, the possil one as you say who was the poof, and the Govan one who ran around the west end. The Govan Willie Bennett was in a different league to Jimmy Boyle, who though vicious was indeed a liberty taker who regularly shst it from the big boys. Put it this way if it was Willie Bennett (from Govan) this son got murdered the guy doing it wouldn’t have died of natural causes. Jimmy Boyle got a couple of bad beatings in the jail when he tried playing with hardmen from the West End who all had alot of time for Willie Bennett. Willie Bennett from Govan was a loyal friend, certainly no sex offender, and was straight with people (as long as they never crossed him).

      • I detect latent respect for these men. They were all criminals and utterly despicable. They merit no approbation. They were vicious, egotistical monsters.

      • The Govan Willie Bennett did hang around with Boyle..Frank Wilson Artie Austin on the outside right?

        Who gave Boyle his beatings inside the nick..and why?

      • I am unable to answer such questions. It is puzzling to me that Boyle’s crimes and should be a source of perennial fascination and even adulation.

      • Calers..with all due respect your the one that started this blog for people to discuss Boyle (presumably after you read his book)

        I cant recall seeing any comments on here that indicated any adulation to the man or his crimes can you?

        How do you know know myself or anyone else on here are not writing a book or a website about the gangs of Glasgow in the 60’s ..or Boyle and his crimes?

      • Applets – You are correct that I composed an article about Mr Boyle. I am staggered that five years on people are still discussing the crimes of James Boyle. I most certainly have not expressed any laud for this type which is why my piece on this gaolbird bears the words ”he got what he deserved.” You are welcome to disseminate your feelings about Mr Boyle on my blog. I merely deprecate any comments that indicate latent admiration for Boyle and men of his ilk. He merits recrimination and not kudos. Perhaps you are making a website about Mr Boyle. I know not.

      • Hello Calers. I am in fact not collating stories for a website.

        You say he merits recrimination? Does that mean you would send him back to prison for his past crimes? Or has he in your eyes served his sentence? In which case he is surely allowed to live his life now?

        Or do you think he should have stayed behind bars forever?

        What are you suggesting for the likes of Boyle?

      • OK..well he still denies the murder he was convicted of..( although I THINK one must finally admit to murder to the authorities in order to get parole but I cant be certain of that). For all his other misdemeanors I read that he feels saying sorry doesnt change anything now..all he can do is get on with his life and live a crime free productive life (which apparently he has) so I guess the public wont ever get a showing of remorse or guilt from him.

  49. There was a very good footballer in Peterhead jail during Boyle’s escapades. Can’t recall his name, but he was a left winger who had been signed by Hibs. In later years, Ex Aberdeen, Rangers and Scotland left half Davie Smith did a bit of time based on a family dispute. Are there anymore decent players who did time?

  50. I’ve just remembered the decent footballer’s name during Boyles escapades. It was Wetherspoon. Wonder what happened to him. Long time ago, but I think he was doing a 7 year stretch.

  51. Don’t know – unless prisoners had “life” written on their cell info – officers knew only how long their sentence was. Unless of course there was press coverage immediately prior to being placed in HMP Peterhead. That system sums up exactly why rehabilitation was a complete non starter. Officers did not know whether the convict was inside for violence, fraud, burglary, rape or whatever. In any event Peterhead cons had no wish to be rehabilitated.

    • I always read that what a con was put in for was a hot topic of conversation. Lags were said to be very eager to establish that they had not been put away for being a nonce.

  52. Child molesters were always in HMP Peterhead in the Annexe. This was a “protected” sector on its own within the jail. Rapists however appeared to be accepted. If not all – certainly a number were. I recall two in particular. Frank Watson was serving 10 years and he was well in with the heavy mob. I forget the name of the second guy right now – but I remember he once escaped, and went on to become a serial rapist years after. I think he was serving 6 years around 1970.

