WPC Yvonne Fletcher #justice4Yvonne – An open letter to the Police Federation @PFEW_HQ

Police Officer Yvonne Fletcher friend of Matt Johnson

On 17th April 1984, a young police constable called Yvonne Fletcher paraded for work on a day that would normally have been her day off. She had been due to spend the day with her working partner, a fellow officer called John Murray. Yvonne and John were both working, both as part of a small contingent of officers whose role was to supervise a demonstration outside the Libyan People’s Bureau in St James’s Square.

The large number of demonstrators present that day were very vocal in expressing their objections to a regime in Libya led by Colonel Gaddafi. To keep the crowd away from the Bureau, they were held behind a series of steel barriers. Between them and the Bureau –  a building occupied by pro-Gaddafi supporters – stood one PC, John Murray. The spot was noisy and uncomfortable. Although he wasn’t the object of the demonstrator’s anger, John was directly in front of it. Seeing her working partner had been in this position for some time, Yvonne approached John and offered to take his place. She would stand in front of the demonstrators for a while. John was grateful and accepted the kind offer.

None of the police officers present were aware that pro-Gaddafi supporters had infiltrated the demonstration to try and encourage key targets toward the front of the crowd into a position where they were directly in front of the Bureau. Those pro-Gaddafi supporters, having achieved their objective, retired to a safer place. The reason – they knew what was about to happen. A first floor window in the Bureau was opened, a machine gun was pointed at the crowd and the man holding the weapon opened fire.

We all know what happened next. Watch it here.

John Murray cradles his mortally wounded colleague, Yvonne Fletcher
Severely injured WPC Yvonne Fletcher being helped by colleagues

Yvonne Fletcher’s murder deeply affected the Met Police from the rank-and-file PCs through to the highest ranks. It was, and it remains, the only time a British police officer has been murdered live on television. It remains the most photographed and recorded death of a policewoman in the annals of British history.

The effect of Yvonne’s murder is still felt in the police today. Her death prompted the formation of the Police Memorial Trust by Sir Michael Winner after Michael wrote to the Charity Commission and received the response ‘Are you telling me you want to erect memorials to mere policemen?’ This attitude displayed in this reply amazed Michael, but he felt it was not untypical. It fuelled his determination for form a charity and the Police Memorial Trust was born.

Margaret Thatcher and Michael Winner unveil the memorial to Yvonne Fletcher

Yvonne’s was the first memorial the trust laid. A cherry tree – still thriving today – was also planted in her memory. In February 1985, during the unveiling ceremony, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said this. “Today, the Square has resumed its peaceful way. But memories of those terrible events are still vivid in our minds. We have come here to remember Yvonne Fletcher, privately in our own thoughts, and publicly by this ceremony. Her death was a grievous loss; to her family, to the Metropolitan Police, and to all of us.

This simple memorial, erected by the Police Memorial Trust, will be a reminder to Londoners and to visitors alike of the debt that we owe to Yvonne Fletcher and all her colleagues in the Police. Without them the law could not be upheld. Without them, indeed, there would be no law, and no liberty.

We have become used to seeing our police men and women respond magnificently to any challenge. But we must never take their professionalism for granted. Too often especially recently, we hear that our police have been killed or wounded on duty. This has got to stop, and every single citizen has a duty to help make it stop. Our police uphold the law without regard to their own feelings and their own safety, never knowing what the day may bring. The greater the risk, the greater their courage. The greater their courage, the greater our loss. 

Today as I unveil this memorial to Yvonne Fletcher, let us also pay tribute to the other brave men and women police officers who have been killed or injured, calling to mind as we do so the words of Abraham Lincoln: “Let us have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.”

Every year, for 36 years, a memorial service has been held at the spot where Yvonne was shot. Every day sees police officers and members of the public stop to view her memorial and to stand in silence for a few moments. New police officers are taken to the scene by their supervisors, so they may understand what Yvonne’s death meant to the police service, and to remind them we may all one day be required to make the ultimate sacrifice. Young officers understand, through Yvonne’s death, what might be asked of them.

Television and radio documentaries have been made about what happened that day. Huge numbers of feature-length articles have appeared in the press. Last year, the Victoria Derbyshire programme made a short documentary about the campaign to bring the main suspect to court and only last week, a Facebook group created by John to gauge support for his campaign attracted over 5K applications in just a few days.

Yvonne’s death inspired a generation of young women to join the police service. Many of these women are now retired having completed full-length careers and some have gone on to lead our police services at the very highest levels. One of them is the highest ranking police officer in the UK.

No murder is ever routine, no murder is special. Every victim matters. This murder was different, though. It took place in the public eye and the victim was someone protecting us. To our discredit, it remains unsolved.

I’m not proposing to go into the rights and wrongs of the numerous criminal investigations that have taken place, the conspiracy theories, the alleged actions or inactions of the security services, of politicians and of ministers. I simply want to ask you, the members of the PFEW, to re-consider your decision not to fund John Murray’s civil claim against one of the alleged conspirators in the murder of Yvonne Fletcher.

