January 31, 2010

It’s murder every day in the Old Bailey

Gang violence, terrorism, honour killings… it’s all in a day’s work at the Old Bailey. We’re given unprecedented access to the hallowed halls of the criminal courts.

There is a place in my heart for the Old Bailey. One afternoon, 18 years ago, I went along to the Central Criminal Court and took a seat at random. I thought I was going to research a satirical drama about the judiciary, and I suppose I was hoping to hear a judge comment on the fragrance of a Tory wife or ask who the Beatles were. Instead, I found a well-off teenager in the dock alongside a wild, older Glaswegian. Together, as I discovered that afternoon, they had got drunk, taken drugs, tormented and finally killed a vulnerable local man in his own flat. The middle-class youngster described how he had pressed his palms against the wall for leverage as he had jumped up and down on his victim’s prostrate body. He recalled how he had listened to the sound of the ribs cracking…

read online at The Times website
download article (pdf)


Latest News

  • The Sleep Of Reason – The James Bulger Case by David James Smith:
    Faber Finds edition with new preface, available September 15th, 2011.

  • Young Mandela the movie – in development.

    From The Guardian
    Read the article

    In the Diary column of The Independent, April 13th, 2011

    More on my previously unsubstantiated claim that the writer-director Peter Kosminsky, creator of The Promise, is working on a drama about Nelson Mandela. I’ve now learnt that the project is a feature film, in development with Film 4, about the young Mandela. Kosminsky is currently at work on the script and, given the complaints about the anti-Jewish bias of The Promise, it is unlikely to be a standard bland portrait of the former South African president.

Latest Review

    New York Times – J. M. Ledgard
  • Nelson Mandela was circumcised as a 16-year-old boy alongside a flowing river in the Eastern Cape. The ceremony was similar to those of other Bantu peoples. An elder moved through the line making ring-like cuts, and foreskins fell away. The boys could not so much as blink; it was a rite of passage that took you beyond pain. read full review

See David James Smith…

Jon Venables: What Went Wrong
BBC 1, 10.35
Thursday, April 21st, 2011