A washing machine of theories
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The Essex Boys & Mr X by H.K. Mayfield.
A logical and acceptable explanation!
The Essex boys, the real motive?
Above, and beyond most other motives - a personal, pathological hatred!
For enthusiasts, theorists, and amateur sleuths!
Can the truth be hidden in fiction?
If you are not familiar with this murder case, there is a plethora of information concerning the matter to be found on YouTube, under the title of ‘the Rettendon murders. You may like to first bring yourself up to speed with the various theories regarding the case, before considering your verdict on the following explanations.
No matter who or how many people may have been involved in the murders, from the organiser to the shooter, the most crucial issue in the following accounts is that the motive to commit the crime has been overlooked and undisclosed. That motive was solely one person’s jealousy, pathological jealousy rooted in a massively narcissistic personality. As well as being a sadistically violent psychopath, he was known to explode in rage if threatened or challenged.
The murders took place during a period of criminal upheaval, where various violent gangs and individuals had intentions of seeking vengeance. They were said to be very offended by the unacceptable practices of Tony Tucker and Pat Tate, in the form of blatantly ripping off drugs from other criminals, while pretending to be reputable buyers. They had, in addition, a growing habit of not paying their debts. They ripped off a dangerous Canning Town crew of thousands of pounds worth of travellers’ cheques. This action alone created extremely hostile feelings and was followed by some serious threats. Various parties were said to be in the planning stages of seeking retribution from Tucker and Tate. But who got to them first? And how?
Tucker and Tate had started life as well-behaved, respectful and educated children. They were from good families and were wanted and loved. It was not as if their backgrounds consisted of poverty-driven survival. One day, however, their egos and their lust for power and wealth would cost them their lives. What would put them out of control would be the insatiable need to consume a cocktail of drugs just to function.
Their friend, Craig Rolfe, however, had started life in an unusual and tragic manner. He was born in prison to a mother who had been found guilty, along with her lover, of murdering Rolfe’s father as he slept. Rolfe was also a long-time user of class A drugs. He was violent and used steroids to try to bulk up, but never to the extent that Tucker and Tate took it. They bulked themselves up massively. They did not fully realise that a violent or aggressive personality will be more likely to react uncontrollably to urges to act violently or aggressively if they are continually using steroids.
Pate Tate had ventured into a form of self-employment. He was working, but more as a back-yard trader, as a car dealer, selling second-hand cars and machinery. He would eventually have his fingers in many small pies, including a mediocre suburban brothel. At the time of his murder, he was in a relationship, and the proud and caring father of a young child, a son whom he adored, like any other loving father. He may have been loud, but he was known to be extremely loving and caring, before his decline into drug induced mental mayhem.
As for Tony Tucker, he was well-mannered and polite. He had ventured into the security industry, and achieved success by building a monopoly on security guards, particularly those used on the doors of many nightclubs. He was well-organised and reliable. He had hundreds of men on his payroll, and they were all experienced and reliable as well. He was married, had a daughter that he adored, but was known to have at least one mistress.
As an introduction, the following is a summary of the case and what we, the public, have been led to believe are the facts behind the Rettendon murders. There has been much speculation, doubt and theorising over the last twenty years or so, but there still appears to be a case of ‘something stinks in Hamlin Town’.
It has been speculated that the murders were committed by corrupt police, by a government military unit and of course, by highly pissed-off heavyweight villains. But there is one thing that stands out like the proverbial ‘dog’s balls’, about the shooter. He had to have been the most cold-blooded and callous individual. To have murdered them the way as he did, he must also have held the victims in great disdain and disliked them intensely.
On the morning of the 7th December 1995, a Range Rover was found in a stationary position, but with the automatic gear lever in Drive, and the handbrake off. It was discovered in Workhouse Lane in the small, secluded village of Rettendon, in the Basildon area of Essex. Inside the vehicle were the dead bodies of three men referred to as local ecstasy drug barons: Tony Tucker, Pat Tate and the minor player, Craig Rolfe.
The murders occurred during the period of public outcry over ecstasy causing the death of a young woman, Leah Betts while enjoying her eighteenth birthday at home with friends.
Rumour had it that the drug trio was responsible for supplying the ecstasy that led to her death. In addition, they were in extreme trouble with some very heavy-weight villains, primarily because they were not adhering to the unwritten rules. They were also so wholly drug-addled themselves that they thought that they were invincible, and could do what they liked, to anybody. They had borrowed money from various criminals to fund a large drug purchase that had gone sour, and so owed this money, with interest, to those who had financed the deal.
Leading up to this failed drug deal, Pat Tate had been involved with and doing business with Mick Steele, Jack Whomes and Darren Nicholls. They were smuggling drugs, originally marijuana, from Holland into England, using a small motorised inflatable dinghy. They would land the drugs at an isolated beach on the Essex coastline, before returning to a small port, as though they had merely been fishing.
Then they would re-gather the drugs and take them to Mick Steele’s home for storage. One of these consignments was to prove to be a bad batch and was no good for resale, so they were in debt to some very heavy criminals. The smugglers had been dragged into a mess of trouble because Pat Tate had blamed them for the messed-up import, and insisted that they had to pay back the money that was owed to the criminal heavies, thus pulling them into a nightmare.
Pat Tate, the chief architect of the intended drug transaction, declared that he would not be repaying the loan. He had graduated to being a constant, ever-increasing consumer of a mixture of drugs, including massive doses of steroids. He used them to profound effect while working out and pumping iron, to further develop his already large frame. This declaration was made during a period of irrational thinking, due to his spiralling use of a cocktail of drugs, and because he was not in a position to repay the debt for which he was responsible.
