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London Gangster Recalls Horrific Nightclub Brawl That Left Mate's Eye 'Hanging By Cheek'

Dominic Smithers

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London Gangster Recalls Horrific Nightclub Brawl That Left Mate's Eye 'Hanging By Cheek'

John Massey was once one of Britain's most-feared gangsters and became the country's longest-serving prisoner.

Released in 2018 and now in his seventies, he spent 43 years behind bars following his conviction for the 1975 murder of Charlie Higgins.

Massey recently spoke to James English about that horrific night on the Anything Goes podcast.

Following a series of big jobs, Massey and his mates headed out on the town to celebrate and found themselves in a pub in east London.

However, after enjoying a few drinks, things turned nasty and he and his gang had to 'fight their way out'.

John Massey recalled the night he murdered a man following a bar fight. Credit: Anything Goes Podcast
John Massey recalled the night he murdered a man following a bar fight. Credit: Anything Goes Podcast

Massey recalled: "It just so happened that certain people took offence to us, thought we were a bit flash because we were spending too much cash or whatever, and they decided to cause an argument. It just went up like a tinderbox.

"We sort of fought our way out of the club and got out, and we heard this blood-curdling scream coming from within."

That's when he realised that his friend had been very badly injured, a sight he remembers clearly to this day.

He went on: "He'd been glassed in the eye and it was horrific. His eye was lying on his cheek like a sliced onion, and naturally we put it down to the bouncer."

Massey and his group of pals left to go and pick up some weapons they had stashed nearby, returning later to seek revenge.

Massey recalled: "We tooled up with about three guns each and went back... I had no intentions of shooting anybody, just wanted to get hold of the perpetrators and give them a bit of likewise treatment.

He became the country's longest serving prisoner. Credit: Met Police
He became the country's longest serving prisoner. Credit: Met Police

"But [the bouncer] happened to throw me a punch while I had a gun trained at him, and the rest is history."

Charlie Higgins died from his injuries, having suffered a shotgun wound to his chest.

Massey was later arrested and convicted of murder, and was sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison.

However, following a number of escape attempts and having breached his bail conditions, he was actually locked up for over 40 years.

Speaking about the incident, Massey told English that he deeply regretted his actions.

He said: "Even then if I could have pressed a button to bring it back to life I would have done.

"I don't really believe he deserved to die."

Featured Image Credit: Anything Goes Podcast/Supplied

Topics: UK News, True Crime

Dominic Smithers
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