We have a new Glasgow crime book out from the man they call Judas in the criminal underworld. William Lobban, decided to title this autobiography “The Glasgow Curse” Why?
At Glasgow Crime Research, we try our best to collect as much data on organized crime as possible, we try our best to dispel the myths and separate the facts from the fiction.
We read every true crime book that has a Glasgow connection and collect what information we can prove as factual then add it to our database .
When news broke that William Lobban was writing a book, we thought, “At last, the man is going to tell his side of the story”
We waited for the release date, anticipating some new information we could use, but instead we were let down, firstly by the constant change of the release date, then by the inaccurate serialization of the book in the Scottish press. Then by the lack of research for the book and lastly by how William used the book to have digs at others
We wrote a profile on William 3 years ago, so we already had most of the information he released in the book, plus more.
We were able to talk to a wide range of people, who either knew William growing up, spent time in prison with him, worked with him and in some cases classed him as a good friend.
So we were able to put together a good bit of information on William from a wide range of sources.
People who knew William before he was propelled into the limelight by the deaths of Bobby Glover and Joseph Hanlon, spoke of a young man who was determined to be a well-known criminal.
We were told he would hero worship criminals older criminals, people like his uncles, Robert, William and Vincent Manson, Bobby Dempster and of course Arthur Thompson Snr, though he never actually met Thompson, he heard stories from his uncles and seen the respect they had for the old Arthur..
William had a hard upbringing, that’s a fact, but so did thousands of other youngsters growing up in Glasgow in that era, poverty was rife; people did get involved in crime as a way of life. It was all about survival.
If your parents could not afford to clothe or fed you then you went out and clothed and fed yourself.
Weans from the schemes roamed the streets of more affluent areas, mostly in packs, hunting out victims, either to rob them, their cars, their houses or their workplaces. It was just the way it was
But, there were thousands others who had it tough, but managed to lead a normal crime free life and still do to this day.
William Lobban claims he MASTERMINDED a break in to a pub. This seems typical of the way William thinks,. As I said above, youngsters were roaming looking for anything to steal and would resort to the most elaborate schemes to steal what they wanted.. Pubs and clubs were broken into all over Scotland, archived crime articles from the era will confirm this.
I think he presumed the word MASTERMINDED would appeal to people who don’t know any better, but to those who do, it sounds childish, exaggerated and embarrassing, why not just say, “We grafted the Balmore and explain how it was done?
Then he tells of lying about his age, telling prison authorities that he was 21 when in fact he was younger, again this is something that was done a lot, especially by people 18 and over, it was easy back then. Young offenders prison is and always has been a tougher sentence than the cons (Over 21’s). It is more relaxed in the cons, when in the YO’s it is chaos.
William went on to adult prison not expecting to come across prisoners who were capable of victimizing young vulnerable prisoners.
William speaks of Gerald Rae, claiming Gerry had his eye on him as a potential boyfriend. Gerry was winding William up, he tagged William Peaches and would blow kisses at him every time William walked past.
Gerry wasn’t openly jail gay and most people we have spoken to who served long prison sentences with Gerry say they have never seen him go near a young boy, a lot who saw what went on with William and Gerry look back and laugh at Gerry’s sense of humor, so if Gerry was jail gay he never showed it in front of the main stream prisoners. Long term prisoners from the 80’s onward would not stand by and watch a youngster being openly abused by someone on their wing; it just wasn’t allowed to happen. There are prisoners who served long term sentences who would be offended at anyone claiming they would stand by and allow that to happen.
William then went to the prison governor and told them he had lied about his age to get out of adult prison and back to young offenders, still convinced Gerry was after him as a cell mate.
When you think of it, it’s quite funny he was being teased, only to teach him a lesson not to play with the big boys.
The escape from Dungavel prison, the escape that propelled him into a situation he never expected.
William claims in his book he escaped to help out his friends the Shannon brothers, while researching we have been given other reasons for William escaping, we cannot prove them as fact. But it does provide another possibility.
We were told by two different sources that William escaped because he owed money for drugs, he was going to the hospital to have tattoos removed and was told his debt would be cleared if he would pick up a drugs parcel from the toilet in the hospital, William agreed, but decided to keep the parcel and go on the run.
If you look at the circumstances surrounding the escape ,it does look like the escape was spur of the moment, William had been visited by the Shannons, yet he never mentioned to his only friends about going to the hospital or escaping. He could have easily had a getaway car waiting and a safe house sorted out, he had family who were active criminals, this wouldn’t have been a problem for them or his friends, but instead William just turned up at the Shannons house ,escaping with just six months left of his sentence to serve.