He foolishly and contemptuously decided that the debt would remain unpaid. This was a bold and dangerous statement to make, considering who he was dealing with, and it infuriated those heavy criminals who had supplied the loan. This insulting refusal to pay was said to have led to the deaths of Tate, Tucker and Rolfe, although there was a litany of reasons to eliminate the trio, who became known as the Essex boys. It was later reported that, for what was regarded as unacceptable behaviour and disregard of ‘the rules’, the heavies declared, ‘They have to go!’
The Rettendon murders, in an Essex country laneway, involved three primary drug dealers, Pat Tate, Tony Tucker and Craig Rolfe, two of them suspected murderers, Tony Tucker and Craig Rolfe. For the last twenty years or so, the two men, who were convicted of the crime, have never once admitted any guilt.
They steadfastly refuse to do so, still claiming their innocence. Sceptics could quote the story of Reggie Kray, one-half of the infamous Kray twins, waiting sixteen years before he finally admitted, in a book he wrote while in prison, to killing Jack ‘the Hat’ McVittie. The public will probably never know the whole truth concerning the killings, unless the actual shooter, or shooters, freely admits to it. No one has done so, yet!
There is significant doubt about the soundness of the guilty verdict brought down on Jack Whomes, and a belief that a massive miscarriage of justice has taken place. Is it possible that Whomes was utterly innocent of the murders? Was he even aware of the plot to kill the three-drug dealers? Could Mick Steele and Darren Nicholls have been involved without Jack’ knowledge? They were just as terrified of Tate killing them at some stage, because of the deteriorating state of his mind. And he was hell-bent on making a lot of money in as short a space of time as possible, no matter what it would take. There is no doubt that Tate was somewhat envious of Tucker’s wealth.
Could Mick Steele have approached some criminal heavyweights to seek a solution to free himself from the menacing Tate? Could Steele have suggested a solution, that he would be the one to tell Tucker, Tate and Rolfe about a drug consignment deal that he had arranged in a secluded rural location? Seeing that they were already heavily involved with him, they would not doubt this tempting offer of a very profitable drug transaction. As they were already on drug-induced highs and were operating primarily on greed and avarice, not on sense and logic, Steele could have easily persuaded them to become involved.
Did the fact that the trio had already booked a dinner with their partners for later in the evening mean that they were convinced of a successful outcome, and forthcoming riches, and were going to celebrate? Were Tucker, Tate, and Rolfe fed false information specifically designed to trap them in an isolated area to be murdered? Was this why Craig Rolfe had mentioned to his wife that he was expecting to join up with Mick Steele at some point in the early evening of the murders? But there is no mention of Jack Whomes.
Steele would have to had organised a trusted driver, someone for whom Steele would have to be personally responsible. He would have to deliver the killer to and from the ambush point, then drive the killer and Mick Steele from the scene. It would have to be Nicholls, purely because he was already involved with Mick Steele, and the trio, as well as also being terrified of Pat Tate, whose murder threats he took seriously.
Did Nicholls drive a hitman other than Whomes to the scene? Did he then take two men, one being Mick Steele, away from the scene, after the slayings? Did Steele suggest, in order to keep him out of the frame, that Jack Whomes attend to a broken-down car, owned by Nicholls? Was Jack Whomes’ telephone call to Nicholls as innocent as he says it was - simply to let him know that Jack had fixed the car and was returning home, and it would be ready for Nicholls to pick up?
It was not until Nicholls was arrested for having a commercial amount of drugs that any accusations were made. Keep in mind that Nicholls had seen six months go by since the killings, and was having a surge in his ego, and in his drug supply business. He had plenty of time to concoct a story that he was convinced that he could pull off, although it may have been extremely questionable by anyone else’s standard.
He had a plan B regarding the murders that would indicate that he had been an unsuspecting fool for being duped into involvement in a serious crime, and which would play down his knowledge of or personal participation in the killings. Supposedly he was faced with a lengthy jail sentence in the future. All that he had to do was tell the truth for the majority of his tale but insist that his role was minimal, as he had been duped, or acting under duress. By putting an innocent man in the frame without any feelings of guilt or remorse, he would be able to further his ends and to protect himself.
He was trying to preserve his life, as he would be killed if he informed on the actual killer of Tucker, Tate and Rolfe. Nicholls may have decided to replace the identity of the shooter with that of Jack Whomes, the close friend and criminal business partner of Mick Steele. It would appear to be logical, as Steele and Whomes had a very close bond, and were known to be in each other’s company most of the time. They were also on the police radar for various activities.
Although it appeared that Pat Tate was short of cash at the time of his murder, he was quite wealthy, but maybe not as wealthy as Tony Tucker. It was revealed sometime after the murders that a well-known criminal by the name of John Marshal, who was known to be involved, after the fact, in the Brinks Matt gold robbery, and who was ironically shot dead in a Range Rover himself, was holding fifty thousand pounds for Pat Tate.
Pat Tate had an undeniable connection to the holders of the Brinks Matt stolen gold. It is thought that he first became acquainted with the robbers through supplying them, and other criminals, with vehicles that he was selling as a used car dealer when he was in his late twenties. Trying to establish himself within the criminal world, Tate could acquire and supply non-traceable cars, or get rid of them. He had already dealt with Mick Steele in these activities.
