Throughout the years there was much speculation as to who had a motive to commit murder and shut down our business. The most obvious explanation for this was the London gangs. In the Southeast the gambling and gaming industry was being monopolized by gangs like the Kray Twins and the Richardson Torture Gang. However they weren't seeing the big profits that we were up in the Northeast, so they were very eager to get their hands on our business and expand their violent torture and protection rackets into the Northeast.
Vince was known as the "Fruit Machine King" - and had the monopoly on the gaming industry throughout the Northeast at the time. This proved an obstacle for gangs like the Kray Twins who tried to break into the gambling scene in the summer of '66 but failed. Just a month after their visit to our clubs in Newcastle our biggest club was burned to the ground. Arson was suspected and 2 people were seen running from the scene. Parallel to this, our company Social Club Services, valued at £8M was preparing to go public and start floating shares on the stock market, selling half of the shares for £4M. If this happened, all chances for the London gangs to establish themselves in the Northeast would have been lost. Additionally it is just too coincidental that the fires and the murder took place so close together, when before this there was never any trouble in the Northeast. What better way to bring our business to a complete and abrupt halt than by causing such a scandal as MURDER, framing 2 of Social Club Services key employees for it?. If anyone had a motive to commit murder, the Krays would definitely take the top spot on the list of possible suspects. But this possibility was never investigated.
Frankie Fraser, known as Mad Frank, who claimed he pulled peoples teeth out with a pair of pliers, was a member of the Richardson Torture Gang in the 1960's. He wrote in his book "Mad Frank's Britain", pages 185 to 191, ".....I heard the story that the killing (the brutal murder of Angus Sibbett) had been done by a London firm and was nothing to do with Dennis Stafford or Michael Luvaglio, I knew the names put up and from what I know it was possible...". A journalist phoned up Frankie Fraser and asked for the names of the two killers. He named the legendary Glasgow Godfather Arthur Thompson, who controlled Scottish streets for over 30 years and stood trial for murder on numerous occasions. Each time Thompson stood trial for murder, he was accused of shooting men dead and leaving their bullet ridden bodies in their cars. However as usually is in organized crime, he was never found guilty for the murders. The police accused him of nobbling the jurys. He was also a hitman for the Krays and their most feared enforcer for collecting money for their protection rackets, leaving a bloody trail of victims along the way. Arthur Thompson died of a heart attack in 1993.
When asked for the name of the other killer, Frankie Fraser refused to name him, as the man was still alive and he did not want any trouble. When the Criminal Cases Review Commission were reviewing my case, I asked them to investigate the possibility that Arthur Thompson and the Krays were involved in the murder of Angus, especially as BLOOD and FINGERPRINTS were found in the Mark X Jaguar car, which did not match the blood group or fingerprints of Angus, Stafford or myself. After asking them to investigate the possibility of the involvement of the Krays and Arthur Thompson, their reply was, "The Commission considers the suggestion that the Krays were involved to be too broad a hypothesis to justify a detailed investigation".
Another possibility to consider is that it could have been a CRIME OF PASSION. Angus was known as a ladies man and had a string of lovers - amongst them married women. There had been several murder threats made to Angus from jealous husbands and boyfriends and he had been warned to stay away from their women. Although Angus was married himself, he also had a mistress for whom he provided a flat and unbeknown to her was also seeing her younger sister on the sly. I never condoned this loose behaviour but he was a friend of mine and I felt his private life was none of my business so I stayed out of it. I never imagined his antics would cost him his life. This is is purely speculative of course, but must be considered nevertheless.
To this day nobody knows who killed Angus and why, but 2 innocent men were framed and convicted for this heinous crime while the real murderer was allowed to roam free and, potentially, kill again. After the "Guilty" verdict was passed, our fruit machines were literally put out on the streets and business came to a complete halt overnight. Social Club Services Ltd. went bankrupt and the clubs in the Northeast signed new contracts with suppliers from London. Strange coincidence. If it was the Krays, then their sabotage plan worked as they succeeded in overturning Vince's gaming empire. The flotation of our company on the Stock Exchange came to an abrupt halt and Vince fled the country, while Stafford and I were incarcerated.
