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Authors: Roy Archibald Hall

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I kept the clerk occupied with a series of requests for various pieces of furniture to be held in store and not auctioned. While I did this, my mother moved about the house, quietly taking back personal mementoes that she had bought years before. Both of us took small items that had belonged to my father, nothing of value, just things to remind us that he had once lived, and been part of our lives.

For the rest of the day, I put death out of my mind. I spent time with John and my mother, before taking myself off to have other needs satisfied with a woman friend of mine. We ate, drank and then fucked. It was good to be held, good to feel like a human being. I caught the overnight train south. John, my mother and Donald all came to see me off. I waved goodbye to them and to my freedom. I sat on the train with a carrier bag beside me. Inside were miniature bottles of scotch, shortbread and
cigarettes. I had an arrangement with a trustee who would meet me on the gate. With this little bag, I could trade. On that journey south I raged inside. The closer the train got to Nottingham, the greater my inner conflict. I knew that Inders was a decent man. I knew that I had given him my word. But, what was that? With a thief, my word was my bond. But, Inders? Decent as he was, he was still a prison official. Prison governors, prison warders, police, they were all my enemies and always had been. Their job was to catch me and imprison me. Mine was to stop that happening. We stood on opposite sides of the fence. What did it matter if I broke my word to my enemy? Where was the dishonour in that? I knew that I had enough contacts and was good enough at my job to ‘go to ground’. I wasn’t some petty criminal the police could find in five minutes. I could live my life, just as I had before. With fresh identity, fresh documents, how could they find me? I thought, and thought, and thought, the grind of the wheels on the track and the rhythmic sway of the carriage merging with my see sawing emotions. Would I go back, or would I run? Would I go back, or would I run? Would I go back …?

Eventually I slept. I was woken with a jolt when the train pulled in at Crewe and some people boarded. These were free people. For them this journey was just one more ride. For me it was a journey back to grey stone walls, bars and locked doors. With each mile my turmoil increased. There was no respite. The train pulled into Nottingham at 6.40am. To me, it seemed a beautiful morning and I savoured each breath.

I had an hour and ten minutes before I was due at the
gate. If I wasn’t there, the police would have an arrest warrant out on me within the hour. I strolled to the Station Hotel and ordered myself a nice breakfast. After explaining to the waiter where I was going, I got him to bring me two double brandies. With the alcohol still burning in my throat, I stood up, picked up the carrier bag and began my walk to the prison. I had decided. I would go back. I learned one thing that day. I would never again give my word to my enemy.

I pressed the bell, long and hard. The door opened and I stepped back into my caged world.

In 1963 the Home Secretary decreed that Preventative Detention Prisoners, who had not received more than a six-year remission, would now be granted full remission. When this news stopped being rumour and became fact, I opened a bottle of wine, gave Whisky some fresh fish and, at the first opportunity, phoned Harrods and gave them my measurements for a new suit. I wrote to John and my mother and told them I was getting out.

I
was released on the beautifully sunny spring day of 19 March 1963. John and my mother were both there to meet me. I was holding Whisky in a cardboard box, this was her first taste of freedom, as she had never before been outside the prison walls. For both of us it was a fresh start. It was a happy day. Freedom! We drove to Stafford.

That evening, John and my mother threw a huge party for me, mostly old friends and criminals. Stafford is not exactly central and a lot of people made long journeys. There was no doubt that, as far as criminals were concerned, I had a lot of respect. I was most definitely first division.

It was now twelve years since John and my mother had first met at Kilbride Castle. They fitted together like hand and glove. It was with pride that I gave away my mother to my best friend when they were married on the 26 March 1963. The only thing that would ever separate them was
death. For me, that was one of the best days ever. John, my best friend and partner, was now officially my stepfather. We got drunk like never before.

The only thing to sour the occasion was a friend of mine – we had done time together in Winchester. He was known as the ‘Thin Man’. He was a good thief, but he never should have stolen my mother’s wedding present money. He dipped her purse for a few hundred quid on the morning of the ceremony. At the reception, I confronted him. He denied it, as obviously he would. I searched him in the garden. He was too clever to have anything on him. I told him to fuck off – how dare he steal from my mother? I never had proof, but I knew it was him. I never saw him again. You don’t take from your own!

During my seven years in prison, life on the outside had changed – the music and fashions in particular. Now it was all The Beatles and Carnaby Street. They said the country was booming. I wondered what I would do next. What I wanted to do was to steal the jewels off the neck and fingers of the world’s most glamorous movie star. My fingers touched Elizabeth Taylor’s diamond rings when we shook hands. An opportunity missed, it keeps me awake at nights.

It was a chance meeting with Terence Rattigan that led me straight into the private Dorchester suite of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. Rattigan was now middle-aged. Apart from his status he held no interest for me. The feeling wasn’t reciprocated. He gazed into my eyes, pushed himself up against me whenever possible. He was a pain in the arse – which was just what he wanted from me, but I wasn’t ‘pitching’.