It's apparent the escape wasn’t planned, William made the decision to escape on the spur of the moment,.
William now an escaped prisoner, though low level, he was still wanted by the authorities, no one was more surprised than them that William had decided to escape, he was a model prisoner, gaining his cat D and being sent to open prison to prepare for release.
When he got involved in the dispute between the Shannon’s and another local family, William was handed a gun, this made him feel invincible, he would carry this gun everywhere we are told, taped to his thigh, he tried planning a retribution attack on the enemies of his friends, but William wanted others to pull the trigger, he wanted to dish out the plan but not take part in the actual shooting, in his book he blames all this on Ponny Shannon, saying he backed out. This is not the real story. The true version of what happened is in the Underworld captain by Captain Alex Shannon. Even more factual is the Capo’s story, the unedited manuscript before it was handed to David Leslie to adapt into The Underworld Captain. Alex Shannon has no need to exaggerate or lie, the man is a captain in the British Army, a well-respected man in both the Army and the criminal underworld.
William claims he got bored with the Shannons, they didn’t think like him, they didn’t have leading qualities’ no ambition.
So he went looking for a man he had met once or twice in prison, a man who had stepped in when William had some trouble with a few men from Possil Park, Paul Ferris stepped in and asked William if everything was OK. The interference by Ferris made the men from Possil Park think twice before launching an attack on William.
Paul Ferris said to William, “if when you get out you are looking for work look me up”
William while with the Shannon’s had heard that Paul Ferris was making a name for himself; he was branching out on his own. William decided to look up Paul Ferris, he did so and found Ferris at the Cottage bar in Shettleston.
Lobban approached Ferris asking for work and telling him he was on the run from prison. They went to Hamilton to a nightclub, Ferris pulled an old ploy and gave William a LSD tablet, and claimed to have taken one himself, they went and met Bobby Glover, Joe Hanlon and their girlfriends, we are told things were done to make William paranoid as the acid tab kicked in, like Bobby and Joe would disappear then reappear, the paranoia was starting to take effect, William realised this and knew he had a .22 Beretta taped to his thigh, the paranoia kicked in and William decided to confess about the handgun, the gun had been showing that much a bulge that Ferris and Glover got onto the fact that William was carrying a gun almost instantly, hence why he was given an LSD tab.
William took Ferris to the toilet and showed him the gun, Ferris looked at the gun, checked it, the gun was loaded and no safety was on.
This would have made Ferris think Lobban was inexperienced, no one would put a loaded handgun down their trousers without the safety locked in position, one wrong dance move and you would lose a chunk of your thigh.
William claims that in May 1991 Paul Ferris embraced him as a brother. Think about this, Paul Ferris was in the middle of a war; he was having trouble with the Thompsons and had publicly slammed Thomas McGraw as a police informant.
He was under surveillance by Strathclyde police, who wanted to lock him up and an escaped prisoner turns up. Not the type of person an escaped prisoner would want to be around?
William was well known to Glasgow police, he had after all MASTERMINDED a break into a pub and had been a friend of another escaped prisoner Michael Healy.
Micheal Healy had escaped from HMP Shotts on the back of a butcher's van in 1987, he had been on his toes for 4 years, Micheal Healy had used William to play minor parts in robberies committed by Michael, so Micheal trusted him.
William went looking for his old friend, he didn’t know where Micheals safe house was so he approached Michaels mother, and Mrs Healy knew William Lobban but wouldn’t give Michael’s safe house out without first asking Michael.
William returned to Michaels mother and got the safe house address, Michael was holed up in a flat in Rutherglen over in the south of Glasgow.
William went to see Michael, while in conversation Paul Ferris’s name came up, a few weeks’ earlier Paul Ferris had met Ian Blink McDonald in the same nightclub in Hamilton that William had taken Ferris to.
Ian was on the run for the robbery he had committed along Michael Healy and others in Torquay, Ian was asked if he was on the run from that robbery. Ian passed on Ferris inquiry to Michael Healy, that along with a fake letter that had been circulated by the Thompsons from a supposed proculator fiscal in Glasgow a Mr A Varnett added to the escapee’s Healy and McDonald’s paranoia.
While in Healy’s Flat Paul Ferris name was mentioned, Michael passed on to William what had been said and mentioned the letter and said to William," you want to watch what you are doing".