John was a serving police constable. He, like all of us, paid a regular subscription to the Police Federation. He paid that subscription, as we all did, because it provided us with support in times of difficulty. It provided us with help, with expertise, and it provided us with finance should we ever need to take court action against someone as a result of our work. John’s court action is made against one of the alleged conspirators for personal injury. It is for the Post Trauma (PTSD) he suffered as a result of Yvonne’s murder. With all criminal avenues exhausted, this is perhaps the final opportunity to secure a legal finding against someone responsible for her death. It isn’t an easy option. John has to demonstrate – on the balance of possibilities – that he suffered PTSD, that the PTSD was caused by the murder of Yvonne and that the respondent is responsible for that murder. He is claiming just £1 in compensation. This isn’t a measure of how much Yvonne’s life was worth, it is a symbolic payment to John. He doesn’t want to make money from this. What he seeks is a legal finding against one of Yvonne’s killers. What he wants is justice.

I’ve seen various figures banded about with regards to how much John needs from the PFEW. I don’t know what figures the PFEW were presented with but what I do know is John has already spend a huge amount of money getting this far. He has journeyed to Libya – risking his life in the process – to interview people the official enquiries couldn’t reach. He has been dogged and determined. He has been warned off and intimidated, he has had his telephone and mail intercepted. He has seen witnesses warned off and has been the subject of smear campaigns. He has never given up.

The Police Federation (PFEW) is paid for by police officers who, on a daily basis, take the same risks as Yvonne Fletcher did.  Retired and serving officers the length and breadth of the country would wish to see John supported. The PFEW can afford to do so. I beg them to. People who murder need to understand that, no matter the time and no matter the cost, we will never give up in our pursuit for justice.

On 27th April 1984, Sir Michael Winner wrote in the Daily Mail at the invitation of the editor, Sir David English. Michael’s letter ended with these poignant – and prescient – words.

I can see a day in the future when human memory, being what it is, has discarded the events that now seem so important, and the shadows from the trees above sway slowly to and fro on the pavement of St James’s Square, the sunlight catching a small memorial. Maybe two people passing by will stop and one will say to the other – ‘Yvonne Fletcher? Who was she?’ To which there will be a simple and noble answer. She was a member of the British Police Force.”

Many who read this post will have either been members of the Police Federation or have a connection to it. Many others will share the desire to see justice, to see a legal finding against at least one of those responsible for her murder. When the going got tough, let us be able to say we met the challenge with a steely resolve. Let us be able to say we never, ever gave up.

Let us not be amongst those who forgot.

On behalf of The Campaign for Justice for WPC Yvonne Fletcher

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London Bridge terrorist – shoot or arrest?


Imagine you’re a cop with a gun.


You are hailed by frightened members of the public who tell you a man nearby has stabbed several people. You locate and confront him, you see what looks like a bomb vest on him. You have a split second to decide – shoot or don’t shoot – and if you get it wrong you possibly won’t know, because it will be too late.

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Imagine the bravery to face that dilemma, and to make that decision.

I’ve read a lot of support in the press and on social media for the actions of the officers who shot the London Bridge suspect and, of course, for the incredible bravery of the unarmed civilians who tackled the terrorist – because that’s what he was.

I’ve also seen a lot of emotive comments like ‘police murder’ and ‘state sanctioned murder’, and ‘why wasn’t he simply arrested as he was clearly unable to resist’.

In Wicked Game, I wrote about just this kind of scenario because the reality is, in real life and in real time, the cop has a fraction of a second to decide if what he or she sees in front of them is life-threatening to themselves or to anyone nearby. Certainty only comes when the bomb is triggered or the suspect opens fire and, in that moment of hesitation, you and many others could be killed.


That is the real world. This is not a playstation game. You don’t get a new life if you err. If you react too slowly, you may be dead before you’ve even had time to decide. React too quickly and make a mistake and it could be you facing a murder trial.


The kind of people who – from the comfort of their armchair and on their smart phone or computer – think they know best and could do better, might like to go back to one of their computerised simulations of reality and see how many times their character makes the right decision, and how many times they are obliterated.

You have one life, use it carefully.


Another cop in need of your help

On 17th April 1984, Yvonne Fletcher was shot outside the Libyan Peoples Bureau in London.

Next week, on the Victoria Derbyshire TV show (starts Monday 10am BBC2) you can see a short film about this day and see a live interview with John Murray, her fiancée at the time.

matt johnson yvonne fletcher libyan people bureau

Severely injured WPC Yvonne Fletcher being helped by colleagues

That’s John in the photograph, crouched over the mortally wounded Yvonne.

yvonne memorial

The second picture is the memorial, in London. Yvonne was also a friend of mine, I did the ambulance escort taking her to hospital.

The purpose of this post is to ask for help. For reasons of national security, her killers were never prosecuted. To try and secure justice for Yvonne, John is taking one of the suspects to civil court very soon.

The police federation are not funding John. He is doing this himself. His is not an attempt to make money – he is suing for just £1 – it’s a final attempt to secure a court finding.

John has obtained a protective costs order limiting his liability (should he lose) to £60K. A crowd funding page has raised nearly £20K. That still leaves John over £40K short, should he fail.

I’m asking you, as you did for Andrew Harper, to consider making a small donation for this cause as well. Yvonne’s murder, I am told, remains the only unsolved murder of a UK police officer.

Here is the link https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/wpc-fletcher/


Dogs are companions not meat

I heard the rumours, scarcely believing it could be true.

Today, thanks to an article on the BBC, I learned it is. And it’s happening now.

