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Thread: He Kills Coppers

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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    He Kills Coppers

    Harry Roberts gets out on parole after 48 years inside and still there are calls for him to stay locked up - a fully paid up member of the nasty brigade who few would have mourned if he'd hung, but 48 years is long enough - he'll be so institutionalised I should think life will be very difficult for him and I really don't think the Police Federation's hardline attitude is in the least helpful,

    The quality of mercy is not strain'd, as some Brummie once wrote, think on those who want to see him die behind bars

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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Ha, testament to his staying power that the Chav fans who came to The Abbey in the early-mid 80s (it didn't seem weird that Cambridge United were in the same division as Chelsea then; now: wow) still trotted out Mr Roberts's theme tune to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down" nearly twenty years after he'd been nicked.

    Not sure what to feel, really. As a fan of the rope (puts in in with some unsavoury fellow-travellers, but there it is) I'd quite happily have seen him swing, but he's a very old man now. Whatever tariff he had must be long since spent.
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    cpr
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    The Police Federation and Teresa May's line on this sits uneasy on me. Yes he shot 2 coppers (not the 3rd as the paper headlines suggest), however the authorities stance is that a police officers life is sacrosanct and should mean a whole life sentence. The 'Coppers put their lives on the line and should be honoured as such' line they are trotting out is uncomfortable - cops choose their job knowing the danger, and get paid nicely for it (plus the pensions, early retirement etc). To say their life is more important than any other persons is not correct. What about the security guard killed in a robbery, or the have a go hero stopping a mugging? Do these people not rate as high in May's eyes?

    Plus theres the issue that our penal system is one for rehabilitation..... This man didn't leave the house that day thinking 'I'm going to roast me some piggies', it was a bungled robbery in the days when guns were freely around - something we've thankfully changed. 48 years for someone who's apparently been the model prisoner is long enough, especially when someone doing the same now (to a non-officer) would probably be out in half that.
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    Cricket Web Staff Member fredfertang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpr View Post
    The Police Federation and Teresa May's line on this sits uneasy on me. Yes he shot 2 coppers (not the 3rd as the paper headlines suggest), however the authorities stance is that a police officers life is sacrosanct and should mean a whole life sentence. The 'Coppers put their lives on the line and should be honoured as such' line they are trotting out is uncomfortable - cops choose their job knowing the danger, and get paid nicely for it (plus the pensions, early retirement etc). To say their life is more important than any other persons is not correct. What about the security guard killed in a robbery, or the have a go hero stopping a mugging? Do these people not rate as high in May's eyes?

    Plus theres the issue that our penal system is one for rehabilitation..... This man didn't leave the house that day thinking 'I'm going to roast me some piggies', it was a bungled robbery in the days when guns were freely around - something we've thankfully changed. 48 years for someone who's apparently been the model prisoner is long enough, especially when someone doing the same now (to a non-officer) would probably be out in half that.
    Well said that man

    What I found particularly disturbing was my experience yesterday morning, on one of my increasingly rare trips to our local magistrates court, of hearing three young police officers discussing what a disgraceful decision it was to release Roberts - particularly worrying was that at one point one of them said that Nigel Farage would never have allowed it, and the others nodded sagely

    The reality was that it may well be that their parents had not been born when Roberts was first incarcerated let alone them, but what was most galling was this assumption that police officers are better people than mere members of the public - I mean how the **** does that one work? I can accept that murders of police officers are particularly serious because they do undermine the basis upon which our society functions, but that a man should ever be denied parole because the police don't like it smacks of a police state mentality

    Society has decided, very sensibly in my view, that murderers shouldn't swing, so the question of release on parole does come up - if Harry Roberts had had a bad day at the office, a few beers, and picked up his Dad's wartime revolver and gone out and killed three men to settle a few scores he'd have been out 20 years ago - the truth is that politicians don't want him out because he has the ability now to make something of his notoriety and, despite the difficulties he will have in adjusting to life on the outside, he has the capability of generating a decent living and maintaining his celebrity - its that that the powers that be don't like, and that's why Reg Kray never got out

    I did think about ignoring the three of them, pontificating in the waiting area and clearly irritating some of the local lowlife who were also there on business, but I couldn't resist saying something - I did know one of them from a case I worked on, so I sat down next to him and asked him what he thought about Christopher Craig* having been released from prison whilst still a comparatively young man, and they hadn't got a clue who I was talking about - talk about a pack mentality - they were just trotting out the party line with absolutely no idea what they were really on about

    *Craig shot and killed a police officer in the early 1950s in the course of a commercial burglary - he was accompanied by Derek Bentley, a lad who these days would be described as well up on the autistic spectrum, who was already under arrest by the time the shooting happened and hadn't known Craig had a gun - Bentley was hung, one of the worst miscarriages of justice there has been. Craig, a nasty little bastard, was 16, so couldn't hang - he was released in the 70s and, to be fair to him, just got on with his life and kept his head down - as far as I'm aware he's still alive
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    cpr
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    I was thinking more on this, the nearest modern comparison we've got is Dale Cregan. The difference being Cregan deliberately set out to murder officers.