  53. Some were, but there appeared to be respect given to those with long sentences – say 10 years or more. Also in that bracket were successful escapees – most particularly the late Johnny Ramensky who went over the Peterhead wall 3 times.
    The gang leaders were also respected whether they were gang leaders inside or in Glasgow.

    • I see. It seems to me that armed robbery is a moron;s crime these days. There are so few bank branches and bank doors can be locked at the press of a button. Such offences attract severe sentences even if a minimal amount of money is purloined thereby. I wish to underline the fact that I am not condoning or glamourising crime. Armed larceny is especially loathsome. It terrorises innocent people and can easily lead to a decent bank teller being shot dead.

  54. Hello Calers, I note you describe my memory as pachidermous. Do you mean pachydermous, in that I must be thick skinned? I’m baffled with the use of that word. I’ve never heard of someone with a thick skinned memory.

  55. Hello All, should anyone wish to have a preview of my account of life inside Peterhead jail (Blue Toon) from a screw’s perspective, during the 60’s / 70’s I’ll be pleased to forward the first 8 chapters. Just contact me by email via edis.nori@outlook.com I’ll appreciate any comments – good or bad.

  56. Hello Calers,
    If you are referring to my attempt at writing the “Blue Toon” book, I can assure you it is not shocking. It is just how it was from my personal perspective. No doubt others may have a different memory of the time concerned.

  57. Probably self-harm, beatings by fellow cons, losing a family member whilst inside, a Dear John letter informing a con that he is to be divorced, may all be described as suffering. However, don’t for one moment consider Jimmy Boyle to have suffered inside. He entered the prison system due to his hellish way of life on the streets of Glasgow. What happened inside was of his own making – and he didn’t care 2 hoots about fellow cons, other than his mucker Bobo Conroy.

  58. What a fascinating page – I am currently writing the authorised biography of Joyce Laing and would be interested in hearing more from anyone who had shed more light in the details of her involvement in the Special Unit.

  59. I refer to recent posts about whether or not Boyle ought to have received his freedom. There seems to be a fair possibility that he was not guilty of the murder he was convicted of. Likewise, there is also the reasonable possibility that he had been involved in a previous murder, or murders. Who knows except him? I think the only people who can make a proper decision about his sentence – and subsequent release, are the victims of his crimes.
    I do however recall a Peterhead convict saying that “whilst he did not wish Boyle’s death; he would be all in favour of his funeral”!

    • A court of law decides such matters. It is not for victims to choose because they would be too subjective. Someone should not get off scot free because their victim is exceptionally magnanimous. Crimes is a public issue. It is not about one citizen against another. The law is impersonal – without fear nor favour. That is the ideal even though it does not always pan out that way in practice. I do not know much about other murder allegations against him. When in prison he did not knuckle under. He made it worse for himself. He did not prove himself to have reformed,

  60. Other than the mandatory sentence being life imprisonment for murder, the Judge actually decides which sentence is to be given – not the court of law as such. The court of law offers guidelines, and unfortunately guidelines is far from perfect. Therefore the law as it stands is not altogether impersonal – without fear or favour. Indeed, many favours are given to known thugs, should they provide evidence (true or false) in order that a crime may be attached to a specific person, whether that person is guilty or not guilty.

    • The judge is the one who presides over the court. He or she awards the sentence in accordance with sentencing guidelines. Maybe you mean that in the United Kingdom the jury does not decide the sentence. I was describing the ideal. The sentence should not be what the victim decides since that would usually be too stringent. A crime is a crime against the whole of society and not against an individual victim.

      • I understand all that Calers. My issue is the “guidelines” which may be interpreted differently case by case – and also depends on a particular judge’s consideration on the day. He may be in a foul mood. These things happen.

  61. Jimmy deserved a 2nd chance just like everyone else. There is no doubt he had a harsh start to life and turned to what he knew–violence and graft. But if anyone is a poster child for why society should be prepared to to at least recognize the factors that can lead to a life of crime and at least give rehabilitation a chance, then it is Jimmy Boyle. He turned his life around, and he has found a way to channel his considerable energy into a more creative direction. If he had had the correct guidance in the first place, he would likely have found this direction much earlier. As Scottish people, we should rejoice in his redemption and be proud of him. Just saying.