William left the flat and went straight to see Paul Ferris. Ferris, Ferris asked how big Mick was. Lobban told Ferris the his good friend Healy had been badmouthing him. I will add, Micheal Healy and Ian McDonald always assumed that paul Ferris had sent William to Micheals flat to enquire about what ws being said about him, this is not the case, William betrayed Micheal off his own back, he done this as a warped way of showing loyalty to Paul Ferris. Thinking his betrayal of Micheal would be welcomed, when in reality it showed Ferris, Glover and Hanlon what William ws capable off. Joe Hanlon instantly disagread with what William had done and wasnt slow in letting everyone know of his digust at William for this betrayal off Micheal.
Another observation is, everything William has written or spoke about on the subject of Hanlon and Glover, William has never spoke of his sadness that Joseph Hanlon was killed, he has spoke of how he was sad Bobby had to die, but never a mention of Joseph. Does this indicate William knew of Joseph's distrust and disgust at what he had done to Micheal?
Ferris demanded to know where Healy was living. Ferris went to get a gun with a silencer and William took Ferris to Healy’s safe house in Rutherglen, William went up first, Michael let him in, William asked if he could use the toilet and when he went down the hall he unlatched the lock on the front door and let Ferris sneak into the flat.
Michael was shocked and surprised when Ferris came charging into the living room and shot a hole in Michaels Hi Fi, Michael was ordered to put his hands on his head, while Ferris interrogated him as to what had been said about him.
All through the interrogation Michael was looking at William with contempt and disgust, he had known William a lot Longer than Paul Ferris and was struggling to understand why William would inform on his whereabouts to Ferris, plus put him in a dangerous position.
All through the interrogation, William knew he was in trouble .. He kept saying to Ferris, “You will have to put one in his nut; we can’t leave this flat and leave him alive. He will come looking for us; Ferris wasn’t there to hurt Michael, all he wanted was to know the source of the person who had started the rumors.
Michael had a suitcase; in that suitcase was two shotguns, Ferris took the two shotguns because he knew if they left the flat and Michael was armed he would have chased them both down the street.
William states that he knew Michael needed the guns for the robbery in Torquay, but Michael and Ian McDonald were on the run for that robbery at the time this happened in Michaels flat
Michael and Lobban were co accused on an armed robbery in 1986 Michael got ten years and William got six, Michael had escaped in 1987 in the back of a butcher's van and William escaped in March 1991. William had spent time with Shannon’s till late May.
Michael, Ian McDonald, James Healy, Robert Harper and Thomas Carrington had committed the robbery in the Nat West in Torquay in May 1991.
Michael had been on the run for 4 years and no one had been able to breach his security until his trusted friend William Lobban set him up, for a man he had only spent a few weeks with, a man he claims had embraced him as a brother after only knowing him for weeks.
This is where the tag Judas came from, Micheal Healy christened William Judas after he was betrayed by him.
In the Glasgow Curse William claims he was in Bobby Glovers house the night Arthur Thompson was killed, think about this. Here is a man who has just arrived on the scene a few months earlier.
He was on the run from prison, Ferris, Glover and Hanlon had only known him for 10 weeks max, yet they will plan a murder in front of him, without asking him to take part?
They were smart men, if Williams claims have to be believed, then we must assume that, If Ferris, Glover and Hanlon murdered Thompson, Jr, then they allowed a man who they had just watched betray a good friend of his and demand he be killed, be witness to them planning a murder?
That doesn’t make sense; William burned his bridge as soon as he displayed his eagerness to betray Michael Healy. Ferris claims from that day he lost all trust in William, why would they allow him to witness something that he could use to betray them..
After Thompson, Jr was murdered William went to London, But then returned, he ended up in a flat in the Calton, he claimed in the serialisation of his book in the Daily Record that he met Thomas McGraw, he said McGraw claimed he had visited Ferris in prison and Ferris wanted William to take out Thompson Snr, he claims McGraw gave him a gun and a wad of cash?
But when the book was released the gun had disappeared from the book, why was this? Was it because it placed William with a gun before the murders of Glover and Hanlon?
He claimed McGraw had visited Ferris in prison, but it is well known that McGraw never visited Ferris in prison, they weren’t on speaking terms and prison records will reveal that no visit took place.
McGraw has never done prison visits, it wasn’t in his nature, he never handed over wads of money easily either, not without getting something for it and if he had given William money and received nothing in return, he would have put William straight back in prison.
After the deaths of Bobby Glover and Joe Hanlon, William was the most wanted man in the UK. The police wanted to question him about both murders.