    It did make me think about capital punishment, and I suppose I do find myself falling in favour of it in the most extreme cases, such as Cregan, where we know theres no doubt of guilt, and he intentionally set out to murder the officers purely for the job they do. Likewise the Lee Rigby case, i dare say a fair few people don't see the point in rehabilitation there either.

    Which made me think if we did still have the noose in 66, and I was around..... I'd probably have fallen in favour of Roberts getting it. After all he did intentionally pull a gun and shoot the officers to save his own skin on that day, whether it was his original intention or not. The fact he killed 2 suggests it wasn't a reaction shot, as he had time to move his aim before taking another shot.

    However, we don't have capital punishment, and thus we decided in 1966 to incarcerate, and thus after 48 years of good behaviour I dare say it's time to return him to society, and let him try and reconnect with his family - there will be people (nephews, nieces etc) he's never met, so let him have those final years, its not like he's going to be going out running jobs again at his age...

    He will probably live off his notoriety no matter what, the East End looked after its own, and those traits still exist today. I'm sure he'll get a photo with Barbara Windsor at some point. There'll be former mates who've survived and thrived on the outside who'll see him right no doubt, and he'll blend into the backdrop of old pro's giving stories in pubs...

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    Hall of Fame Member Goughy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpr View Post
    The Police Federation and Teresa May's line on this sits uneasy on me. Yes he shot 2 coppers (not the 3rd as the paper headlines suggest), however the authorities stance is that a police officers life is sacrosanct and should mean a whole life sentence. The 'Coppers put their lives on the line and should be honoured as such' line they are trotting out is uncomfortable - cops choose their job knowing the danger, and get paid nicely for it (plus the pensions, early retirement etc). To say their life is more important than any other persons is not correct. What about the security guard killed in a robbery, or the have a go hero stopping a mugging? Do these people not rate as high in May's eyes?

    Plus theres the issue that our penal system is one for rehabilitation..... This man didn't leave the house that day thinking 'I'm going to roast me some piggies', it was a bungled robbery in the days when guns were freely around - something we've thankfully changed. 48 years for someone who's apparently been the model prisoner is long enough, especially when someone doing the same now (to a non-officer) would probably be out in half that.
    Quote Originally Posted by cpr View Post
    I was thinking more on this, the nearest modern comparison we've got is Dale Cregan. The difference being Cregan deliberately set out to murder officers.

    It did make me think about capital punishment, and I suppose I do find myself falling in favour of it in the most extreme cases, such as Cregan, where we know theres no doubt of guilt, and he intentionally set out to murder the officers purely for the job they do. Likewise the Lee Rigby case, i dare say a fair few people don't see the point in rehabilitation there either.

    Which made me think if we did still have the noose in 66, and I was around..... I'd probably have fallen in favour of Roberts getting it. After all he did intentionally pull a gun and shoot the officers to save his own skin on that day, whether it was his original intention or not. The fact he killed 2 suggests it wasn't a reaction shot, as he had time to move his aim before taking another shot.

    However, we don't have capital punishment, and thus we decided in 1966 to incarcerate, and thus after 48 years of good behaviour I dare say it's time to return him to society, and let him try and reconnect with his family - there will be people (nephews, nieces etc) he's never met, so let him have those final years, its not like he's going to be going out running jobs again at his age...

    He will probably live off his notoriety no matter what, the East End looked after its own, and those traits still exist today. I'm sure he'll get a photo with Barbara Windsor at some point. There'll be former mates who've survived and thrived on the outside who'll see him right no doubt, and he'll blend into the backdrop of old pro's giving stories in pubs...
    Where does this model prisoner and good behaviour come from? He has had multiple escape attempts (some say over 20), reports of threatening behaviour while inside and has shown no remorse.

    From a 1993 interview

    “They keep asking me ‘Do you feel remorse, Harry?’ And I say no. We didn’t want to murder anyone. That was the last thing we wanted. We shot them because we thought they were going to nick us and we didn’t want to go to jail for 15 years. We were professional criminals. We don’t react the same way as ordinary people. The police aren’t like real people to us. They’re strangers, they’re the enemy. And you don’t feel remorse for killing a stranger. I do feel sorry for what we did to their families. I do. But it’s like people I killed in Malaya when I was in the army. You don’t feel remorse.”

    This wasnt a bloke who had led a good life apart from one mistake that ruined his life and that of many others. When asked why they were carrying guns he replied “Because we were gangsters.”

    I am not saying that he shouldnt be released but a POS habitual criminal like him is getting far too much credit in this thread.

    The Guardian, among other places, raises the key point in this and similar cases. "If Harry Roberts had committed his offence a year earlier – before the 1965 law which abolished the death penalty for the murder of policemen – he would certainly have hanged. Instead, he was locked up and thus became one of the first examples of a new problem. If hanging is wrong, how much jail is right?"
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  7. #7
    cpr
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    I was going purely on what current media outlets have been suggesting, which I should know better than to trust the media not to put their own slant on things. I'll freely admit I haven't done any research into the case at all, so happy to stand corrected on points.



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