    • I realise that deprivation increases the chance of someone being a criminal. If stealing is commonplace in a certain district then it is difficult not to conform. In prison he fought a lot. I have perused his book and seen how he became more reflective. If he is a fully reformed character then I derive gratification from that.

    • I don’t buy the “poor Jimmy” scenario Malky. There were thousands of “poor Jimmy’s” in the country at that time, who didn’t resort to violence on other folk. He was no “poor Jimmy” in Peterhead jail. He revelled in his self-made status of gangland bully.

      • Even if penurious boys turn to crime they do not need to reach they do not need to steal as much as Jimmy or be a tenth as violent.

  62. I’d like to ask Ann Haston a question.Did you know a Jimmy Barr in the 60,s in kinning park? He was married to Josie Eccles from Kinning Park. just wondered as your late husband’s surname was Eccles.Jimmy Barr knew Jimmy Boyle and also Arthur Thompson and seemingly worked as a debt collector for a man called “The Jawbreaker”Jimmy and Josie are family.Are you still writing your book? Thanks.

  63. jimmy boyle came into a pub were i was drinking in at the candleriggs in glasgow called the fiddlers court and was drivinig a red bentley soft top and was friendly and chatted with every one

  64. Hi Calers Too much time and interest is giving to these evil so called humans know what I would do with them! Thank you for wanting to follow my poetry adventures. Very interested in all things paranormal conspiracy theories and observing life! Writing a passion that keeps me sane and alive Great to Meet you The Foureyed Poet.

    • With all due respect, stick to your poetry. What you would or would like to do to these people matters not. These were men of extreme violence and lived in a world you have only seen in a movie.

      • What makes you believe that I compose poesy? You are right. I have had no dealings with the underworld. Why should I not comment on such filth? Do they not deserve very long periods of detention in the most dishonouring circumstances?

      • Edis Nori, I have enjoyed your observations throughout this discussion, much obliged. I wondered if you can recall any Edinburgh based prisoners around the time you worked at Peterheid? I ask because of family history and stories involving the prison

      • I am elated that my post has generated years of discussion and cordial reminiscence. Time spent at Her Majesty’s Pleasure cannot have been entirely congenial. Despite that it most patently forged bonds which have endured down the decades.

      • 90% of the prisoners were from Glasgow, with approximately 15-20 cons from Edinburgh. I think John (the beast) Graham was from Edinburgh, and another con was a lifer but I can’t remember his name. Apparently his Dad was a policeman. If I recall others I’ll come back to you.

  65. Hello Derek Taylor,
    Another couple of Edinburgh cons were Wetherspoon (good footballer) and Frank Watson. If still alive those men will be in their mid seventies.

    • Much appreciated. I wondered if you recalled an Edinburgh guy with ginger hair and one eye? A very nasty piece of work.

      What happened with your draft of your novel? Any progress with getting a publisher?

      • Can’t say I recall this ginger person. Two publishers are willing to proceed with “Blue Toon” but both have asked for a “contributory contract”. That is; for me to pay £2500 up front. My dilemma is that with my ongoing loss of health, it may not be sensible to pay £2500 when that same savings could be shared between our 5 grandchildren.

      • Hi Calers, came across your blog recently and find the related comments fascinating. Note you seem pleased at the high level of responses and get the feeling you are surprised by this. I suggest the general public have a strong appetite for anything that falls within the realms of ‘crime and punishment’. I wonder if you and your contributors are aware that Peterhead prison has been closed and replaced by a new build practically on its doorstep – called HMP Grampian. The original prison is now a museum and since it came into being in June 2016 it has attracted around 15 thousand visitors to date. This I believe illustrates the interest that is out there not only in the penal system in general but in Peterhead Prison in particular. Regards Ben Ostron

      • No, I was unaware that this prison had shut. Yes, I am conscious of the public fascination with criminal offences and incarceration.

