It was a bright sunny morning. The cups and plates my mum was throwing at my dad smashed against the kitchen wall as she screamed her head off and pushed over the kitchen furniture. There was smashed glass everywhere. To me, standing there as a young child only a few years old, it felt like it was the end of the world. My dad soon left the house and mum had calmed back down again, but moments later, I went to the front door and saw my mum standing on top of a step ladder, with her arms aloft to the blue sky. As she looked up, she was saying, “God is coming, God is coming,” and even at that very young age, I still felt great shame about if people saw my mum this way, making a show of herself etc.
I was crying at the bottom of the ladder, and I was saying, “Mum, come down,” but she took no notice of me. The front of the house was surrounded by big hedges, and nobody could see my mum up the ladder, only me. I could not take anymore and I pushed the bottom of the ladder – my mum fell headfirst. Her head smashed against the stone floor, her eyes were closed and her body was having convulsions; all I could do was scream my head off. Before I knew it, there was a big crowd of people standing at the front gate looking at me and my mum. Then an ambulance came and took Mum away with a blanket over her. I thought my mum was now dead, as the impact of her head hitting the floor was very hard. I next saw two policemen had come. One came and bent down to me with his notebook, and asked what happened. I was terrified. If I told the truth, my dad would kill me, so to survive I had to lie. I told the policeman my mum had fallen off the ladder. He gave me a long and searching look as if he knew there was more to this story then what meets the eye. Everyone was in shock and I was terrified. If my dad found out about this, he would kill me.
My dad took me to the hospital to see my mum, where she had been in a coma for three days. We stood there looking at her as she lay on the bed with her eyes closed. When suddenly, she opened her eyes and looked at me and smiled. I was so scared, but to my amazement, she had no memory of the step ladder, then it was shut out of my mind, never to be thought of ever again. My dad would never know and I would be safe.
As time went by, there were two sides to my mum, she could be nice and loving, but also kind of evil. She often said to me that when my dad would get home from work, she would to tell him to hit me. I was a few years old, and I was terrified – my dad hit my behind really hard and I was trapped with these two people I was dependent on. I later learned that my mum had a chronic mental illness called schizophrenia.
I remember when I started going to school. One day, I was in the classroom sitting at my desk as the teacher talked to my classmates when suddenly the door flew open, and in charged my mum. Roaring her head off, she dragged me across the floor and out of the room. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. This kind of thing went on for a while. I would start going to a new school and after a few days as I was getting used to it, my mum would drag me off to another school; I even started the same school twice. I left and a while later, she took me back again. These were my parents and even at such a young age, I felt I could not trust them.
As the years passed, my dad got a job working on a milk round, and I was now about age nine. My dad took me to work with him, and I soon learned to do half my dad’s job for him – I even drove the milk float. One day, the police caught me driving but they did nothing; I was lucky. I was getting on great with my dad until one day when he parked the milk float to have a break, he suddenly started verbally attacking me saying I had taken money out the cash box. I would never do anything dishonest, and I knew nothing about it, but my dad was judge and jury and he condemned me as guilty. I sat in silence as I was very shocked.
When I was sleeping in my bedroom, my dad would come to me every night and he would talk to me. He was doing hypnosis on me. I was awake, but I pretended to be asleep; he really scared me. He would tell me I was going to be famous, and he would say I am not like other people – he said I had powers. This went on every night for a long time, and I got the bottle to tell my mum about it. I explained how I did not like it, she laughed and told him to stop it. I thought, Great but to my horror, he just carried on doing it to me every night. It was then that I began to really hate him.
Dad got a chess set and he stole a book from the library to learn how to play chess. Before long we were having good games together, but I refused to allow him to win. Every night he would come home from work wanting to play against me again, but I did not allow him to beat me even once. I used my concentration to beat him every time. As a young kid, it really upset him that he could never beat me. I used all my hatred for him as revenge for what he had done to me. After a while, he stopped wanting to play against me anymore, but the silence of the hatred did not go away.
It was now 1977, I was age thirteen, and I had fallen in love with Liverpool Football Club. We were doing great, all the trophies we were winning every year, and all the history. It was my very first time going to Anfield on my own; it was a night match in the European cup. We were playing against a French team called Saint Etienne, and to cut a long story short, we won 3–2 over the two legs. There were over 54,000 there to watch the game that night, and it was an amazing atmosphere. After that night, I used to go all the time on my own to watch all the games. I used to get there when they opened the gates 90 minutes before kick-off, and I would go right smack in the middle of the kop. I was too small to see, so I used to climb up on the crash barriers. And every time Liverpool ran with the ball towards the kop, the crowd would move forward and I would be suspended in thin air, but if we scored a goal, I would go flying off the bar as the crowd went crazy.
If we won three or four – nil, I would think, Oh no, we’re going to score again. After a while of going to the games all the time on my own, I would be surrounded by about 50,000 people, but would still feel very lonely.
When I was growing up in high school, I was the eldest of two other brothers and a sister. My mum’s illness seemed to have gotten a lot worse, as she seemed to be ill and all she did was smoke cigarettes. My dad was always angry and nasty with me. I was scared of him and I hated him. I was now age fourteen, and we lived on a big housing estate called the Ford Estate. I joined up with the local gang and we would meet up every night after school and smoke pot together. To find money to pay for it, I would steal some of my mum’s many tablets, as she had lots of bottles and would not miss them, and then in school, with 1500 other kids, I would sell my mum’s pills for money to smoke my pot with my friends when I got home. I once sold a load of magic mushrooms that I had found in a big massive cow field.