In itself, the Brinks Matt gold robbery was, from the beginning, in danger of becoming unstuck. Firstly, there was the age-old suspicion held by police that there was usually an inside person working with thieves, and this proved to be true. One of the guards had told them that the security code was changed daily and was split between three guards, whom he identified. The robbers had captured these three guards, tied them up and doused them with petrol, threatening to set them alight if they did not give them the codes. Unfortunately, here is where the robbery went sour. One of the guards was so highly stressed that he could not remember the daily code that he was assigned, so the raiders could not get access to the cash held in the safes. It was then by accident that the raiders discovered a pallet of boxes filled with gold bars. They then settled for the gold, forsaking the attempt to get the cash. They had to go and bring in the van, that was supposed to be their getaway vehicle, to the loading dock, so they could load the gold. They escaped with gold worth twenty-six million pounds at the time, but they had a major problem as to what to do with it. How would they sell it, or convert it into something more beneficial to them? This is when the sharks started to circle, followed by a larger pod of orcas about to devour them - killer whales indeed.
Because the police suspected that an inside assistant was involved in the robbery, they ran a check on all the family members, friends and associates of each of the security guards working at the depot, to find that one of the guards was related to a major villain. They concentrated on breaking whom they considered the weaker link, the security guard, who soon admitted his involvement and gave up the robbers. But the stolen gold bars were out and about, being handled by harsh criminal elements. This missing gold would prove to be a curse, as there have been approximately twenty murders committed over its possession and whereabouts.
Pat Tate also knew the Blundell brothers, well-known major criminals in East London and Essex. Having a Spanish mother, the brothers often holidayed in Spain, using the pretext of visiting family and friends to try and organise deals with the holders of the gold, some of whom had fled to Spain. At this stage, Tate was well known and trusted by the Blundell brothers, who would advance him jumbo cash loans for criminal ventures, or investments. He had always been reliable, was timely in repaying the loans, with interest, and usually showed them great respect. They, in turn, especially Eddie Blundell, had taken a bit of a shine to Pat.
At one stage Tate had fled Britain to escape re-arrest. He headed to Gibraltar, where he was arrested and taken back to face charges of violence. He made a brazen escape from the court, jumping the dock and assaulting staff before fleeing, to holiday with the Blundell brothers in Spain.
Coincidentally, Charlie Wilson, one of the Great Train Robbery gang, was hiding out in Spain, living a very comfortable lifestyle in a large house, which was typical for a lot of British villains to do at the time. He was minding some of the Brinks Matt stolen gold, but could not account for three million pounds of it. Somebody knocked on his front door and when Charlie opened it, he was shot dead.
Pat Tate was already on the final slide of uncontrollable and excessive drug use. It would prove to be ironic, but the results of the autopsy performed on Tate revealed that he had been close to dying of natural causes, because of a diseased liver and a weakening heart, from his combined drug use. Tony Tucker and Craig Rolfe may still be alive today, as Pat Tate had irreversibly led them down a path of damnation.
While Tate was in prison for an uncalled-for assault and awaiting parole, he made friends with various people. Some he would train in bodybuilding, with the use of steroids. Tate had initially been friends with Mick Steele, and then he met Jack Whomes while doing time, but he did not know Darren Nicholls. He had also formed a secure connection with some real heavy-weight criminals who were also doing time. Nicholls had met Mick Steele and Jack Whomes when all three were doing time in the same prison. Nicholls had latched on to Mick Steele and would join him in his smuggling operations when released.
One person in particular that Tate connected with was a well-known criminal. He was intelligent, but appeared somewhat aloof to most people! He had what many would call a crocodile mentality when it came to his occasional stares: a ‘Shall I kill it? Should I eat it? Should I fuck it?’ sort of look. Tate had introduced him to steroids and bodybuilding. Keep in mind that steroid use ultimately leads to a surge in anger! Later, upon his release from prison, this man was to finance Tate in various criminal investments, but with a hefty interest rate attached. He knew that Tate, at that stage, had a reliable enough reputation and was known and approved by the Blundell Brothers.
Pat Tate, upon release from prison, had a definite and determined plan for making massive amounts of money through drug dealing. He joined up with Tony Tucker, who was already independently wealthy from his various legal and illegal businesses. He was heavily involved in the supply and distribution of the latest craze taking hold in the nightclubs which held a license for late-night openings. They proved to be excellent legal venues for the popular ‘rave’ parties. Pure ecstasy was sold, primarily because the doormen at various clubs allowed Tucker’s drug runners to operate inside the clubs.
Pat Tate had big plans and ideas. He was talking Tucker into the idea of not just settling for a couple of thousand pounds a week that they were making from their ecstasy sales, but how they should go with the big picture and take over the monopoly on ecstasy supply in Essex. They had well started on their massive abuse of various drugs - heroin, speed, marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, and steroids. What Pat Tate did not know is that Tony Tucker had taken from a criminal financier a bridging loan, with cash he had, to buy an expensive property. It was a significant amount, and Tucker was committed to paying it back, with interest, from his escalating drug profit. His ability to repay this loan was to become questionable at a later, and more crucial, stage.
After all, ‘raves’ at the time were opportunities for people to feel good, friendly, tolerant, etc. This was a far cry from the usual alcohol binges that generally took place. And there was a massive reduction in violent incidents. This was akin to turning the beasts into mice. This apparent calm really suited the local police, as they were seldom called to any violent outbreaks in the ‘rave’ clubs.
The young ravers loved the happy, friendly vibe associated with the ecstasy, as it was pure, not cut, or mixed with other drugs, fillers or contaminants. This information rang bells with the criminal financiers. It was what the people wanted, and there were millions to be made keeping them happy - not only the ravers but so many ordinary working-class folks, who could afford the ecstasy tabs. It was letting the lunatics take over the asylum.