Nevertheless the Krays' victory was short-lived. Within a year they were arrested and convicted for multiple murders themselves. During their trial, the Kray Twins' solicitor approached Stafford's solicitors offering him a deal. The deal was - if Stafford had any information which could discredit the policemen that were giving evidence against them - in return they would reveal the name of Angus Sibbett's killers. Unfortunately Stafford didn't have any information, so the names remained secret. The Krays died without ever revealing who killed Angus but in a television interview, Reggie Kray said on his deathbed that they had murdered another man but would not reveal the name. Could this have been Angus they were referring to?
I spent the next 12 years of my life incarcerated - 5 of those years in solitary confinement. For the first 3 months after my sentencing in March 1967, I was unable to speak - being in such a state of shock. My shock soon turned into anger causing me to scream at the top of my lungs to be released and beat my hands on the prison walls until my knuckles broke and bled. I even managed to split my hands open once. When I finally realized that nobody could help me, I decided to channel all that anger and frustration into a more useful direction of fighting for justice. In 1971 the book "Most Unnatural" by David Lewis and Peter Hughman was published and it was discovered that the police had suppressed 164 statements, police notebooks, forensic evidence and exhibits that may have proved my innocence disappeared whilst in police possession. If all of this evidence had been presented at my trial in 1967, the verdict of the Jury would have been entirely different.
After the publication of the book and all the publicity, a new appeal was granted. In January 1973 a new appeal was heard by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Widgery. Lord Widgery decided after hearing 33 witnesses who spoke in my defense giving information that proved my innocence, although they were all honest, respectable witnesses, they were all mistaken and the appeal was refused. The same night that the Lord Chief Justice refused my appeal, the BBC Television, BBC1 changed there scheduled advertised programmes and screened a documentary by Ludovic Kennedy giving the public no doubt that the judgment of the Lord Chief Justice was wrong. The following Sunday, The Sunday Times published an article by Hugo Young giving the same opinion. The publicity continued and Sir David Napley called for a Public Inquiry. The plea was ignored, but in 1974 I was offered parole on the condition that I signed a statement admitting my guilt after which I would be released on Life License. I asked, if I refused to sign this statement, would I still be released from prison? The answer was NO. I replied saying I would never sign a statement admitting my guilt, because I was innocent. They told me that I would be incarcerated in prison for the rest of my life and die there. I replied "SO BE IT ".
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While in prison, I decided to make the most positive use of my time, by furthering my education. I applied to the Open University to study law, so I could make sense of a law that had failed me and why. As I thought, the prison authorities refused, but I was given permission to apply for another subject so I studied Arts and Social Sciences with the Open University and earned a Bachelor Degree. I was even given special permission to attend the graduation ceremony to receive my degree (see "Achievements"). It was quite an honour since I was the first prisoner to be allowed to study in prison and earn a degree. This later opened up the opportunity to other prisoners, and a system for furthering education was established in the British prisons.
The publicity continued concerning my innocence which was a constant embarrassment to the Judiciary and the Government, so much that in 1978 I was offered parole again, but this time I was not asked to sign a statement admitting my guilt. Stafford and I were given parole and released on Life License in 1979, to serve the remainder of our life sentence in society, with certain restrictions. We were the only prisoners ever to be released on Life Licence without having first signed a statement admitting guilt, prior to our release.