People are eating dog meat, here in the UK. And yes, it is legal! Sale and purchase of dog meat is banned. Consumption is not. Provided a dog is killed humanely – complying with animal cruelty laws – there is nothing to stop people eating an animal we think of as a pet.

Unbelievable, isn’t it? 2018, in the UK, you can kill your dog and eat it, and the law cannot touch you.


I’m not going to post any more pictures here. When I began looking for images to support this article I found them so horrifying, so disgusting and upsetting that I will not share them.

My views are not impartial, I’ll admit. Dogs have been my pet and working companions for most of my life. I still remember those that have passed with fondness, think about their characters, recall the goodness they brought into my life. My two present friends sit here with me now as I write this. Their walk is delayed, so pressed did I feel to complete this article.

I accept, there are countries around the world – mostly in Asia – where dog meat is a staple part of the diet. It’s also seen as cuisine, traditional and part of ritual. Organisations such as The World Dog Alliance and Humane Society International run campaigns to have it banned, but with limited success.

And, in the meantime, it has spread. Now, here in the UK, we cannot assume that dog sold as a pet, re-homed to a new family or taken in by a kind new owner is destined to be safe. Some of them are intended for consumption – not many I accept, but enough to justify a ban.

Scottish MP, Dr Lisa Cameron, is heading a move to have the consumption of dog meat banned here in the UK. I urge you to support her. Tweet this article, copy in your own MP, point out they have the power to do this and … let’s get this awful practise banned.

Dogs are our companions, not our next meal.



I remember too. John just puts it better.


It was the grandest of adventures – my life in blue. 

I remember the moment I first knew that I wanted to be a Copper. The PC walking down the other side of Hammersmith Broadway won’t have seen the tentative schoolboy standing at the bus stop. But I saw him. And, from that moment on, I never seriously considered doing anything else.

I remember being driven through the gates at Hendon for the first time, all nerves and expectation. Sergeant Parkes was at the wheel of the minibus, with half a dozen of us sitting in the back, wide-eyed and wondering.

I remember the marching and polishing and running and revising.

I remember my first day on patrol and my first vehicle stop. I remember being terrified. I remember catching my reflection in tall shop windows and that unmistakeable sense of pride at who I was becoming.

I remember…

View original post 437 more words

That man – and why you should ignore him.

I’d like to thank Shahida Arabi, the author of some incredible work on Narcissism for much of the content to this article. I’ve adapted it, edited and cut parts to suit the particular circumstances relevant to this situation.

Having seen some of the arguments and frustration that people have experienced, I wondered if some context might help.

I’ve cut off all contact with this particular narcissist, and this is why. You may recognise some behaviours you have experienced yourself with this particular individual.

In popular culture, the term “narcissistic” is thrown about quite loosely, usually referring to vanity and self-absorption. While narcissism does exist on a spectrum, narcissism as a full-fledged personality disorder is quite different.

People who meet the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder or those who have traits of Antisocial Personality Disorder  can operate in extremely manipulative ways due to their deceitfulness, lack of empathy and their tendency to be interpersonally exploitative.

You may have seen the following covert manipulation tactics when you first had contact with this person.

  1. The Idealization-Devaluation-Discard Phase

Narcissists and those with antisocial traits tend to subject new relationships through three phases. The idealization phase consists of ‘putting you on a pedestal’, making you the centre of their world, being in contact with you frequently, and showering you with flattery and praise. You are convinced that the narcissist can’t operate without you. Think: constant texting, flattery and wanting to be in regular and frequent contact. Familiar?

This is a technique known as “lovebombing” and it is how most victims get sucked in: They might be tired of the “games” other people play with each other in communication and are flattered by the constant attention they get from this person – the narcissist. You may be fooled into thinking that this means a narcissist is truly interested in you, when in fact, he is actually interested in making you dependent on his constant praise and attention.

The devaluation phase is subsequent to this idealization phase, and this is when you’re left wondering why you were so abruptly thrust off the pedestal. The narcissist will suddenly start to blow hot and cold, criticizing you, covertly and overtly putting you down, comparing you to others, emotionally withdrawing from you and giving you the silent treatment when you’ve failed to meet their “standards.” You are mislead into thinking that if you just learn not to be so “needy,” “clingy,” or “jealous,”  the narcissist will reward you with the  friendly behaviour he demonstrated in the beginning. The narcissist may use these and other similar words to gaslight victims when they react normally to being provoked. It’s a way to maintain control over your legitimate emotional reactions to their stonewalling, emotional withdrawal and inconsistency.

Narcissists love conflict. They thrive on it. They create it, perpetuate it and repeat it. It seems to others to be a very odd way to behave, and it is. But not to them.

Unfortunately, it is during the devaluation phase that a narcissist’s true self shows itself. The true colours are only now beginning to show, so it will be a struggle as you attempt to reconcile the image that the narcissist presented to you with his new behaviours.

  1. Gaslighting.

A technique narcissists use to convince you that your perception of their unpleasant behaviour is inaccurate.

During the devaluation and discard phases, the narcissist will often remark upon your “issues,” and displace blame of his/her abuse as your fault. Frequent use of phrases such as “You provoked me,” “You’re too sensitive,” “I never said that,” or “You’re taking things too seriously” after the narcissists’ abusive outbursts are common and are used to gaslight you into thinking that their behaviour is your fault or that it never even took place.