Pat Tate had visions of buying a sizeable commercial shipment of ecstasy directly from a contact in Holland, at a much cheaper buy rate than they were paying their current regular suppliers. But this was going to be a bit treasonous on Tate’s part, as his regular loan sharks included the likes of the Blundell brothers and other heavy criminals. Without revealing what he wanted the money for, he had taken a loan from a loan shark to buy a batch of ecstasy, stating that it was on behalf of himself and Tucker, for a profitable venture.
Tucker, however, had not been informed of the statement or his supposed involvement in the loan. Darren Nicholls was ready to travel across the Channel, meet Mick Steele, who was Jack Whomes’ partner, and secure a large batch of ecstasy on behalf of Pat Tate, and to smuggle it back across the channel to Britain. Upon delivery, Pat Tate would pay Steele and Nicholls a pittance for their involvement.
But a purchase had failed to go through, or so it was reported by Tate. This loan was left unpaid. First excuses made to the loan shark, but the promise to make it right did not eventuate. It was causing significant concern. It was at this time that Tucker and Tate had started to act way over the top with their audacious use of intimidation, and some violence, as they continued to rip off other crooks for their drugs. Some of these were East London crooks, and they were extremely violent when collecting debts owed to them. Plus, they were not known to write off debts!
Nicholls declared that, without a doubt, he had been earmarked for murder, along with Mick Steele, over festering differences and greed concerning a massive drug deal organised by Pat Tate. And Tate made it clear in threats against them, that Tate would kill them if they did not compensate him for the money he had borrowed from heavyweight villains. For their investment in the drug deal which had ultimately gone sour, Tate had promised the heavies involved that they would receive a twenty-per cent profit upon the deal’s completion.
But the deal had gone pear-shaped, and the heavy villains wanted their investment money back, with the threat of severe repercussions if they did not receive it. They demanded, in addition, all outstanding payments owed by either Tate or Tucker. In truth, the money which the villains had invested in a poor-quality marijuana importation had indeed been given back in full to Pat Tate, so that he could reimburse the heavies, and avoid very serious comebacks. But Pat Tate had tried to deny this, and kept much of the money, blaming Steele, Whomes and Nicholls for stealing it.
This had followed a Laurel and Hardy sort of routine, as Pat Tate, Tony Tucker, Darren Nicholls, and even a crooked cop, converged on the drug supplier in Holland, who had supplied them with the useless marijuana, in order to be repaid for the dud drugs. There were problems with returning their money, as there was little in the way of British currency available. Dutch guilders would not suffice because of the daily exchange rate. They hovered about over several days, and they were bored shitless. In truth, Pat Tate had some money from the sale of the third of the so-called dud marijuana that was useable and acceptable, and he had remained schtum about it. So had Darren Nicholls.
Plus, Darren Nicholls received a cash reward of four hundred pounds from the police for informing them of the existence of a large batch of marijuana which he, Nicholls, had dumped into a lake to dispose of it, under the instructions of Mick Steele. The police rewarded him, unknowingly, for the dud marijuana. Nicholls also coughed up a percentage of the reward to a corrupt detective that he was in league with, on the officer’s insistence.
When confronted by the heavies, Tate had tried to reassure them. If their money remained unpaid by the trio involved in this particular venture, then he would deliver them all, kneel them down and shoot them in the head as punishment for their perceived deceit. Of course, he never once admitted to having the money in his possession.
Did he think that a bluff would suffice? Amazingly, he got away with making another promise to repay all of the money, with interest, for the earlier loans he had taken out with the loan sharks, as he convinced them that a brilliant financial opportunity had opened up to him. ‘Make it fucking quick!’ he was told.
He was warned by Billy Blundell, a well-respected but infamous man, and a trusted source among the London, and Essex, criminal underworld. Known as someone you should not take a liberty with, he had called for a meeting with Tate and Tucker, but Tucker had contemptuously refused to meet with him. Pat Tate went alone to the meeting. Billy had forewarned Tate that things were looking severe for his pal, Tucker, and advised Tate to reign in Tucker’s unacceptable activities in the Essex area, including not paying debts on time. This was another reason that Tucker did not want to go to the suggested sit-down, but Tate did not know that this was a real case of concern to him!
When Billy Blundell tried to forewarn Pat Tate, he made it abundantly clear that a lot of different people and organisations had had enough of Tucker, for various reasons, and wanted him gone.
Tucker had recently purchased an expensive property for which he had paid cash, and this had been playing on Pat Tate’s mind. It had cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. Some of this money belonged to criminal finance interests, and it should have been paid back by now. Some of this money was owed to one of the most notorious, unforgiving and spiteful loan sharks in the country.
Blundell warned that if Tate happened to be with Tucker at a time when someone walked up behind him and put a bullet in the back of his head, then he, Tate, would suffer the same treatment. Pat Tate’s drug-drenched, arrogant response was, ‘If it happens… It happens!’ Three days later, they were shot dead.
Did Nicholls drive a hitman other than Jack Whomes to the scene? A hitman who was known to Billy Blundell, and whom Billy described in interviews as being a severe villain. Was this known associate of the Blundell brothers a man who knew the slain men well, after being involved in a drugs distribution deal with them and the doormen at Raquel’s night club? Where Tate and Tucker had sellers for their drugs inside Raquel’s, so did this Mr X. He would often be seen in the nightclub monitoring his drug sellers and ready to organise re-supplies when needed. As was also a guy named Mark Murray. And Billy Blundell’s close associate now also had a seething hatred of Pat Tate, especially as Tate had tried to screw him for his investment money in the disastrous drug buy they were caught up in, among other funds. Up until now, Pat Tate had a working relationship with Mr X. He and others would finance Tate for his drug buying deals, and Tate would always repay the loans in full, and on time. But that was when Tate was half reliable. On this occasion, Mr X would not ignore the debt, nor would Tate be allowed to go unpunished.