  66. Hi Derek Taylor, I recall a red headed individual who came from the Edinburg area. He was on the top flat of B Hall. He was not a tall guy, only about 5′ 6” or 7” and of fairly light build. I cannot remember his last name at the moment but it may come back to me. However I remember he was known as Dave the Blade and evidently had a reputation as being a real nutter on the outside. I think he may have had a brother who also was in Peterhead though perhaps not at the same time.

      • Hello Calers, the following is anecdotal as told to me by others.
        Lots of money around. Late 70’s early 80’s drug market in and around Glasgow was estimated at around 300 million a year. Arthur Thompson The God Father got more than his share . Not only drugs but money lending and extortion. Using ill gotten gains he was also a shrewd businessman and put his money into legitimate and semi legitimate ventures. He lived in a sprawling property called the Ponderosa on Provanmill Road in Glasgow – this was in reality two former council houses knocked into one and tarted up with extentsions and stone cladding ect. His minions and hangers on however probably lived in slums in Blackhills, high rise flats and tenements etc. Whilst Arthur was not flash with his money his hangers on and gofors spent theirs on smart suits and camel overcoats and the like, emulating their heroes the Krays. They also spent their cash on drink, drugs and nightclubs and none ever had anything to show for the enforcement work they carried for Thompson.
        Thompson got time for extortion but never came to Peterhead but went to Craiginches in Aberdeen. Main reason for this was two of his arch enemies Martin and Hugh Welsh were currently doing time in Peterhead. The Welshes had fueded with Thompson. They had placed a bomb under his car that blew the gearstick clear through the roof. Arthur was relatively unscathed but his mother in law was killed. Arthur evidently hunted down his would be assassins. The story goes Arthur chased a van carrying one of the Welsh brothers and his pal a guy called Goldie, and drove it off the road. The van hit a lamp post and both Goldie and Welsh died. As you would imagine this did Arthur’s street cred with the criminal fraternity in Glasgow no harm at all.
        Have lots of other stories for another time.

      • This is scintillating. How easy was it to get away with it back then? The methods of detection belonging to the police were far less sophisticated in those days.

  67. Hi Derek Taylor, ref my earlier comment re ginger headed brothers from Edinburgh. I now recall their name was Kerr, Jackie and Dave Kerr. Jackie was a slight built guy. A real hyperactive. He was smart and tidy and always on the go. Not really a very pleasant nature. Dave was of stockier build, slower and scruffier and laid back. I think it was Dave who had something wrong with one eye. Hope this helps.

    • Hi Ben, thanks for your recollections. They are pretty much spot on. I’m assuming these brothers made some impression on you, given the accuracy of your descriptions some 45 years or so since they would have been in Peterhead? In terms of crime and punishment, rehabilitation. One would go on to bring up a family, not too badly given their inherrent tendency towards crime and violence, the other would turn their back on crime and spend 25 years or more in community work, undoubtedly doing a great deal of good amongst some of the most desperate memebers of their community.

      • I wonder what causes such recidivism. That is a major rider you used to preface your comment ”not too bad” considering you proceeded to limn their penchant from criminous violence.

      • I think we know the prominent factors that many who are attracted to criminality share in common already Calers. It is not of course limited to those who have experienced poverty, ghetto life, poor education etc, but the statistical evidence does not lie. The crimes of the marginalised tend to involve stealing and violence, those who come from more fortunate backgrounds may tend towards financial and other forms of crime? Of course these are massive generalisations and whilst society has changed in the generations since Boyle was actively criminal, some of the causal factors still remain.

        In terms of our ginger headed brothers . Bringing up a family “not too badly” is probably as good as you could hope for given the past history of violence. Of course living with such a man was never going to be an entirely gentle experience, but the children grew up to be well adjusted citizens who have made worthy contributions to our society

  68. Sorry, really no idea. However it would be safe to assume violence was involved at sme stage. After all even in the late sixties you did not get 6 years for shop lifting or driving without a licence.