Narcissists are masters of making you doubt yourself and the abuse. This is how they fool people, take them in, make them feel part of their ‘group’.

  1. Smear campaigns.

Narcissists keep harems because they love to have their egos stroked and they need constant validation from the outside world to feed their need for excessive admiration and confirm their grandiose sense of self-importance. They are clever chameleons who are also people-pleasers, morphing into whatever personality suits them in situations with different types of people. It is no surprise, then, that the narcissist begins a smear campaign against you not too long after the discard phase, in order to paint you as the unstable one, and that this is usually successful within the narcissist’s support network which also tends to consist of other narcissists, people-pleasers, empaths, as well as people who are easily charmed.

This smear campaign accomplishes three things: 1) it depicts you as the problem or as an unstable person and deflects your accusations of bad behaviour, 2) it provokes you, thus ‘proving’ your instability to others when trying to argue his depiction of you, and 3) serves as a hoovering technique in which the narcissist seeks to pull you back into the trauma of the argument (remember that they love conflict) as you struggle to reconcile the stories or accusations made about you.

The only way to not get pulled into this tactic is by going full No Contact with both the narcissist and his harem.

Don’t argue with them. They cannot be wrong, they will never be persuaded. And remember – the love conflict, they enjoy it, thrive on it. It is their life-blood.

  1. Triangulation.

Healthy relationships thrive on security; unhealthy ones are filled with provocation, uncertainty and infidelity. Narcissists like to manufacture triangles and bring in the opinions of others to validate their point of view. They do this to an excessive extent in order to play puppeteer to your emotions. This triangulation can take place over social media, in person, or even through the narcissist’s own verbal accounts of the other woman or man. Unlike ‘normal’ people, the narcissist will belittle your feelings and continue inappropriate flirtations and behaviours without a second thought.

  1. The false self and the true self.

The narcissist hides behind the shield of a “false self,” a construct of qualities and traits that he or she usually presents to the outside world. Due to this shield, you are unlikely to comprehend the full extent of a narcissist’s inhumanity and lack of empathy until you are in the discard phase. This can make it difficult to pinpoint who the narcissistic abuser truly is – the sweet, charming and seemingly remorseful person that appears shortly after the poor behaviour is exposed, or the abusive individual who ridicules, invalidates and belittles you? People connected to narcissists can suffer a great deal of cognitive dissonance trying to reconcile the illusion the narcissist first presented to them with the tormenting behaviours he subjects them to later. During the discard phase, the narcissist reveals the true self – the genuinely abusive and abrasive personality beneath the shallow veneer rears its ugly head and you get a glimpse of the cruelty that was lurking within all along. You bear witness to his cold, callous indifference as you are discarded. You might think this is only a momentary lapse into inhumanity, but actually, it is as close you will ever get to seeing the narcissist’s true self.

The manipulative, conniving charm that existed in the beginning is no more – instead, it is replaced by the genuine contempt that the narcissist felt for you all along. See, narcissists don’t truly feel empathy for others – so during the discard phase, they feel absolutely nothing for you except the excitement of having exhausted another source of supply. You were just another source of supply, so do not fool yourself into thinking that the connection that existed in the beginning was in any way real. It was an illusion, much like the identity of the narcissist was fake and created, to attract, and to fill their needs.

If you’re interested in learning more about narcissistic behaviour and how to deal with it, maybe check out Shahida’s work.

Meeting @Harryonthebrink Bingham

Harry Bingham 2

7th October 2017 8pm at Crickhowell Literary Festival I get to meet and interview Harry Bingham.

At the time of writing, I’ve had quite limited contact with Harry but I’ve already concluded he is quite a character. I also confess that, until now, I hadn’t read any of his DC Fiona Griffiths crime novels.

But I have heard of Harry.  Harry Bingham 1

Many of you will have seen this incredible picture on social media and wondered who it was. Well, now you know.

Harry Bingham is a character himself, and as sure as eggs are eggs, when he turned his mind to crime-fiction, he was going to come up with a protagonist the likes of whom people will have never seen before.

And so was born Fiona Griffiths.

Harry Bingham 4

We first meet Detective Constable Griffiths in ‘Talking to the Dead’, a novel set in Cardiff. Griffiths is a relatively inexperienced CID officer who, due to a link with a fraud she is looking into, finds herself helping out on a team investigating two very unpleasant murders, of a mother and her daughter.

I’m familiar with Cardiff and the surrounding city so, for me, it made a nice change to see areas and streets I know feature and to learn something about the region as the story unfolded.

We also learn a lot about Fiona Griffiths; her family links to the criminal underworld, her unusual yet focussed personality, her ability to think outside the box, her struggle with inter-personal relationships and, perhaps most interestingly, her struggle with overcoming a childhood mental illness.

Griffiths is a maverick, the kind of detective that senior officers love and loathe in equal measure. She does things that most police officers would consider crazy and which we would never risk doing ourselves. She does the things we would like to do, but which fear of the law and the police disciplinary system prevents almost all of us from doing. And she gets results.

