Let­ter

The Guardian - Journal - - Obituaries -

Ge­off Tes­son men­tions that when Roy Bai­ley (obit­u­ary, 22 Novem­ber) was about five his mother mar­ried John Bai­ley, “a Manch­ester book­maker”. Roy’s step­fa­ther was in fact “Manch­ester Ted”, a well­known East End vil­lain who had started out as a street book­maker in the north-west of Eng­land but who went straight af­ter the birth of Roy’s half-brother Ron. He kept it up for more than 30 years, but late in life did a mi­nor bit of thiev­ing.

As a young bar­ris­ter I was sent to Read­ing to de­fend him. To my as­ton­ish­ment the de­tec­tive who had nicked him said Ted was the most re­mark­able of­fender he had ever en­coun­tered, and he was cer­tain this was an iso­lated lapse. It was left to me to tell the bench about Roy’s aca­demic star­dom. They gave his dad an ab­so­lute dis­charge.

Stephen Sed­ley

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