What had also been in question was the quality of the sly ecstasy, which had been sourced by Tate, who had purchased it via Nicholls, from a bit of a shonky source over in Holland. It was a constant source of drug supply, but they were not quite as particular as Mr X and his suppliers, when it came to the guaranteed purity of the product, something that Mr X was adamant about! Mr X and the other heavy players would usually buy their drugs through a reliable source who was a known and trusted. He was an East End London crook who had trendy and profitable bars in Holland and Belgium.
Tate’s size, strength, anger and aggression were of no concern to Mr X, who regarded Tate as a mere tool for him to make money. Tate made the mistake of considering himself to be a feared and dangerous somebody, in Mr X’s thinking, but he would never be in Mr X’s league when it came to violence. Mr X held Tucker and Tate responsible for bringing such intense heat down upon the criminal elements in Essex and for disrupting an awful lot of profitable illegal business ventures because he thought that the actual composition of the ecstasy was responsible for Leah Betts’ tragic reaction.
Mr X had figured that thousands upon thousands of people had consumed his supplies of ecstasy without suffering any ill effects, providing that they stayed with taking one or two tabs a night, instead of gorging themselves throughout the evening. But Mr X was also informed enough to know that some people’s chemical makeup simply cannot tolerate ecstasy. After all, the famous, brilliantly skilled martial artist, Bruce Lee, died from a natural reaction to a low-grade pain killer, bought over the counter in any pharmacy.
But the Leah Betts incident had become the beacon of warning about the dangerous, and deadly, effects of taking ecstasy. A colossal campaign had been undertaken, warning of the dangers of ecstasy, to try to dissuade people from consuming it. But it seemed that the younger members of society rejected the warnings and advice, as they just loved ecstasy, or badly wanted to try it! Hearing of its calming and loving effects made it widely sought after. They seemed to reject the possibility that they would die from consuming just one tablet. It was the feel-good, cheap formula for a break from everyday boredom or depression, a case of ‘hard lines, Leah, but it is not going to happen to me’ sort of attitude. ‘Oh, this is as innocent as Blackpool rock, and … it’s cool!’
Leah Betts had become a high-profile case. Some thought that it was because she was the daughter of a respected ex-policeman. He had insisted on knowing, asking Leah’s friends who were predominantly downstairs at her party, who had supplied the ecstasy. Before passing out, Leah had admitted to her father, Paul, that she had taken ecstasy. But nobody was quite sure. When news broke about the condition of Leah Betts, it brought the press in droves, trying to curry favour in order to get newsworthy content.
The coverage of the Leah Betts incident had everybody’s attention, and it invoked a lot of sympathies, but it caused the availability and purchase of ecstasy to immediately subside on the street and go way underground. It did cease for a relatively short period. Tucker and Tate also pulled up on their overall activity at this time, and just about went to ground. They were hiding their significant drug stash.
The police stated that they would examine all avenues of inquiry to expose and prosecute the people responsible for the ecstasy epidemic in the Essex area. There were people losing thousands of pounds a day, due to the scare of being too carefully examined, and they were not happy at all with the situation. For some, this was a very tense, taxing and anger-filled time.
Then there was the vital connection that existed between Mr X and the cocky, colourful and entertaining Steve ‘Nipper’ Ellis, who was an unsuspected friend. Nipper’s connection was through his father, who was well acquainted with Mr X. Nipper Ellis’ father was himself a well-connected man, and he was not a man to be easily threatened or scared by anybody, including Tucker and Tate. They had sent a perceived hitman around to Nipper’s father’s home to try and put the frighteners on him. Nipper was in hiding at the time.
Nipper’s father was upstairs in his home when a large man in a long dark coat and wearing gloves had called up to Nipper’s old man, who was looking out an upstairs window to see who it was knocking on the door, asking if Nipper was there. The father told him that Nipper did not live there, and asked what the man wanted to see Nipper about. The visitor said that he had something for him. The old boy decided to go downstairs to confront the caller. By the time Nipper’s father had made his way to the front door to face this threat, the visitor had disappeared.
This means of harassment was water off a duck’s back to Nipper’s father. The visit, however, had set off his shit detectors, and he had started to make inquiries as to how much trouble his son was in and how much serious threat he was under. Nipper’s father was a very well-respected man in criminal circles, and his associates stretched to all sorts of contacts. There he found more than ample evidence to provide a reason for Nipper to want to see Tucker and Tate dead.
Nipper had gone through a period of intense stress with all of the vile things that the pair were responsible for doing to him: robbing his flat of small, or minor value items to help set up one of their girlfriends in a flat, smearing excrement over his belongings and the walls of his flat, and the never-ending threats to kill him in notes they left about. The warnings had even included Nipper’s family members, threatening to do cruel things to his fifteen-year-old sister, including cutting off her fingers. The father found out that Nipper had warned her and that she was terrified!
But the final straw for Nipper was that, when banged up in prison, he heard that Tucker, Tate and Rolfe had supposedly raped one of his girlfriends, out of spite for him. Nipper undoubtedly wanted to kill the trio more than ever. When his father learned of this, things escalated. Nipper’s father informed his very close and reliable criminal associate, Mr X, of the situation.