Harry asked me before I read the book if, as an ex-detective, I might cast an eye over his police procedure. I was more than happy to and I will tell him when I see him that yes, there are one or two rather unusual police related decisions and methods that I haven’t personally seen before. But I will also tell him this, and that is my impression that it matters not one jot. This book delivers and it thrills, just as a crime-thriller should. I’ve abandoned rather too many books recently and was so pleased to find one that kept me reading and kept me hooked.

I’m looking forward to October 7th, I hope you’ll join us.

Harry Bingham 5

7th Oct – Meeting @policecommander

Blue a memoirCrickhowell-Literary-Festival-2017

On 7th October 2017, at 6pm, courtesy of Crickhowell Literary Festival, I will have the privilege of being in conversation with a hero of mine.

We will be talking ‘21st Century policing – fact and fiction‘. The title reflects the alternative routes taken by John and me when it came to choosing a publishing medium through which to tell our stories. The evening event will last for about an hour and a half and will be introduced by Chief Constable Mark Collins, Dyfed-Powys Police.

If you’ve never been to Crickhowell, then what better excuse could you have to come and spend a day in the shade of the incredible Brecon Beacons. You can secure a ticket for the event here.

For now, let’s get back to John’s book.

I was already an inspector at Stoke Newington in North London when John Sutherland joined the police. The subtitle to his book – Keeping the peace and falling to pieces – was something I was starting to experience just as he entered the world of London policing. And so, for reasons that may be apparent, I approached this book with some trepidation.

I’ve followed John’s @policecommander twitter feed and his blog for some time and we have been in touch many times. His blog, in particular, is simply brilliant. Eighteen months ago, he came to the London launch of my debut novel and was kind enough to bring me a present. It was a simple gift, but full of meaning. John brought me a tie, a Hostage Negotiator tie, from the Hendon course that he and I had both attended. Me, in 1991, John many years later. My original tie was lost, something I had mentioned to him and, without being asked, John sourced a replacement.

That thoughtful side to John’s character comes across clearly in this, his first book. He is a man who cares, a man who builds bridges.

‘Blue’ is John’s account of his 25-year policing career in the Metropolis, of his experiences and the challenges he faced, and of the eventual toll it took on his mental health. Reading ‘Blue’ took me back, long-forgotten memories returned, and I felt a sense of re-connecting with my past. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Much of ‘Blue’ is written in the form of anecdotes, short stories of incidents, of people and of issues facing the police service. The writing style is that of a narrator, and it very quickly draws you in, to the point where you are soon fully engaged. For me, it felt like a warm blanket, comforting and, at the same time, reassuring that our police service is being run by people like John, who clearly care a great deal for the public they serve.

Cricklitfest 1‘Blue’ made me smile, it made me laugh. It made me cry out in frustration and sympathy and, just near the end, it brought a tear to my eye. I won’t tell you where, but I suspect you will recognise the moment when you read it for yourself. And, I use that word ‘when’ quite deliberately, because I feel this book is essential reading for anyone interested in policing, whether it be as a serving or retired officer, or as a person who is interested in what happens behind the scenes of an organisation charged with preserving peace in our society.

‘Blue’ is a memoir, a one-off account of one man’s police career. But it is far more than that. It is an insight into how the pressures and stresses of the high-paced, career-focussed lives of our senior executives can place unacceptable and unsustainable responsibilities upon them.

A ‘must read’, if ever there was one.

Shoeboxes for Our Heroes

A few years ago, I was approached by a chap called Chris Webster and asked if I would consider becoming a patron to an organisation he had started up which he told me was soon to become a charity.

The organisation was called ‘Shoeboxes for Our heroes‘ and, I was told, worked by employing a network of fundraiser and gift donators who assembled shoeboxes filled with goodies to be sent to members of the armed services deployed abroad.

To me, this seemed a very good cause and I was happy to be involved with it. I even raised some funds for the group by auctioning a rare bottle of port and arranging for the proceeds to be sent to them.

Over time, I became aware of issues with ‘Shoeboxes’. Webster always seemed to be in dispute with one person of another – exclusively on Facebook, it seemed – and there were, it appeared, rather a lot of people who had problems with him. Webster assured me this was due to jealousy of the groups success and disputes where people who got involved would want to do things differently, take over etc.

I was also concerned that the charity status never seemed to materialise and there was always excuses for this when I asked about it. And then, last year, a group of people got involved who appeared to be more organised and, at last, trustees were identified – including a Chairman – and it looked like charity status was near.

Then, everything imploded. The proposed trustee chair resigned and allegations started to appear on social media that Webster had been failing to responsibly record finances and had, in fact, been using the group to approach and engage in inappropriate on-line sexual activity with a large number of females.

I contacted the resigning Chair and asked what was going on. As a result, I saw some examples of the activities Webster had engaged in. I immediately contacted my two fellow patrons and we agreed that we would all resign immediately. This we did.

Thereafter, I distanced myself from Webster – despite his attempts to contact me – and from the numerous on-line communications that started, including when Webster was made the subject of an investigation by the Walter Mitty Hunters Club (TWMHC). For his part, Webster denied the allegations made and yet, the evidence seemed to be growing.

And now, it appears he has decided to confess – albeit with excuses – to his wholly inappropriate behaviour on many counts.

But he seems intent on continuing to run ‘Shoeboxes’ in the same way as before and has now registered it as a ‘Community Interest Company’.