As time passed, other members of the gang were growing up, and the idea of getting stoned every night seemed to wear off, as others were now using LSD and other stuff like speed. I knew I was in deep water, but at the same time, I could see no other way with my life. I knew about the dangers of drugs, but soon everybody seemed to be stealing for money to buy drugs.
The Ford Estate had a big forest along one side of it called Bidston Hill, and I loved it. One day, I was with the gang and we were all bored with no money and nothing to do when suddenly I had an idea. I told the gang I knew a posh house we could go and burgle, and they all agreed that they wanted to do it, as we had nothing better to do. So I took them to a big luxury house in Bidston Hill and knocked at the wooden door. We soon discovered there was no one home. So next, we kicked the front door in and ran inside the big house, upstairs and down. As we ransacked the place, we all grabbed something we could use to sell. It was all over so fast. We all made our getaway as we ran down the back garden and over a fence onto a main road and into the woods. Back on the estate, we soon made money by selling the stuff we had stolen. We were in a taxi smoking a big joint as we drove around feeling like kings, and to think it was me that had the thought to do the job.
I remember another time, it was a Sunday evening, and in the middle of the Ford Estate was a shopping centre with a big supermarket, which had an off-license at the back of it. At the centre of the shops, there was a big gang of us. Nobody talked, but I knew something was going on. A few of us got around a concrete lamppost and we started pushing it from side to side. It soon came loose, and before long, it fell crashing to the floor and the lamp exploded. Next, we all picked up the lamppost and used it as a battering ram to smash in the metal supermarket doors to get into the off-license, where everyone jumped in and grabbed whatever they could carry – boxes of alcohol and cigarettes, which were too easy to sell. The burglar alarms were ringing for hours, but no police or anyone else came, and hundreds of people all came running out their houses to join the party.
Someone told me about a video recorder, but I did not have a clue about what they were. I was told they cost about £500 and that our school had a new one that they kept locked in a small classroom, with big large windows. One night, three of us travelled by bus to the school with a small suitcase and a hammer. We put the hammer inside a coat to use to silence it and we smashed our way in through a big window. The video recorder fitted into the case perfectly, and we escaped through the school woods and onto a bus back home to the estate. The next day we sold it and used the money to go to watch hawk wind at the Liverpool concert hall. It was easy money and we got really stoned again.
The Ford Estate was infested with drug dealers. Me and a friend called Chin, ’cause he had a big chin, used to babysit every night for a dealer. He would pay us with a chunk of pot, which was great as we did not have to worry about robbing for money. Another easy way to make some money: we would travel to another shopping centre a few miles away and would wait to watch people leave their nice new looking bicycles outside of shops. We would then jump on the bikes and peddle away like hell, back to the estate. Then we would sell the bikes and get stoned again; it was all we lived for.
One day, we were at the shopping centre and we decided to rob a clothes shop. There were five of us, and we all put hoods over our heads as we walked into the shop. We all grabbed a load of pairs of jeans, as much as we each could carry, and ran to the woods in the middle of the estate. We soon sold all the jeans for £5 each, which meant also we could get smashed again and another good day’s work done.
Another day, there were five of us, and we tried to break into a house up in Bidston hill, but the police came. We fled through the park and through the woods when a police car came towards us at a great speed with the headlights on. I knew this was it. I had now been caught. Three of us were taken to up to the police station, two others had escaped. After hours of questions, the other two that got caught with me both admitted they were trying to burgle the house and I was released, as I told them I was up in the woods bird watching. I explained to them that it was a hobby of mine. In court, I was discharged for lack of evidence, and the two others were both fined a few hundred pounds. As I came out the courtroom doors, a load of plain-clothes police caught me, and they said, “We’re going to get you, ya bastard.”
I was now age sixteen; I had left school and I refused to take any exams. Because of my home life, I had long given up on school; school to me was just somewhere I was forced to go. My dad had now stopped hitting me, but the look in his eyes were always full of hate.
One day, a friend called John told me he was going to get a job working on the Isle of Man ferries, and right away a light went on in my mind. I had been told by my mum when I was younger, that I had an Uncle Rom that was one of the top bosses on the Isle of Man ships. When John told me this, I remembered my uncle Rom, who I had never met. I rushed home and asked my dad if he would ask my uncle Rom if I could have a job working on the ships. A few weeks later, I was sent a message from Uncle Rom telling me to join a ship called the Ben My Chree at the Liverpool liver building, and I felt like I had won the lottery or something. I was the envy of all the people that knew me on the estate. Suddenly, I was saved from drugs and crime. On the ship, everyone treated me as if I was royalty or something, because of my uncle. Suddenly, I was getting an amazing big wage for a sixteen-year-old. I felt my dad was jealous of me as I earned more than him, yet, my mum was very proud of me. I once got my mum and dad to meet me when the ship docked at Liverpool. I gave my mum and dad £100 each, as other people did this kind of thing for their parents, and I had no idea what to do with my money anyway.