There is no evidence that that Nipper’s father paid any money to Mr X to kill the trio, without either Nipper or his father having to do it themselves. However, both were quite capable of doing so. But again, Mr X may have simply offered to take care of the matter on behalf of Nipper’s family, for the same reason that he wanted to protect the Blundells’ standing and respect. There was also his intolerance for the trio, whom he despised.
Mr X was therefore aware of the bad blood between Nipper and the drug trio. And Nipper had never faulted in repaying Mr X whatever money that he had borrowed, with interest, to finance some of his schemes. When a frustrated Nipper had confided in Mr X that he had already tried to shoot Pat Tate, but had only wounded him in the attempt, he decided to up the ante in their war.
Tony Tucker, frothing at the mouth in a drug-induced rage, had bailed Nipper up and threatened to chop off his hand or his foot, in retaliation for a misinterpreted comment that Nipper had made to Tucker’s girlfriend in a phone call that she had made to Nipper, trying to find Tony.
Up until now, Nipper had been close friends with Pat Tate, but Tate’s growing drug consumption, and increasingly violent outbursts and actions, had convinced Nipper that both Tucker and Tate had turned into low-life wasters. He had told them so at one stage, before he fired an old shotgun at the pair, when they were looking for him. Nipper was convinced that the crazy-acting, continually drug-consuming Tucker and Tate were hell-bent on killing him.
It had become pathological on their part, as they viewed Nipper as some kind of Judas for insulting them, calling them losers and wasters. They saw him as trying to destroy the American gangster style of life which they deluded themselves they were following. Nipper was fucking up their dearly clung to fantasies, and highly distorted take on things. This was a guy who had befriended Pat Tate and even allowed Tate to share his small three-bedroom flat when Tate was waiting to move into a house he had recently purchased. Nipper could not have been a better or more trusted friend to Tate, and here he was, now being seriously threatened with death. Could Nipper really be blamed for thinking Tate to be an ‘ungrateful and miserable bastard,’ who was under the impression that he was top-dog and invincible?
Nipper was aware that he had wounded Pat Tate in the arm when he had fired a shot at him, trying to kill him. He had fired through the bathroom window as Tate was shaving. While in the hospital due to the injury to his arm, Tate had told Tucker and Rolfe that he knew it was Nipper who had taken a shot at him. Tucker, stupidly, supplied Tate with a gun to hide under his pillow or somewhere, for self-protection, if Nipper was to arrive at the hospital to complete his mission to kill Tate. This is how paranoid that Tucker, Tate and Rolfe had become - a drug-sodden three stooges move played out again!
At one point, Tucker and Rolfe had gone to Nipper’s flat in the evening and were lurking around his rear garden. As he challenged them, he fired a blast from an old shotgun that he had, causing Tucker to dive to the ground, whimpering. The so-called hard man, heroic and invincible demeanour that Tucker usually portrayed had abandoned him. He then jumped to his feet and fled in terror, like a rat up a drainpipe, as Nipper fired another two rounds at the fleeing pair. Luckily for them, he hit neither of them.
This incident led to Nipper being arrested and threatened with serious charges. The police agreed not to press all the charges against Nipper if he were to make a statement to them. They were hoping to get some valuable information from Nipper regarding the murders. He agreed with the police that he would make a full and honest statement as to what he might know about the murders. The police may have thought that he knew something, but it turned out that Nipper had nothing to say concerning anything to do with the Rettendon murders. However, he made no bones about stating that there were plenty of people who were glad to hear about them being dead.
Mr X had made a very telling comment to Nipper that he agreed with, and condoned Nipper’s intentions. But he had said that Nipper should have never relied on the handgun that he used to try and kill Tate, nor on the old shotgun that Nipper had fired at Tucker and Rolfe. He should have used a good old reliable pump-action shotgun in the first place if he was serious. Was Mr X telling Nipper that was what he would have used, and he might just use if Tate did not repay a loan? Remember that Tate had declared to Tucker and others that he was not going to do so.
Tucker had never mentioned to Tate that he owed Mr X a considerable amount of cash, and was concerned about his having spent it before repaying it. He had recently been given a potent reminder via telephone calls of the position that he was in. Although he was asset-rich at the time, he did not have enough cash on hand to pay Mr X on demand. Tucker was becoming anxious, and privately afraid. He was desperately looking for a significant cash score to help sort out his problem with Mr X: one hundred thousand pounds, plus, overdue for payment.
This fact in itself would have Tucker quietly shitting himself, as he knew only too well how vindictive, spiteful and coldly determined that Mr X could be. On ordinary social occasions, Mr X could be exceptionally well mannered, courteous, charming and entertaining. He was quite an intelligent, well-read man, but he could turn instantly into another extremely violent personality if angered - a true berserker!
Tucker’s real excuse for not wanting to show up for a sit-down talk with Billy Blundell, concerning matters that were displeasing Billy, and others, was that he knew full well the strength of the association between Billy Blundell and Mr X, so much so that he did not want to have to face them. He was also trying to distance himself from Pat Tate at the time. Still, he fell for the seduction when offered an incredible opportunity, or so he thought, by Pat Tate, who had fallen for the same offer when supposedly approached by Mick Steele.
Tucker had no idea that Mr X would be involved in any way in the transaction and was not concerned. He was more concerned about Pat Tate. There were also other negative issues existing between them that were still unresolved. Jealousy and mistrust had undoubtedly crept into the relationship! But the thought of their expected score overrode any disputes at the time.
