Crime Time Inc

Preserving Crime History, One Podcast at a Time

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  • 14. The Magnificent Violet: Britain's Forgotten Anti-Death Penalty Crusader

    In this episode, Tom shares the remarkable story of Violet van der Elst, an almost forgotten yet incredibly influential British campaigner against capital punishment. Stumbling upon her name while researching the Ruxton murders, Tom discovered Violet's enduring fight against the death penalty, motivated by her strong belief in the sanctity of life as guided by her religious convictions. Born into poverty, Violet's journey from a maid to a successful entrepreneur who invented the first brushless shaving soap, Shavex, is nothing short of inspiring. Despite her wealth, Violet directed her resources and energy into her anti-death penalty crusade, challenging authorities and organising impactful protests. Tom draws parallels between Violet's effective methods and modern-day protests, highlighting how her respectful direct actions contrasted with disruptive tactics seen today. He suggests that her determination and strategic approach offer lessons for contemporary movements. Violet lived to see the abolition of the death penalty in the UK but was largely unrecognised for her efforts, an oversight Tom seeks to rectify by bringing her story back into the light.

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  • 13. Gentle Johnny Ramensky

    In this episode, Tom and the host discuss the captivating story of Gentle Johnny Ramensky, a legendary safe breaker and prison escaper from post-war Scotland. Renowned for his non-violent nature and acrobatic skills, Ramensky became a Robin Hood-like figure whose exploits were widely covered in the tabloids. Born as Johannes Ramanskus to Lithuanian immigrants in Lanarkshire, Johnny learned his proficiency with explosives from working in the mines as a child. Despite opportunities to lead a lawful life, including serving with distinction during World War II, his addiction to celebrity and thrill of escaping prison defined his life. The conversation delves into his numerous daring escapes from Peterhead Prison and his complex relationship with law enforcement, highlighting the grudging respect and unique rapport he cultivated with senior detectives. Johnny's story underscores not just the nature of crime but also the enduring themes of celebrity culture and immigrant struggles, remaining relevant to this day.
  • 12. George Barnsley 2

    This episode covers a wide range of topics related to policing history and contemporary events. It begins with a discussion on the Elizabeth Emblem, a new award available to families of emergency service personnel who died in the line of duty. Various families have applied, and there are sentiments about the need for further individual recognitions. The conversation then shifts to historical police tales, including notable incidents and characters from Lanarkshire, such as violent altercations involving police and criminal activities in the 1960s. The speakers also delve into the impact of organized crime and gambling before drugs became the cash cow for criminal enterprises. The discussion transitions into WWII, highlighting how bombing campaigns affected local areas and policing efforts, including a humorous yet tragic bombing of a hen house. The podcast shares insights into the resilience and challenges faced by officers, both in urban and rural settings, and acknowledges the importance of the Women's Auxiliary Police Corps during wartime. Finally, it reflects on contemporary police recruitment and the importance of historical societies in preserving and educating about police history.
  • 11. How I Beat the Mafia at their own Game

    In this episode of Crime Time Inc., our host, Simon McLean, interviews Mike Bonventre, an extraordinary guest from New York. Mike details his life story, beginning with his family's encounter with organised crime in 1957. His father, an honest exterminator, was approached by the Mafia but refused to collaborate, earning respect within the criminal community. However, years later, after selling his business, Mike’s father lost everything due to fraudulent dealings by the Mafia. Determined to fight back, Mike collaborated with law enforcement to bring down the mob, leveraging his business acumen to recover stolen assets. His undercover work led him to infiltrate Mafia operations and gather key information, aiding in massive embezzlement busts. Despite the inherent dangers, including multiple assassination attempts, Mike successfully protected his family and ensured justice. Post-undercover life, Mike became a consultant, helping businesses protect themselves from fraud and working tirelessly to combat the drug trade in neighbourhoods. This gripping episode reveals Mike's dual life as both a crime fighter and a criminal, offering a unique perspective on justice and law enforcement.
  • 10. Tunnel Vision

    In this episode, Simon and Tom engage in a detailed discussion about the evolution of crime investigation, particularly focusing on the mistakes made by senior investigating officers (SIOs) in the past. They explore the concept of 'tunnel vision' and how biases and assumptions can lead to missed opportunities and unsolved cases. The hosts reflect on historical cases, emphasising the importance of a systematic approach to training and information sharing among law enforcement officers. They highlight how modern advancements like computerised systems and forensic science have dramatically improved investigative practices. Examples such as the World's End murders and the Elaine Doyle case illustrate how previous investigative shortcomings were often due to the limitations of the time rather than incompetence. The conversation also touches on the impact of media representations on public perception and police procedures. The episode concludes with insights on how a culture of learning from past errors and continuous improvement is vital for the success of modern law enforcement.
  • 9. CSI Strathclyde

    In this episode of Crime Time Inc., the hosts, Simon and Tom, welcome a special guest, Martin Lupton, a seasoned crime scene investigator. Martin shares his journey from his initial aspirations in aviation to his career switch to the police force, detailing his 31-year tenure starting in 1982. The discussion delves into significant cases he worked on, including the chilling murder of Amanda Duffy in 1992 and the harrowing case of young Mark Cummings in 2004. Martin recounts his meticulous work in forensic photography and scene examination, highlighting the critical role of initial photographs and detailed scene analysis in solving crimes. The episode provides a detailed look at the complexities and emotional challenges faced by forensic officers, underscoring the importance of thorough and methodical police work in bringing justice to victims.
  • 8. The Westport Murders part 2

    In this gripping episode of Crime Time Inc., hosts Tom Wood and Simon dive deep into the haunting tale of Burke and Hare, the infamous 19th-century body-snatchers of Edinburgh. The conversation begins with some light-hearted banter before transitioning into the chilling details of Burke and Hare's gruesome activities, providing listeners with a vivid picture of Edinburgh's socio-economic backdrop during that era.Tom sheds light on the savage deeds of Burke and Hare, explaining how the desperate poverty and stark societal divide created an environment ripe for their vile trade. The duo's method of luring vulnerable individuals and selling their bodies for anatomical study to the revered Dr. Robert Knox is meticulously discussed, underscoring the grim reality of unregulated medical practices of the time.As the story unfolds, Tom narrates the meticulous investigative work of Sergeant Major Fisher, whose prompt actions led to the apprehension of the notorious criminals. Simon and Tom explore the legal intricacies surrounding the case, including the controversial decision to grant immunity to William Hare in exchange for his testimony against Burke.The episode also delves into the aftermath of the trial, detailing the public's violent reaction and the eventual legislative changes that followed, such as the Anatomy Act of 1840