Below, is Webster’s admission, posted on the ‘Shoeboxes’ facebook page a couple of days a go but since removed. In it, he admits to some very unsavoury behaviour which I believe makes him an unsuitable man to be involved in running a company that supports troops by sending gifts to them on deployment. He has demonstrated a predisposition to use contacts established through such a group to further his particular sexual activities and, as such, I believe every effort should be made to ensure he no longer is able to do this.

To this end, I would urge you to sign this petition which is aimed at asking those with the power and influence to stop Mr Webster, to do so. It is worthy of note – when reading the following admission – that the claims relating to his family upbringing have since been refuted by his family and that the claims regarding no contact with wives/partners of serving members of the armed services is also refuted by those who have created the petition.

Matt Johnson

Author, Wicked Game.

From ‘Shoeboxes for Our Heroes CIC’ Facebook page;
Statement of fact by Christopher Webster, Director Shoeboxes for our Heroes CIC – company number 10832763 – Former director of Shoeboxes for our Heroes Ltd company number – 0981 9505
2) Admission of inappropriate communication with females via email, skype and SMS
I am both deeply sorry and ashamed to admit that I did engage in sexual chat, send unsolicited, inappropriate & explicit pictures and videos of myself to a number of Ladies all of whom were above the age of consent.
I fully accept that my historic conduct in relation to me sending unsolicited sexual messages, ” sexting” and sending explicit pictures of myself to some 14 females over a period of time, (often when they were at low points emotionally and emotionally vulnerable). However, none of the ladies were married to men from any deployed or serving forces and none were aged under 18.
I fully accept this was totally inappropriate, morally and ethically wrong, spiritually wrong and I am deeply ashamed of the hurt I caused to these ladies, their Partners , their families and to my own Wife and family given the shame I have brought upon myself and vicariously on my family.
My conduct was driven by a compulsive sexual addiction, which I am now receiving treatment for by means of therapy and attending a 12 step group. I have been told this was a caused by a direct result of the severe mental and emotional abuse I suffered as a small child. This in no way excuses my conduct, but goes some way to explaining the compulsion behind it.
I can honestly say that I would never have participated in this inappropriate conduct if I had been emotionally well, sane and working a recovery programme. I am deeply ashamed of the hurt and pain I caused these ladies (who had no part to play in it). Moreover, I am deeply ashamed and totally repentant relating to the manner in which I have dealt with denying this and attempting to blame my victims for which I have no excuses, my conduct was abhorrent and something which will haunt me for a very long time.
I am truly sorry for the harm, hurt and pain I caused and want to offer my apologies and make amends for these harms. Naturally, I would like to say sorry in person, however, it has been suggested to me that part of my ongoing amend will be to not contact any of these ladies again, ever.
As such my apology is being made public and I am truly sorry for the hurt, harm, pain and shame I caused each of these ladies and my own Wife who has been impacted by this old conduct. I am now receiving therapy, working a recovery programme and will not repeat this ever again.
I want to do more than say sorry and as such I will make my amend to these ladies as follows.
I will donate to 25 pounds a month from my salary for 12 months too a Women’s refuge in Derby which is funded by voluntary donations.
2. Claiming to suffer from service related PTSD and seeking help from Combat Stress.
I am again deeply ashamed & embarrassed by these acts and again, it is something which will haunt me for a very long time.
Whilst I do suffer from diagnosed PTSD and other emotional and mental disorders, they were sustained in childhood given I had a dysfunctional childhood and came from a broken and dysfunctional home, which resulted in me developing emotional, compulsive and addiction issues as a coping strategy.
I have always suffered from incredibly low self-esteem and have constantly looked for approval from others and tried to look for ways to “fit in” I cannot quantify why I acted in this manner, I simply did without ever thinking of the consequences. I can neither condone how I acted given the amount of actual veterans suffering from service related PTSD. I simply wanted to “fit in” I did have a session with the Combat Stress triage nurse who was fantastic and gave me plenty of help and explained a lot what was going on also they passed me on to somebody that could help me.. also I was attacked by my next door neighbour and have constant problems with him to the day its over 2 years since the attack but living next door to somebody who makes your families life hell almost everyday
In relation to the posts I made about fireworks and seeing dead soldiers it was at the same time my dad passed away and remembrance week. I guess I was trying to adapt my own mental illnesses to those I heard others discussing I guess when you talk to so many people you absorb some of what they say and I foolishly saw their trauma and pain as being more “glamourous” than my own and for this I am again both sorry for the hurt caused and deeply ashamed.
I am truly sorry if my actions offended some wounded veterans or the families of veterans and I confirm it wasn’t my intention to hurt or harm I was simply acting as I had always done before seeking help which was impulsively and often pathologically. I have always admired the British Armed Forces hence my charity efforts, but I was unable to complete my own training in the Reserve Forces and this again was another form of almost childish emulation of individuals I deeply admire.
In order to make an amend for this I will donate a sum of 10.00 a month to combat stress for a period of one year and offer to assist them in any fundraising efforts they need to execute.
3. The wearing of items of military clothing, beret, combat trousers etc.
as outlined above, I have always, since childhood, admired the British Armed Forces and as a child joined the cadets. However, due to the nature of my own emotional and mental disorder I was unable to complete my reserve service,due to doing a craft apprencticeship at the railway so , serving some 1 year and 149 days in total. I was discharged at my own request when my own emotional and mental health became problematic and this caused me to massively disenfranchise with my life and I often withdrew into a fantasy world.
I accept that I have “dressed up” as a soldier on many occasions and I truly and sincerely intended to harm, disrespect or hurt from my actions. I can see now that this was wrong and could be construed that I was trying to deceive the public, which I absolutely assure everyone I was not.
I again offer my wholehearted apology to those I have offended both serving soldiers, veterans and the families of veterans or serving forces.
In order to make an amend for this I will cease and desist wearing any form of military clothing at future events and wear my SBFOH Polo Shirts and continue with my charity service via SBFOH.
4. The wearing of a HM Forces Veteran Pin
I again intended no harm or disrespect by wearing this pin which I am legally entitled to wear given the MOD provided me with it on the strength of my service in the reserve forces.
I do however accept it has offended certain individuals given they served in hostile environments and been on numerous deployments which I greatly admire and respect them for.
I honestly didn’t mean to offend anyone and again I simply wanted to fit in with an organisation and people I have admired since childhood. Again, if I’m being honest, I was simply being childish and trying to emulate individuals I greatly admire.
My amend here is that I will cease wearing this pin on all SBFOH events
5) My conduct relating to how I have historically responded to these allegations and for the aggressive manner in which I have conducted myself
I am again deeply sorry for the manner in which I originally responded to these allegations. I reverted in many cases to “child” and lashed out and acted in an immature, sometimes aggressive and often regressive manner. For example the video of me ridiculing the individual who had every right to ask me questions relating to the commercial activities of SBFOH.
Whilst I understand how my aggression and prevarication was construed as me being evasive I was simply acting in pure emotion and I now understand that I acted inappropriately and emotionally and often aggressively when I should have responded in a more measured manner given commercially I have nothing to hide.
The amend here is that I have openly admitted to my shortcomings and misdeeds, have offered to make restitutive amends and I will shortly host an on line Q&A to close this situation in a transparent and dignified manner. I will also apologies to anyone in person that I have abused on line and will not repeat this again. That said I will not accept abuse directed at me moving forward.
Over the coming days I will host an on-line Q&A and take any questions any of you may have relating to the above. I will have also agreed to work with a member of “TWMHC group” , Mr Paul Anwyll who has informed me that he is a forensic auditor and he is happy to examine the finances for me. I would respectfully request that Mr Anwyll contact me and we can discuss his background and then engage him once he and I are comfortable with each other.
I have nothing to hide and therefore I am not only happy to receive this offer but very grateful for it. Once this is complete, we will be able to provide a detailed commercial statement relating to the old company and the new CIC. I assure everyone that we have not misappropriated funds and often we have used our own funds to supplement the company. We do however accept we have made mistakes in our execution and administration and that we need to up our game in order to win back trust. Please be assured that I have a very well paid career at Rolls Royce which I would never gamble away by being dishonest with SBFOH. I will finish by saying that I do very well financially from my full time career with Rolls Royce meaning I do SBFOH because I want to serve those who serve in the only capacity which I can, given my own mental and emotional illnesses.
Finally I would like to thank the administrators of TWMHC for bringing this situation to a point where I had to accept the issues were real, seek help and admit to them and I would like to offer either TWMHC of Colin Eastaway the opportunity to be appointed as a non-exec of the CIC with full financial oversight of the company’s commercial affairs