Pat Tate had been making comments to the people closest to him about his concerns that Tucker might be short-changing him with the money that Tucker had been holding for him while he was in prison, and that it might be going into Tucker’s new property. He did not know that Tucker had borrowed heavily for the purchase of his large and expensive property. Tate had gone so far as to ask his old pal, Mick Steele, to visit him in prison and had asked him to keep an eye on Tucker, and to question his spending if he could.
Although Tate was suspicious of Tucker, he decided to keep him close, and sweet, so that he could attain more significant profits. As the old saying goes ‘Keep your friends close… but keep your enemies even closer!’ That is not to say that Tucker and Tate had not been close, reliable friends up until the last stages of their relationship. That is when the cracks started to appear. Trust between them both was now strained! Neither of them knew how much debt the other was into Mr X, or what result it might bring.
Today, and in video interviews, Nipper can be seen flashing a satisfied sort of smile when he professes that it was not either Steele or Whomes who were responsible for the actual shootings. Does that mean that he knows who the real killer was? Maybe Mr X should have involved Nipper, or at least Nipper’s father, as the driver of the getaway vehicle used in the murders, as they could be trusted to keep the identity of Mr X unknown. Would this have eliminated any need for Darren Nicholls to be involved in the conspiracy and therefore, no mention of Mick Steele or Jack Whomes would ever have taken place, and neither of them would be in prison today?
Or did Mr X and Nipper’s father combine to commit the murders, and were responsible for luring the trio to the quiet Workhouse Lane? It was an area known by all the players for various reasons. It was common knowledge that Pat Tate was a used car dealer, and the Range Rover was Pat Tate’s responsibility. He had borrowed it from the mechanic/car body guy who was fixing Tony Tucker’s smashed Porsche, which Pat Tate had crashed. Rolfe was the regular chauffeur for Tucker and Tate. It could also be comfortable and useful on occasions, such as if Tate wanted to go out to semi-rural properties to purchase cheap machinery or equipment from some relatively private property, even in the early evening, to buy the likes of horse floats that he would resell.
There has always been an extreme suspicion held by the people supposedly in the know, that Nipper’s father and Mr X were present at the scene, and responsible for the ambush and killings. If they were, shouldn’t we wonder how Nicholls, Steele and Whomes were ever brought into the equation? There would have been no need for their inclusion in any way. Nipper’s father could have driven Mr X to the ambush, where Mr X was responsible for the shootings, and then left the area via the tracks and rat-runs.
Some have suspected that the Blundell brothers, Billy and Eddie, or anybody else of similar standing, could have been present at the ambush scene for whatever reason that may be suggested. Although they were more than capable of pulling the trigger themselves, as is shown in their history, it is highly unlikely that either of the Blundell brothers pulled the trigger. What was the reason that the drug trio was there at the ambush site at all? It does not matter a jot in reality! They were there, and they suffered the consequences of being there!
What puts a fly into the ointment of the soundness of Nipper’s father and Mr X‘s involvement is that it would be hardly likely for Tate to require Tucker and Rolfe to be with him to take care of an ordinary chore that he could complete by himself: take the Range Rover, hook up the horse-float and leave. If it were a case of Mr X and Nipper’s father committing the murders, it would not have involved Steele, Whomes and Nicholls.
As a possible trap for the murders, how could they be sure that they could catch all three together at the same time if it were a plan to cleverly entice Pat Tate to the country laneway on the pretext of buying a used vehicle, or a horse float, or something that Tate could then resell at a handsome profit?
Even if it were a car that was supposed to be the bait, then Tate would have had to bring someone with him to drive one of the vehicles back to Tate’s yard, or to his lock-up. It would be unlikely for the whole trio to turn up for a small buy. It would more likely be Craig Rolfe, as he was a bit of a lackey for Tate.
If it did work as a ploy to get all three there at the same time, then Darren Nicholls must be credited with having an outstanding criminal mind to have conceived and pulled off an incredibly audacious plan: to have merely heard about the murders, and then to have woven so convincingly the tale of Mick Steele and Jack Whomes, accusing them of being involved. He is not that bright. He has rat cunning, but he’s not that smart.
What? He miraculously arranged for both Steele and Whomes to be in the area of the murders, and at approximately the right time? He conveniently arranged for them to make and receive telephone calls that could be traced? And he did this so smoothly, and trouble-free, that he sucked in and fooled the whole of the Essex police force, the judge and the jury?
He claimed to have played only a minor role, supposedly duped into being the driver for an average low-scale drug deal. He did this, not out of spite for Steele and Whomes, but purely as a plan to save his arse, should he be arrested on drug charges. His audacity in doing so is impressive! In addition, he would have needed the skills of a convincing liar, who could pretend to be a bit vague and forgetful, yet be incredibly deceptive. It brings to mind the character, Verbal Kent, or Keyser Söze, played by Kevin Spacey in the movie, ‘The Usual Suspects’.
Then again, we have to question the police department’s attitude when it comes to either turning a blind eye to some things or the granting of immunity to some offenders when it suits their purposes. An example that is glaringly obvious is that Nipper Ellis must have been granted immunity from prosecution for a slew of severe crimes with which he could have been charged. These included attempted murder, shooting with intent, grievous bodily harm, malicious wounding, discharging a firearm, having an unregistered firearm, having ammunition, and more. Thankfully the minimum number of charges relating to the attack on Tate was laid against him, as Nipper admitted to being guilty of all of these offences in a recorded interview soon after the murders. After all, he was not grassing anybody, only himself. Even Nipper’s alibi for where he was on the evening of the murders relied on him being at an attempted robbery of a container truck, close by in Rettendon, with a close friend, Danny Woollard. Both would also celebrate the news of the killings.
