Rot­ting be­hind bars would have been bet­ter

Warwickshire Telegraph - - YOUR VIEWS -

DE­SPITE stand­ing in sub-zero tem­per­a­tures on Bos­ton’s no­to­ri­ous south side, lis­ten­ing to Kevin Weeks talk about his past sent the real shivers through my bones.

Three years ago I met the for­mer mob en­forcer to dis­cuss his life as no­to­ri­ous US gang­ster’s James ‘Whitey’ Bul­ger’s key lieu­tenant.

To this day I re­mem­ber Kevin re­call­ing how his boss rev­elled in ex­treme un­bri­dled vi­o­lence and that it was his own form of ther­apy.

“Once Jimmy had killed, he’d be calm for months af­ter. It was he said what kept him sane,” he told me.

Kevin spoke as Bul­ger was serv­ing out two life sen­tences for the 11 mur­ders he was con­victed of five years ago.

But last week, the no­to­ri­ous mob­ster died the way he lived – the ap­par­ent vic­tim of a grue­some prison mur­der.

By the code of the streets, he got what he de­served. Rel­a­tives of the dozens of men and even some women who died at the hand of Bul­ger would agree.

It was for them a fit­ting end to an ex­traor­di­nar­ily vi­o­lent life.

For decades, the fam­i­lies of Bul­ger’s vic­tims waited for the jus­tice that had long eluded them.

That pain and suf­fer­ing for some was now sat­is­fied by his death, send­ing away their tor­men­tor for life.

But although his im­pris­on­ment was for his vic­tims in the US, he also helped kill in the UK too.

It was no se­cret that Ir­ishthen Amer­i­can Bul­ger was an IRA sym­pa­thiser, but his ac­tions went much fur­ther than sim­ply agree­ing with ‘the cause’.

For years he was in­volved in the ship­ment of arms, am­mu­ni­tion and ex­plo­sives that were used to kill and maim hun­dreds of peo­ple dur­ing the con­flict.

One, in Septem­ber 1984, saw a seven-tonne arse­nal com­pris­ing 163 as­sault ri­fles, 71,000 rounds of am­mu­ni­tion, a ton of mil­i­tary ex­plo­sives, and a dozen bul­let­proof vests.

Weeks later the IRA car­ried out its most fa­mous bomb at­tack on the Grand Ho­tel in Brighton, as they at­tempted to as­sas­si­nate then Prime Min­is­ter Mar­garet Thatcher.

Although miss­ing their in­tended tar­get, five peo­ple, in­clud­ing MP Sir An­thony Berry, were killed.

It wasn’t only weapons Bul­ger sent to Ire­land but also mil­lions of pounds in sup­port through stolen mas­ter­pieces snatched in Bos­ton shipped to Ire­land.

Their value is said to have boosted IRA cof­fers by as much as £385m.

Bul­ger never faced jus­tice for help­ing the ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion.

In­stead, like some 30 other killings, he boasted to friends about car­ry­ing out but was never con­victed of, he lit­er­ally got away with mur­der.

Fol­low­ing his death, it is all too easy to dis­miss why it was he was al­lowed to be killed in­side.

To many, it is an un­nec­es­sary ques­tion as Bul­ger was such an evil man.

But much like the deaths in prison of Harold Ship­man and Fred West, the prison sys­tems fail­ings are the real be­trayal of jus­tice.

These days you can­not say hello to some­one on the street with­out surveil­lance cam­eras record­ing your ev­ery move, but some­how the 89-year-old so­ciopath was killed with­out it be­ing de­tected.

The screams alone of him be­ing blud­geoned with a lock in a sock and mu­ti­lated would surely have alerted guards.

In­stead, his bloody body lay undis­cov­ered for hours.

Un­doubt­edly the world is a bet­ter place for Bul­ger, West and

Ship­man’s pass­ing, but a life in­car­cer­ated be­hind bars, stripped of all free­doms while await­ing their death, is the ul­ti­mate in ret­ri­bu­tion so­ci­ety can give.

NO one could ever ac­cuse Bill Gates’s ca­reer of go­ing down the pan – un­til now.The bil­lion­aire, this week, un­veiled a fu­tur­is­tic toi­let that doesn’t need water or sew­ers and uses chem­i­cals to turn hu­man waste into fer­tiliser.The Mi­crosoft co-founder re­vealed the in­ven­tion for the safe dis­posal of hu­man waste as he kicked off a “Rein­vented Toi­let” Expo in China.Gates went on to say such bac­te­ria cause dis­eases that kill nearly 500,000 chil­dren un­der the age of five ev­ery year.Ac­cord­ing to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foun­da­tion, the prob­lem costs £152bil­lion a year in health­care costs and lost in­come world­wide.The busi­ness­man said more than half of the world’s pop­u­la­tion suf­fers with­out clean, com­fort­able san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­i­ties.Gates’s de­sire to help peo­ple knows no bounds.He has vowed to give his £74bil­lion for­tune away to ul­ti­mately help mil­lions of oth­ers.Surely, he is the great­est Amer­i­can liv­ing to­day.Bill Gates speak­ing at the Rein­vented Toi­let con­ven­tion

US gang­ster James ‘Whitey’ Bul­ger who was killed in jail English killers who did not live to serve their full sen­tence: Harold Ship­man, above, and Fred West

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