I let him talk. When he told me he was among a select few guests invited to have drinks with Hollywood’s golden couple, I actually took some interest. Burton and Taylor were like showbiz royalty, the world’s most charismatic and glamorous stars. Where they went, the world’s press followed. My mood with Rattigan softened and I told him I would be delighted to accompany him.

They had the Oliver Messel Suite. Taylor was extravagantly beautiful and Burton looked like a screen icon. In between rubbing himself up against me, Rattigan introduced me to everyone. Sammy Davis Jnr was there, Mia Farrow, her mother Maureen O’Sullivan, and various writers, producers, and anyone else who could wangle an invitation to come and pay homage.

It was an honour to be in their company. Even so, while everyone fawned around Cleopatra, I tried all the bedroom doors. They were locked. Bastards! The people in this room were worth a fortune. As I couldn’t rob them, I relaxed and enjoyed the company. I liked Richard particularly. Taylor was dripping in gold, but I couldn’t get anywhere near it. Rattigan’s continual rubbing up against me was getting on my nerves. Let him go and pay one of the pouting youths who hung around the lobby. I made my excuses and left.

I had always enjoyed being ‘in service’. Besides living in beautiful homes that I could rob, there was also the air of class. My appreciation for antiques, beautiful jewellery and culture are separate from my criminality. Working for the rich meant that I could indulge both aspects of myself. I scoured the pages of
Tatler
, and found an appointment as companion to a rich elderly American and his wife. I
travelled to Cooden Beach, Bexhill, Sussex and moved into a luxurious seafront bungalow. The other ‘help’ was a maid and cook. After prison, this place seemed like paradise. My duties were light and I spent many an hour just soaking up the sun. My employer was a gentle old soul with failing health. I decided not to rob him. As if in reward for my good deed, I formed a friendship with the cook and started fucking her. Life was very pleasant. Phylis Nye’s cooking was delicious. After a while, pleasant becomes boring. I decided to move on, but this time with a partner. I thought a butler/cook combination might make job-seeking easier. I placed some well-worded advertisements in top people’s magazines and
The Times
. The offers came rolling in. The old gent asked me to stay, offering me an increase in salary. I told him I would until he found a replacement. I remained another two weeks. At night, the old man’s wife would ask me to take the jewels off her fingers. She liked me to put them in a glass of gin which she believed cleaned them.

I can’t think of another time in my life when someone gave me their jewels … and I gave them back. Once I left that house I never returned. These were two people I could not steal from.

Phylis and I moved into High Trees near Chalfont-St-Peters, Buckinghamshire. Our employer was a Mr Nigel Law, retired First Secretary of the Diplomatic Service.

Law lived in a mansion with his aristocratic Russian wife. Their life was opulent and incredibly gracious. Friends would fly in from Italy and America for lunch. After a meal and some relaxing drinks, they would fly back.
The Laws never dined alone; there were always guests. They were friends of the famous and I would hear all the latest gossip on Somerset Maugham’s gay love triangle. The conversation was sparkling with wit, the house ablaze with shimmering silver and gold. It was like a palace. If I could have been born to their lifestyle, I would never have become a thief. As it was, I spent many happy hours examining Mrs Law’s jewellery.

The Laws had a silver room, that is, a room where silver was stored. I had occasion to be looking in this room one day, when I found four boxes of soup spoons, they were so large that two spoonfuls would have emptied a bowl. I checked the inventory, they were not mentioned. I stored them away. A day or two later, I took a trip into the City. I packed all four boxes into a briefcase, and took the briefcase to the Silver Vaults. I told the man who dealt with me that I had inherited them. He weighed them and then paid me. I left £3,000 richer. A good working day.

Phylis worked away diligently. She was popular with other staff and employers and at night I pleased her. She knew nothing of my true nature.

Mrs Law kept her jewellery in the safe in their bedroom. It took me a while to figure out the maze that led to the object of my desires but, eventually, I did.

Mr Law wore a pocket watch, and on this watch chain were two keys. One of these keys opened a drawer in his dressing table, inside of which was another bunch of keys. One of these opened a tin box, the type that sailors had in olden days. Inside the tin box were two other keys. These opened the safe.

On one of my days off, I visited a friend of mine in Praed Street, Paddington, and I had the safe keys copied. Now that I had the keys, it was time to move on. I could not rob them while I was still working there. The first set of ‘prints’ that the police took would reveal me for who I was. I started answering adverts again.

My first interview was with a George Offat the Third. Offat was as ludicrously rich as the Laws. He had homes in Los Angeles and Virginia. The Virginia home was a mansion and ancestral seat. I was told that, if I took the position, I would have my own manservant, car and complete responsibility for a large household staff. I would have my own house on the estate and was assured that ‘tips’ would be so generous as to enable me not to touch my quite large salary. Apparently, the next door neighbour was a Mrs Dodge, widow of the motor magnate. This was the
crème de la crème
of American society, and I was to be the resident English butler. Offat flew to Greece, and from there sent an affidavit to the US government. He stated that I would not be a ‘charge’ to that country, that he would fly me back to the UK every year for a holiday, and would cover all medical bills.