The return of The Sweeney

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With thanks to my friend and former colleague, Dorothy Williamson – ex SO13 – for this amusing tale based on the current project to re-enlist former detectives into the ranks of the Met.

Former DI Jack Regan and retired DS George Carter have answered the call for retired Detectives to return to the Met to help out and have just stepped out of a black cab looking up at the glass exterior of the New New but Old, Scotland Yard.

“Wonder what they did with the tank?” George asks as he glances around the glass walls of the entrance.
“ Hope they’ve got one here, achieved more in there than any meeting” Jack replied struggling to clip on his visitors badge.
“And this geezers name Rupert.. who calls their kids that?”

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A few moments later a young man walks up and introduces himself “Good morning Jack , George.. I’m Detective Supt Rupert…”

Before he could finish his sentence, Jack – having already spotted the crisp warrant card hanging around the young man’s neck interrupted, “Morning Guv, things have changed a bit around here haven’t they” nodding in the direction of the foyer.

Rupert seemed to wince on hearing the word ‘Guv’. “Please call me Rupert, we all call each other by first names now. We find Sir and such like demeans people and make them feel less equal and unable to speak out if they are offended”.

A short while later they are standing in a small office surrounded on three sides by glass walls. “I’ll think you’ll find that whilst a lot has changed, a lot of policing hasn’t, it’ll still be locking up the bad people kind of policing that you’ll remember. The Commissioner strongly encourages that as long as its ethical and we can explain each arrest to a Civil Claims Court, and Community Forums. I’m on message with that mission and will fully support you in your work” Rupert said as he reached down to pull out a small box.
“Here, one iPad and one mobile phone each. You won’t have a desk, so you’ll work from these, your team will show you how it works, but in essence when it pings you have an action to fulfil. Oh and Jack you’ll be responsible for the 2 hourly spread sheet return on tasking results”.