    • I see. Shop lifting these days would result in a caution or community service for the first few offences. Even then people do not show up for the latter and get away with it. They may be awarded fines which they do not pay. Petty theft goes mostly unpunished.

      • Driving offences. Wednesday morning Forth Road bridge closed to high sided vehicles due to high winds. HVG ignores this and half way across at 2.00am he topples over. Papers say he is charged. If he had not toppled he would have disobeyed bridge closed signs and got away with it scot free. Drivers use mobile phones when driving but get away with it unless something happens ie an accident ocurs then they are charged. Many drivers uninsured and get away with it until something happens that brings them to the notice of the police. This illustrates the forces of law are reactive not proactive. Surely prevention is better than cure.

  69. Calers as you seem interested in law and order you may be amused with this conversation heard recently at Dundee Sheriff Court :-

    QC: Tell the court why you went up to see your brother-in-law.
    Defendant: Fur a tap.
    Judge: Your brother-in-law is a plumber, I take it?
    Def: Naw.
    Judge: Are you a plumber?
    Def: Naw.
    QC: M’lud, ‘tap’ is Dundonian vernacular for a ‘loan’.
    (To defendant) You went to borrow money from him, is that right?
    Def: Naw.
    Judge (exasperated): Well, what kind of tap was it?
    Def: A fitba tap.

  70. What may seem ‘minor infractions’ to some can and often do result in disastrous consequences. There is no such thing (well almost) as a victimless crime.

  71. Obituary notice in Dundee Courier following a particularly vicious gang fight in Fintry.

    Hi, Tam’s Deid. Vauxhall for sale.

  72. Kermit supposedly said regarding an anti Trump rally, 1200 protesters turned up but only 3 missed work. Every picture tells a story.
    I tried to dowload it but failed.

  73. Hi Calers, is there no way we can have a truly free press? BBC is notoriously known for being a left of centre establishment based press. How can we get over what the ordinary man in the street thinks?

    On local radio when discussing Selafield a phone in correspondant related her experience that BBC personel came onto the beach and asked all present, including her children and other families to vacate the beach to allow filming. The subsequent screen shots showed an empty beach and suggested or implied local families were afraid to use the area. This was blatently untrue. We place our trust in these institutuions and they decieve us to further their own ends..

  74. Calers it would appear more people than I thought share your views on ‘minor infractions’.
    Last week the Romanian government passed legislation to decriminalise corruption in cases where the beneficiary received less than 37,000 euros in bribes.
    In a further move, the government legislated to grant pardons to those already in prison for corruption. Very liberal of them!!

    • I am aware of what is going on in Romania. Petty theft should be treated in a petty way until it is persistent. I believe in a 2nd chance but not a 102nd chance. Those who are already wealthy who rip off the public should be dealt with more severely than a tramp who pilfers fruit.

  75. I’ve just read Robert Jeffrey’s book about Peterhead. An interesting book. I wonder how the different treatment of prisoners in the modern era has changed the statistics around reoffending behaviours? My impression of the mentality of the hardened criminal in the era when Boyle was actively criminal is that the harshness of the prison regime did not deter.

    In my own experience, the things that changed my step father and swayed him from criminality ( well at least for a while, (probably the best part of 15 years) until the lure of the easy pickings associated with heroin, was natural maturity and family life.

    I do remember that he had a low opinion of Boyle and would refer to him as a errand boy and debt collector. He was never a fan of the police, referring to them as a necessary evil, but in the few dealings with them I witnessed (linked to my own delinquency in my boyhood/ early teens) he was always polite.

    • There were a few headcases like Boyle who chose a life of crime despite the penalty they paid for harming others. As prison is much softer now not so many are put off. As the saying goes – you are not being hanged for stealing horses but to stop others from stealing horses. By incarcerating this neanderthal society was saved much grief for a time. The austere prisons in which he served time were also cheap to run.