Now I needed my green card. I picked up the relevant forms from the US embassy. At this stage, I said little to Phylis. As soon as I read through the forms I knew that, for me, there was no legal way of leaving the country. There was no way I could fit the criteria without having a completely fresh identity.

This was impossible – Offat already knew me as Roy Fontaine. If I completed these forms, there was a chance
that I would be uncovered. Then I would lose what I already had. I couldn’t risk it. The odds were too steep. I was glad I hadn’t told Phylis. Even so, my feet were itchy and I wanted to move.

Sir George and Lady Aylwen liked Phylis and me. At my interview, as she read my forged references, I remember her saying that a reference wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. She relied on her judgement. That was good! The next day she phoned High Trees, to check up on her prospective new butler. I answered the phone and, disguising my voice, gave a glowing testimonial to Roy Fontaine. Phylis and I were greeted with flowers and wine.

We now lived in Green Street, off Mayfair. Sir George was a former Lord Mayor of London and his Greek wife was many years younger than him. She controlled the household. In fact, she controlled everything, including her husband. Sir George went to bed early and alone.

The mistress was attracted to young foreign aristocrats. Wealth and titles don’t always go hand in hand and I noted that some of her young lovers were actually rather ‘down at heel’. I think this gave her the power and dominance in the relationships. Power and dominance, as I was soon to find out, were strong emotional drives in my new employer. There was something about her, an edge, a cruel edge. I would hear her in conversation with young men whom I knew shared her bed. She would pass remarks that were quite cutting. What made Lady Aylwen different from someone who just picked on another, was that she delighted in it. I felt it excited her to be cruel.

I had been there only a short while when she started to
play her games with me. One night I was summoned, time after time. I climbed the long staircase that led to her bedroom. The mistress was sitting up in bed, a low-cut negligée covering her breasts. She had dark blonde hair and resembled the late Marlene Dietrich. ‘Bring me my cigarettes,’ she demanded. I complied. After saying goodnight, I returned to my quarters downstairs. Only seconds passed before her bell rang again. ‘I can’t see my lighter. Find it for me.’ Her gold cigarette lighter was inches away from her, in plain view. Again, I wished her goodnight and descended the staircase. Her bell was already ringing when I walked back into my room.

Once more I climbed the staircase. This time her instruction was beyond belief. The unlit cigarette was in her hand: ‘Light me.’ As a conscientious employee, I had never before been treated so contemptuously. Standing over her, I lit her cigarette. There was anger in my voice when I asked her whether she would require anything else of me before I retired for the evening. She remained silent for a few seconds, her eyes fixed on my crotch. I did feel excited. Having a beautiful sexy woman order you about and talk to you like you’re a piece of shit can be an aphrodisiac. It wasn’t an aphrodisiac I had been aware of until that precise second. Years before, I had thrashed a gay man with twigs until my arm ached. That had done nothing for me, but this was different. Without breaking her silence, she unzipped me. My cock was already semi-hard. She knew she had me. She told me to join her and I undressed and slid in beside her. The first touch of her manicured hand was soft. When we kissed, she squeezed
my balls so hard I screamed. But I was still hard. I was learning something new about my sexuality. I expected her to go on top, but instead it was me who took the traditionally dominant position. When we started to have sex, I found out why. With each thrust, she slapped me. The blows were indiscriminate, landing on my thighs, my arse, my back. In between the slaps were scratches. Not the fingernails of a woman gripped by passion, these were scratches that lasted for seconds. She would dig her nails in with all her strength, and trawl them across my skin. While I was still inside her, her hands again found my testicles. She literally had me by the balls. All the time watching my face, she squeezed as I attempted to give her pleasure. I will never forget that cocktail of pain and pleasure. I was unable to separate what I was enjoying and what was just pure pain. I wondered whether she would want to piss on me or have me lick her arse. She didn’t, but, if ordered, I would most probably have gone on my knees in compliance. Having all your power stripped from you, being controlled and humiliated while you orgasm, does strange things to you. It sheds light on dark corners of your psyche. The light that Lady Aylwen shone on me that night, I would have preferred to have left in shadow. I am not a man prone to introspection. Although she continued to taunt and excite me, I never again took up her offer. In the cold light of day, I like to be master of my own destiny. Until this day of writing, it has remained a repressed memory. It was two weeks before I could undress in front of Phylis.

I found the Aylwens a disappointment in many ways.
Although rich, their home was rather poorly furnished. The food they served was not of the best quality, nor was the wine. They either struggled to maintain their status or were just plain tight. They did, however, throw lavish parties. As guests arrived, the fur coats would be laid on a bed in one of the upstairs rooms. I would carry them up myself. Sometimes there would be jewels in the lapels, brooches. If I saw anything I fancied, I would take the brooch and place it underneath the bed. If someone called, the brooch could be found. If I didn’t hear anything within forty-eight hours, I would sell it. It made trudging up and down the stairs worthwhile.

BOOK: The Wicked Mr Hall
13.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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