Prior to my release in 1979, Baroness Barbara Wotton asked a Charity called New Bridge that helped ex-prisoners find employment, to visit me in prison, interview me and help me to obtain employment. The Director of the Charity, Maisie Hood, visited me in prison and asked me what type of employment I was seeking. I told her that I had studied with the Open University in Art and Social Sciences with a view to obtain employment in Social Services. As a result of my own experiences I wanted to help those most disadvantaged in our society. Maisie said that this interview was a godsend, because her husband Tom Hood, wheelchair bound because of war injuries, had started a Charity called SHARE Community (Self Help and Rehabilitation Employment) in 1972, in the front room of their council flat. In the past six years it had not progressed from their front room and they only had regular meetings with a few people (7 at the most) with severe disabilities. She asked me, if I would accept the challenge and take up employment with them as SHARE's Programme and Projects Manager, on a very minimum salary, to develop, fundraise and create projects that would encourage people with severe disabilities to maximize their potential, learn life skills, and enhance their quality of life. This was exactly the type of work I was hoping for so when I was released I went to work for SHARE. Within one year, I managed to obtain Government funding and funding from Trusts with the help of Lords, MPs, Lawyers, Solicitors, Journalists and the support of my voluntary Council of Management which I had created. With the help and financial support of Wandsworth Council, I rented a three story building with a shop front in Battersea High Street in London. I created four training projects in life skills, clerical skills, set up a Printing Training Workshop (recognized by the Print Trade Unions) and a Retail Training Shop, selling goods made by people with disabilities. I had fifty people with severe disabilities training six days a week and a continual turnover of people with severe disabilities as they obtained full time employment. With the Brixton riots, we were the only shop window that was not smashed in Battersea High Street because the Charity was respected by the community for what it was doing for the severely disabled members of their community.
As a result of the success that we had with the training projects, we were having referrals of people with severe disabilities from all over London. The need was so great that we had to expand again and with the help of all our supporters, we moved to a much larger premises at the South Bank Business Centre, Battersea Park Road. I created a further three additional projects in Computer Training, Catering and a Horticultural project in the grounds of Springfield Hospital in Tooting. I increased the number of training places for people with severe disabilities to over one hundred a day. SHARE was the only Charity that offered qualifications in all its projects through City and Guilds and the Royal Society of Arts. I then thought if universities can have a Graduation Day then I was determined that the achievements of SHARE's "Trainees" would have their own Graduation Day. So once a year Wandsworth Council gave us the use of the Civic Centre free of charge, where mayors from boroughs throughout London and celebrities awarded over two hundred people with severe disabilities their Qualification Certificates.
Again we moved to larger premises in Altenburg Gardens, Clapham Junction. With the encouragement of SHARE's Council of Management I started to research the possibility to open up SHARE in major cities throughout Britain. Unfortunately for me it was not to be. I had my first major heart attack in June 2002 and had to retire as Executive Director. A month later I was presented with a Civic Award at a banquet in the Civic Centre for my help and support to over 3,000 people with severe disabilities by the Mayor of Wandsworth, in front of several hundred people. Apparently I could not be put forward for an OBE because of my unjust criminal conviction.
I continued to undertake voluntary work for charities and at a later date on two separate occasions, Prince Edward and Princess Alexandra awarded me a Certificate of Appreciation for my help and support for over 25 years to 3,000 people with severe disabilities. I am proud of SHARE Community and extremely pleased that the voluntary Council of Management and Share's dedicated Staff and Chief Executive are giving excellent training to people with severe disabilities. I still enjoy attending SHARE's Graduation ceremony every year whilst I am able to do so.
In 2008 Stafford and I met up for the first time in 40 years with the intention of pooling our resources to make a final appeal to the High Court petitioning, for a re-trial with a jury in order to present all the evidence that the police suppressed from the original trial in March 1967. Prior to this we fought independently for our innocence, but it led us nowhere.
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With your help I will be able to die a free man - that's all I have to live for now. To those who have always believed in my innocence and continue to support me in my constant fight to clear my name, I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation. You know who you are and without all of you I would have lost all hope for justice and the will to live. To the rest of you - if you believe I am innocent after seeing all the information provided in this website, please help me win my freedom by participating in the e-petition set up for my campaign for justice.
The evidence that I have, will prove without a lurking doubt, that I did not commit this crime.
Please go to the online petition and add your name to the list by clicking on the below link. If the link isn't working with your browser then please, copy this address and paste it in a new browser window:
100,000 signatures are needed so please take the time to do this. Thank you.