Jack ignored the devices and was more interested in what looked like moth balls on a plate on his desk. “What are they Guv?” he asked.

Rupert winced “those are Falafels” He continued to look down at a drawer in his desk.

Jack glanced at George and mouthed slowly “Fl a feeeell?” George shrugged his shoulders.

“Oh here we are, your oyster cards”.
“What’s an oyster card?” George asked.
“It allows free travel on the buses and trains”.
“Why do we need that when we’ve got a motor?.. in fact talking of which, where’s our driver?”
“Ha ha, nice one Jack, yes I heard about that era. No, we don’t have sole organisational transport now. We share with our partners in the local authority and other major commercial contributors”.

Jack shook his head in disbelief. “Then how do we get about on the hurry up to take a firm out?”
“What’s a firm?” Rupert asked.
“A gang, you know, villains.. bad people as you call them” Jack replied.
“Well, firstly, before you take a ‘firm’ out you need to risk assess that and run that by me. If you complete the RA/1 Intention to Arrest Someone spread sheet out – you’ll find it on a folder on the desk top of the iPad, once completed you send it to me. Then I’ll submit a Share Point Transport Request on form SP/T1 to utilise a car. Once its costed and we get further authority from finances to pay for it, then we’ll facilitate that operation. Now I don’t wish to appear rude, gentlemen, but I have to be at a development of career meeting with the College of Academic Policing. Your team at Notting Hill will be expecting you. The contact details are in the introduction folder on the iPad, I’ll pop by later this afternoon to see how you’re getting on. Oh and remember if you need any advice I have an open door policy”

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Half hour later having not worked out how to turn the iPads on, Jack and George are standing outside what was once Notting Hill nick. Now a large house, with wrought iron gates and two large Bentleys parked where the back yard used to be.

George stops an elderly black lady passing. “Err excuse me love, we’re looking for Notting Hill Police Station, it used to be here.”

She gave a smile and with a thick Jamaican accent “oh yes love, it did. Then them sold it init. They moved up to Notting Hill Gate. Go up there ma’dear, you can’t miss it. Shame though as I really liked seeing the policemen come and go from this place. Made you feel safe”

Five minutes later Jack and George are on ‘the gate’ . “You’ve got to be kidding me” Jack flicks his fag into the gutter and blows out a long puff of smoke “Jesus Christ”
Ahead of them outside Tesco’s two people dressed in large foam outfits of a police man and police woman are handing out blue balloons. Inside the foyer of Tesco’s a trestle table adorned with leaflets behind which a bearded PC wearing ear rings was sat looking down at his iPad.

George walked up to the table. After some moments, he tapped on it in an effort to get the PC’s attention. The PC still not looking up put a hand up “give me a second”.

Two minutes later the PC looked up and slipped his iPad into a large pocket on the side of his trousers. “Sorry about that, I’d be timed out and have to start again if I’d stopped submitting my report.. How can I help?”

“I’m DS Carter, that over there is DI Regan, we’re looking for the nick”
“Ah, yes, we’ve been expecting you, welcome”.
“What this is it?”
“Er, yes, what were you expecting George?”
George was taken aback “Its Sergeant or Skip to you”
The PC smiled “ Oh I’m sorry if I offended you but we don’t specify ranks now.” They were interrupted by loud ping “Ah, excuse me”. The PC reached into his pocket and pulled out his iPad. “Damn, Steve wants me to reclassify it“. “Who’s Steve?” George asked. “He’s the Ch Inspector of Ethical Crime Reporting”
“And where is he based?”
“At home in Wales is what I heard” The PC replied. “Hang about here come your team”



George looked down the milk aisle , a male and female in plain clothes approached. The female looking down at her iPad and talking.. “oh yes, they’re here now, thank you Rupert, yes see you later”
“Hi George, I’m Jenny, this is Mo” George eyed them both up and down. Jenny was about 20, Mo about 25.
“Alright love, where’s the rest of the team then?” George asked.
“Ahem, my name’s Jenny, and we are you team”
Jack walked over. “ Is this some sort of wind up?” Mo smiled “We hear things were a bit different in your day Jack, but it’s not as bad as it seems” Jack glanced over at George “Jack? I’m you DI son, let’s get that straight” Mo smiled, “yes of course, but I’m Mo and we.. ” .. “oh gawd yes, no ranks blah blah” George replied.
“Right, first things first” Jack said, “you two” pointing at Mo and Jenny, “you come with us” .

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They walked around to Uxbridge Road. “Where are we going?” Jenny asked. “Last time I was here there was a decent boozer down here, is it still there?”
“I’m not sure but why are we going there?” Mo asked
“To have a drink, chat to the locals and get a feel of what’s going on.. now how many snouts have you got?”
“What are snouts?” Jenny replied.

An hour later and Jenny’s iPad pings. “oh its Rupert, he’s on his way to the station”
“Which one?” George asks downing his whisky.
“Tesco’s” Jenny replied.
“Tell me Jenny, how long has this Rupert geezer been in the job?”
“I think about 6 months- he’s on the direct entry. He did some days out with us, he investigated a shoplifter from arrest to conviction, then moved to Scotland Yard. He’s very nice.”

In next week’s episode:

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Rupert shows Jack how to complete a spread sheet.

Jack shows Rupert how to jump out the back of an OP Transit van whilst holding a truncheon.

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