      • Not sure if the cost of prison can only be measured financially? I suppose we have other ways of offsetting some of financial issues through our recovery of the proceeds of crime practices?

        For me the focus must be on addressing the factors that make people think that serious crime is a reasonable alternative to being a decent citizen. I was just reading an article which highlighted the growth in inequality. It got me thinking about how qccessible many of the things we seem to value as a society are to people who earn average wages. One of my family works in administration. They work hard and yet they will never be able to buy a flat in the city the grew up in nor drive a nice car etc.

        Interesting that in Boyle’s case it was his own growing self awareness and the provision of a radical alternative to mainstream prison that put him on the path to conformity. Despite the harshness of the prison regime, he continued to battle against the authorities.

      • Yes, one needs to take a holistic approach to examining these things. Ideally we would not need prisons. In reality we shall always need prisons. If all prisoners came out reformed that would be fabulous. However, that is too much to hope for. Some prisoners will be rehabilitated and that is commendable. We also need to put off those who have committed crimes so that they do not wish to return to gaol.

  76. To those interested in life inside Peterhead Prison in the late 60’s early 70’s, I’m pleased to say that London based publisher Austin McCauley are to proceed with my novel “Blue Toon” which will be available later this year. Thanks to all those who have encouraged me to finish the novel – especially during my down days when my cancer continues to progress. Thanks to all.
    Edis Nori

  77. I saw that film, the part where he rubbed shit over the walls, made me sick, I can swear, hand on heart, that is Absolutely Disgusting, 10,000 showers and hot baths, I wouldn’t want to stand near him 🤢🤢🤢🤢🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮!!!

  78. Your a liar if you had been there you would have crapped your pants and said yes mr Boyle anything you say sir, this was part of glasgow or any city’s culture yes it was wrong yes things that were done to innocent hard working people was a disgrace, yet for all that Boyle turned himself around turned into a productive good member of society and helps other people to go straight, what have you done ? Scheming lying police and prison officers who torture inmates are scum they do the exact same as what inmates are in for violence yet there the good guys !! What a joke

      • What do you mean what has he done for people, once again that arrogance that you and Scottish papers can’t stop, you just won’t give him his due for being a scumbag but turning it around if you don’t know what he did for the youth who were addicts if you don’t know the decent things he did do and still does in morocco then maybe you should find out, I think you know but do not have the decency to say when someone who was scum actually became a decent person who knew what he did was a disgrace but he changed we can all change but people like you won’t let someone like him but would be willing to forgive terrorists and beasts and rapists but not Boyle fair is fair and your not fair.
        Ps please don’t mention the grammar it demeans you.

      • I am not a Scottish newspaper by the way. He has reformed then. That is most laudable. Yes, I absolve him. Being ungrammatical demeans the person who is ungrammatical. I make mistakes myself.

      • Exactly how does it demean that person please explain, your putting yourself out there as being extremely arrogant, how do you know that the person writing not to your superior standard does not have dsylexia or has taught himself as best as he could, yet you want to embarrass them to simply show that you believe yourself superior whereas I would say to that person, Well done you might not have the grammar or spelling of the superior cales but you have the guts to put your views across anyhow, as for Boyle you really are being unfair besides who do you think you are he doesn’t need you to absolve him he knows what he has done he knows he was the worst kind of scum being a bully but never a coward just a scumbag fucker, that makes it all the more applaudable that he turned it around and went on to help others but you would have preferred him to stay a scumbag to keep scarring killing taking off others, well I know people can change yet it’s people like you that will not give them a chance, but if he was standing in front of you then you wouldn’t be so mouthy so judgemental people change that’s a fact of life some for the worse some for the best, why can’t you acknowledge that the prison system did, he paid his debt doing time for a murder he did not commit but he didn’t complain as he knew the shit he had done before warranted his life sentence.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s