'Britain's hardest man' had mass brawl with 18-man stag do and caused so much damage he faced GBH charge
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'Britain's hardest man' Lenny McLean once took on a massive 18-man stag do and caused so much damage that he faced a grievous bodily harm (GBH) charge.
He was involved with some of the country's meanest and toughest gangsters before growing up in Hoxton, London in the 1950s with an abusive stepfather.
After falling into a life of crime, he served 18 months in prison for beating up his boss on a construction site.
When he got out of the can, Lenny got into bare-knuckle fighting because his criminal record prevented him from becoming a licensed boxer.
Lenny began competing in fights at Frank Warren’s National Boxing Council in 1970, where he excelled.
Weighing 20 stone, he went onto win more than 3,000 fights.
But if there's one incident that sums up just how tough he was, is the night he was working the door at the Barbican club in Smithfield Market.
A stag party of 18 blokes started misbehaving at the bar and Lenny opted to take matters into his own hands.
“They’d been drinking all night but suddenly they didn’t like the prices, when the girl behind the bar asked them for £38 – not bad for 18 drinks – they told her to f**k off," the hosts of Let Them Fight: A Comedy History Podcast said.
The barmaid was apparently left in tears by the men's behaviour.
Lenny thought enough was enough and said: “OK, you’re all drunk, there’s 18 of you, and you’re very brave. You want to fight, we’ll go outside…”
Recalling the incident in his book The Guvnor, he said: “I pulled a nice little cosh out of my pocket and went through the lot of them. They went down like skittles as I slashed left and right like a maniac.”
He had knocked nine of them to the ground before the police arrived and arrested everyone they could see.
Five of the group ended up in hospital.
As the remainder of the group recovered in their cells at Snow Hill, Lenny started shouting at them through the slit in his cell door.
“You gutless b*****ds! You f**king mugs, you’re all like little lambs now," he said.
“Look at me. You’re not seeing me with drink inside me: I’m like this all the time – a stone cold sober raving lunatic!”
He then added: “They said they'd had a note from upstairs saying, 'We do not think it is prudent to use public funds in pursuit of a charge that one man assaulted 18 others.' Of course they wouldn't – it would have looked a bit funny in the papers …"
The brawler eventually fell into acting after working as a bodyguard to the cast of EastEnders.
He starred in Guy Ritchie’s 1998 crime thriller Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, cementing his status as a legendary figure.
It was during the filming of Lock, Stock when Lenny fell ill with what was later diagnosed as lung cancer.
Sadly, he died shortly afterwards on July 28, 1998, a month before the film’s release.