There are other unanswered questions: What was the real reason behind Darren Nicholls’ unexpected, and uninvited, appearance at the hospital to visit the injured Pat Tate? It may be that he was registered and a paid police informant and that he was trying to gain information on Tucker and Tate.
Had he been asked by his police handler to somehow try and ingratiate himself with Tate? This is why he had been harassing Mick Steele to try and arrange an introduction? Did Tucker set Tate up so he would break his parole conditions and be returned to gaol, thus giving Tucker a bit of respite for a while? This trio of drug dealers was well known by the Essex police and was under surveillance at the time.
It was even suggested by many that the police were responsible for the murders, as payback on behalf of Leah Betts’ father, Paul. There may well have been some police who would have been prepared to commit such an act, and there may have been many who would have at least condoned the murders, but they were not nearly as aggrieved as other members of society.
The conspiracy theorists insist that Paul Betts was a senior police officer and was well versed in the use of firearms, as he was an avid shooter. Plus, he supposedly had police associates ready to kill on his behalf. There is also a declaration in the Tiberius Report on police corruption that a well-known villain and professional killer had volunteered to act on behalf of the police, to kill the trio.
Then there was widespread talk and rumour on the streets concerning the possible involvement of well-known crime families, such as the Adams family, the Hunt family, the Bowers family, the Blundell family, and others. These were all heavy-duty players, along with others named in the police corruption report. Tiberius, and other reports.
Corruption seemed to be endemic throughout the metropolitan police force and other regional forces. It was deemed so engrained and far-reaching that a feared criminal family had placed a one million pounds contract killing on three honest, loyal and sincere high-ranking detectives. The targets were Detective Inspector David McKelvey and two of his assistants.
David McKelvey was known to be a hands-on, first-through-the-door arresting officer, one who led by example. He had received over sixty commendations. He had entered the cross-hairs of some very serious criminals due to his tenaciousness and thorough planning and actions in police raids.
A story was circulated throughout police ranks that there was a police officer referred to as ‘Dirty Dave’ who was in league with known heavy criminals. This rumour led to suspicions and accusations that Dave McKelvey was the ‘Dirty Dave’ in question. So many accusations were made against David McKelvey that he resigned from the police force in disgust, knowing that the level of corruption prevailing in the police forces was far too unacceptable to him. He, therefore, sacrificed a job that he loved and believed in, at one time. He was another innocent victim thrown under the bus because he was in the way of what should have been a major uninterrupted flow of stolen goods. He was also too doggedly persistent in his investigations. Incidentally, David McKelvey was one of the officers involved in the arrest of Darren Nicholls. He has stated openly that he does not agree with the verdict handed down on Steele and Whomes. He recently posted on social media and it reads as follows:
David McKelvey. In reply to a Facebook post.
Ben the cell site proves that it is highly unlikely MS was in Workhouse Lane at the time of the murder. It actually corroborates his alibi.
MS was a cunning career criminal. Why would he use a man he knew was a police informant to drive on a triple murder?
Why would he use a £50.00 scrapper of a car that regularly broke down as a getaway vehicle?
Why did he not have a sound alibi for the time he was allegedly killing Tucker, Tate & Rolfe?
The number of inconsistencies in this case and the manipulation of evidence is astounding.
Our team of highly experienced SIO’s are daily trawling through the evidence. All hard-nosed career detectives. We cannot believe the incompetence of the police involved. Murder squad officers having affairs with primary witnesses, a blinkered approach to the evidence, the protected witness having days out with the media, evidence being manipulated, vital material being withheld and hidden from the defence, Murder team members getting convicted or sacked for dishonesty or misconduct, and so the list goes on.
It is clear that from very early on they decided MS was involved and guilty and as a result ignored everything else to the contrary. It is quite incredible.
The telephone material that now exists proves that neither MS nor JW were at the scene. It also proves highly unlikely that TTR was in Workhouse Lane at the time the police and Nicholls say the murder occurred. The timeline corroborated that.
If they were not executed at the time and in the manner according to Nicholls’ account then his evidence is false.
I doubt that those actually involved will ever be brought to justice but hopefully, the truth will emerge and this miscarriage of justice will see the release of two men innocent of the Murder.
A very significant fact is that Tate had insulted Billy Blundell, by arrogantly disrespecting him regarding his efforts to help resolve matters. It did appear that Tucker had contemptuously ignored the invitation to a friendly sit-down with Billy, to try help sort out problems. It was viewed by many as the ultimate insult and being ‘offed’ for it would come as no surprise.
Billy Blundell advised the killer that he did not have to kill Tate, that he could just shoot him, or both Tate and Tucker, in the groin. This would therefore leave them alive, and still responsible for any monies owed to Mr X, which he could then collect. The killer was infuriated at the suggestion and had responded that he would not do that. Money owed to him appeared to mean nothing to him. He said that he could soon replace the owed money, but he could not abide Tucker or Tate any longer. As the Blundell family’s pride and reputation were on the line, he fully intended to kill them both to preserve the family’s standing. This would include, if need be, their sycophant, wannabe gofer, Rolfe, or anybody else present with them at the time. It was at this meeting that Mr X asked Billy Blundell to source a suitable firearm to kill his intended targets. He stated that it had to be something a bit more devastating than an ordinary Saturday night special.
Did Billy Blundell sense any sort of deeper reasoning for Mr X wanting to kill Tate and Tucker? He did seem to be somehow overly bothered by the continued existence of Tate and Tucker. Was there a more personal reason? Billy Blundell has never commented publicly on the possibility.