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Gonzo Latest News: Jon meets Maurice O'Mahoney Jr

Date Published: 25th January 1998


In last week's issue I interviewed noted author Dan Wooding about his biography of noted bank robber Maurice O'Mahoney who later turned Queen's Evidence and became the eponymous King Squealer of the book's title. This week - in an exclusive for Gonzo Weekly I interview his son about his memories of his father.

Because of the nature of his story, and because even his nearest and dearest are not aware of his true identity, I shall refer to him only as MAURICE Jr.

 

JON: Thanks very much for speaking to us.  I enjoyed the book massively.  You said the other day that there is all sorts of other stuff that your dad didn’t tell Dan back when he wrote the book thirty years ago.  Is there a lot missed out?

MAURICE Jr: There probably is, yeah.  A lot to do with corruption with police officers and stuff like that. And obviously after his supergrass days no-one ever really knew what happened to him since then.

JON: Do you know what happened to him after?

MAURICE Jr: After the supergrass days?  Obviously he knew Rick Wakeman through Dan and stuff and he met someone called Tony Visconti who had a studios in Dean Street called Good Earth Studios and dad used to hang about there quite a lot.  He used to do some quiet security and stuff like that for the likes of David Bowie, Thin Lizzy and various other artists. But he would do some personal security for them every now and again, you know.

JON: And then, like Dan told us last week, one day he ‘phoned up – your dad -  ‘phoned up Dan and said do you want to meet David Bowie?  And that’s how it happened.

MAURICE Jr: Probably yeah, that’s probably what would have happened. My dad must have been closer to Tony Visconti because he actually gave him David Bowie’s gold disc that he was presented for his album 'Low'.  It was hanging on our wall for years. He inscribed it on the back.  He said, ‘Dear Dave (because that’s what his name was at the time) could you find somewhere to hang this?  My poor old wall is sagging.’ I don’t actually know what became of that.  He must have given it away to somebody or given it away to charity or something because it went missing, you know, so I don’t know what happened to it.

JON: Is the picture that is painted of your dad in the book…does it ring true of what you remember of him?  Because you were very young weren’t you?

MAURICE Jr: Yeah, obviously when all that was going on. Probably so.  I mean he probably made light of his involvement in things a little bit more. You know?  He was probably more involved. He tried to make himself sound like he didn’t do so much but he probably did.

JON: I think that’s just human nature isn’t it?

MAURICE Jr: Yeah.  Obviously he used the police as much as they used him, you know. He had told me that on instruction for them he had given perjured evidence for certain robbers that they wanted to obviously put away. I know there was a couple there involved that weren’t actually doing what he said they’d done.  Obviously they were bad guys anyway, but the police just wanted to get some of these people away, and they used dad to do that.

JON: This is all 30-plus years ago wasn’t it?

MAURICE Jr: Yeah.

JON: When did your dad die?

MAURICE Jr: He died in 2003.  He died at home.

JON: Oh golly.  I didn’t realise it was so recently.  I’d got it into my head it was 20 years ago or something.

MAURICE Jr: No, he only died – well it was ten years ago the other day, last month or something like that.

JON: What did he do in retirement?

MAURICE Jr: He did all sorts of various things really.  He was more of an Arthur Daley type of character.  He would wheel and deal and stuff like that. But what I will say is that he didn’t really fully retire from what he used to do years ago. He had some involvement with ex-police officers and stuff like that who would sort of set things up for him to go and do. And they would obviously get their share. That all kind of ties in with when he was hanging around in a wine bar in the south of London. There was a certain robbery that took place.  I won’t mention it, but it was a very high profile robbery and several people ended up going to jail for laundering the proceeds of it. I know he helped out a little bit with that.

JON: He stayed out of jail though.

MAURICE Jr: He stayed out of jail until I think 1991 or 1992. When he had these dealings with the ex-officers he’d agreed to take part in something to set somebody up, then he obviously went and took part in this robbery and he was nearly shot dead. They got caught, but he went to trial and he was acquitted. And he actually sued the police and the commissioner later on and he settled out of court.

JON: Even though he was in on the robbery …. Golly

MAURICE Jr: He was saying that they were trying to kill him.

JON: Do you think they were?  Or do you think this was just paranoia after a long life in crime?

MAURICE Jr: Well I don’t think so, because I was with him one day in 1999 where someone tried to shoot the pair of us in a car in Whitley Bay, and we actually disarmed the people in the car park.  Dad tried to shoot them but the gun wouldn’t go off, but then they made off and went away.  Dad handed the shotgun back into the Metropolitan Police and he said, ‘Look I just want to return this to where it came from because I recognised one of the guys.’

JON: Was there any comeback from that?

MAURICE Jr: No.  I mean the police, they didn’t even want to take the gun away.  Dad was laughing. He was like, ‘It’s a firearm.’  They didn’t want anything to do with it.

JON: So he was being harassed basically up until he died.

MAURICE Jr: Well, yeah.  He thought so because something else took place.  It must have been a mile away from our house…and he sort of ended up getting the blame for that.  It wasn’t him at all.  But you know how people talk and mud sticks. The police, where we lived at the time, they just wouldn’t leave him alone. He had to go on the run for over a year or something like that. Then eventually he did get caught, which I explain in the book, where we were both arrested, but then he just went on an ID parade and said, ‘Right it wasn’t me anyway so put me on ID parade.’  And then he was released later on that night.

JON: Have you been hassled for being his son?

MAURICE Jr: I’ve had a little bit.  I mean, because of certain family members no-one ever really knew that certain family members where we lived at the time let slip who he was and stuff like that. Then little things would sort of come along and people would say things.  You know how people talk.  They tell 10 people and then they tell another 10 people, which leads on to the BBC documentary.  When they did that, no-one even told us anything about it and so when it came on there was certain people knew who it was and so people were talking and saying things about the family and stuff like that.  But the BBC should have told us, you know.  Obviously they didn’t know that he’d died, because he would have gone berserk had he found out they had put that programme on.

JON:  So is there still comeback now?

MAURICE Jr: No, not really now.  We keep a low profile and don’t really mention it, you know. My children don‘t know anything about it. They don’t even know they have a different name really.  Something I haven’t really decided yet whether I will ever tell them.

JON: Are you pleased with the content of the book?

MAURICE Jr: Yes, that was basically his words to Dan.  Obviously I added my little bit in at the end, but yeah basically really pleased with it.

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Gonzo Weekly Issue # 51

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