William insists that Paul Ferris put him in the frame for the Thompson murder, this is a wild exaggeration, Paul Ferris used a Special defense of incrimination, he incriminated William, Michael Healy and Johna MacKenzie. Incrimination has been used in Glasgow for years and criminals know it is used as a way of letting the judge and jury know there was another police suspect in the case.
There has been thousand of cases were incrimination has been used, Williams uncles both used incrimination in trials, you only have to Google, “Special Defense of Incrimination” and you will see how many times this is used. William is trying to justify his actions by claiming that Ferris tried getting him in trouble, this might wash with people who don’t know the law, but William knows fine well that was not the case.
What else I have found is the discrepancies in the past articles William has given to the press, namely the News of the World in 1998 and 2005 concerning his arrest in London.
This has also changed in the book from a man dressed in John Lennon glasses, a poncho and a pork pie hat or sombrero, to a man dressed as a cyclist. In these articles he grabs a woman hostage and drags her down a lane, in his book he runs hides behind the woman. Which do we believe?
Once William is arrested, he claims he was questioned for 10 minutes on the murders of Bobby and Joe, but the police sent a report to the Proculator Fiscal naming William as a suspect in both the murders of Bobby and Joe, along with another man John Morrison. So to compile a report he must have been questioned longer or Strathclyde Police were not professional enough nor were they interested in solving both murders?
William was the last person to see both men alive, he admits making that call.
Yet he speaks of nothing that was said between them that night.
He speaks in past articles of Bobby not wanting to speak and Joe being in a hurry, they were going to see McGraw he claimed, this also does not fit, if William knew Joe Hanlon was angry at McGraw because he was a police informant, why did William take McGraw to his safe house in the Calton, surely the thought McGraw might give up his whereabouts must have crossed the master criminals mind?
Walter Norval in the New Faces of the British underworld DVD, claims Williams, uncle William was a good friend of his. Norval claims that William Manson told him he murdered both Bobby and Joe and that William was there, he claims after both men were murdered a bullet flew passed his head, Manson turned and William said SORRY, the gun went off by mistake, but Norval claims Manson was positive his nephew was going to kill him and Manson told Norval he was going to kill his nephew when he was released from prison.
Walter Norval on Billy Manson
Another thing in the book that isn’t accurate is the rot in Full Sutton. William claims he joined in the riot because another prisoner was being brutalised by prison staff.
This was true, But William had no part in starting the riot, but he did use it to his advantage and throw and ironing board through the staff room window and front of a member of staff, but his motive for doing so in front of the staff member was because he owed a large debt for heroin, he was using his whole canteen money on heroin , to the extent where he kept empty cerial boxes stored in his cell so other prisoners would think he was OK for canteen money and to hide the fact that all his money was going on drugs.
He took this chance to get a transfer and once again betrayed Michael Healy and got transferred owning a large drug debt that Michael had to settle, as it was Michael that vouched for him, after William agreed to stand as a defence witness in Michael’s trial and put all the blame on Paul Ferris for committing the Torquay robbery, William appeared as witness at, carrying a bible and swearing an oath he was telling the truth, he told the court he was a born again Christian. He demanded that the court withhold his name and refer to him as only Mr A. WHY?
Witness Mr A
It looks to us that William has been betraying people who classed him as friends all his life, he seems to be a con man.
The title the Glasgow curse gives the impression, William believes he was cursed by being born in Glasgow.
I can’t accept that, Glasgow is a great city with great people. William has spent more time living out of Glasgow than he did in it.
He isn’t now Glaswegian, so in my opinion he shouldn’t try knock a city he doesn’t know.
On his website he asks for family and loved ones of murder victims to come together and expose the Glasgow Curse.
This is another thing that sticks inthe throats of honest Glaswegian’s, here is a man who for years has hidden in the shadows, paranoia ripping from his eyes, a man who has never once thought of picking up a phone or sending a letter to the family and loved ones of Bobby Glover and Joe Hanlon.
He could have helped both families with an explanation of what happened that night, but chose not to do so.
I think he should have called the book the JUDAS CURSE instead of the Glasgow Curse, as Glasgow isn’t as cursed as William Lobban seems to be.
One source who knew William well said, “William knows the amount of people he has betrayed all through his life, he thinks of no one but himself, if he is so innocent, why hide away for 22 years “
"Now Williamcan con people who don’t know any better, he will never be looked upon as nothing more than a Judas to us in Glasgow."