Scum-loving criminal — The life and crimes of Dennis Stafford

Convicted murderer Dennis Stafford is hard at work on the paperback edition of his autobiography. If you buy only one book this year, make sure it isn’t this one

Angus Sibbet

Does everybody deserve a second chance? Probably. Even after committing the ultimate crime? The parole board thought so in the case of Stafford & Luvaglio. One of these men hasn’t proved them wrong. Dennis Stafford and Michael Luvaglio murdered Angus Sibbet on January 4, 1967 at South Hetton in the North of England. It was a cold-blooded, premeditated execution; they forced his car off the road in their own and shot him dead. Unusually, the police were well on the ball, and seized their car from the garage after it was involved in a shunting “accident” outside the Birdcage club, a clear attempt to cover the damage and fake an alibi. They were brought to trial in double quick time. Two years earlier and they may well have hanged, but after being given the now mandatory life sentence, they were paroled within a surprisingly short time, twelve years.

Although he has continued to protest his innocence – as he is allowed – Michael Luvaglio has not put a foot wrong since. Luvaglio was reported last year to be close to death; he was certainly very ill, though as with Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi he might have three months or three years left, and it would be unkind to speculate. His co-defendant and fellow murderer is a different kettle of fish though. Stafford is one of those lowlifes who prefers and believes he is entitled to bask in the limelight, instead of finding a rock to crawl under. Recently, he was trying to bask in the reflected glory of his fellow murderer Lord Lucan, who was back in the news briefly. Stafford says he believes he met him in Zimbabwe – what is now left of Rhodesia – back in 1982 or 1983. Maybe Lucan was working for Robert Mugabe’s dreaded secret police. Although he was not much of a gambler, he was reputed to have been a dab hand with a lead pipe, provided the woman he was beating was both small enough and caught unawares.

Five years ago, Stafford published his ghost written memoirs, Fun-Loving Criminal THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A GENTLEMAN GANGSTER.

On page 101 he writes: “I broke into all sorts of houses owned by all sorts of people. But I wish I had never chosen to break into the house of one of the top judges at the Old Bailey”. Yes, that was a dumb thing to do.

There are perhaps 8 million people in Britain who have some sort of criminal conviction, and for some of them, life isn’t easy. A man who spends two or three years or maybe considerably longer behind bars can find it difficult to get his life back on track, especially if he does not have strong family ties. It is hardly surprising that some men end up in a downward spiral: unemployment, more crime, prison, homelessness, alcohol, crime, prison, homelessness, prison...Dennis Stafford was never that type of person, rather he was the kind who could fall in a sewer and come up smelling of roses.

In Britain, convicted murderers are paroled only on life licence, and are not supposed to travel abroad without express permission. Shortly after his release, Stafford departed for South Africa. When he returned he was in possession of a false passport. His life licence was revoked, but he was released again, in March 1991. And in July 1993, he was back behind bars again; the following year he was convicted of conspiracy to forge travellers’ cheques and passports.

Rather than read Stafford’s self-serving book, check out the findings of fact by the European Court of Human Rights.

And ask yourself, dear reader, could you obtain a false passport or forged travellers’ cheques? Rather than being a gentleman gangster or a fun-loving criminal, Dennis Stafford was a professional crook, a man of obvious intelligence and ability who could have made a decent, honest living and benefited society instead of preying off others. Stafford’s proudest boast is that the murder of Angus Sibbet inspired the film Get Carter, and it is clear from his latest showing that he will bathe in the reflected glory of this callous murder until his dying day.

[The above op-ed was first published April 3, 2012.]

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