In the Media

Law to target criminals who profit from crime

PUBLISHED October 30, 2006

John Reid is preparing new laws to stop convicted criminals cashing in on their crimes.

A consultation will be soon be launched on legislation to stop criminals receiving money for writing books about their past, the Home Secretary said.
It follows concern in Northern Ireland earlier this year that Johnny Adair, the former loyalist terror boss, was receiving a substantial sum from a London-based publisher for his life story.

A Home Office spokesperson has confirmed that the legislation will be published shortly: "It is aimed at stopping criminals profiting from their life of crime directly or indirectly through things like book deals.

"There have been consultations with the Northern Ireland Office and the Scottish Executive during the drafting of this legislation, and we expect to put it out to public consultation shortly."

The Government and Conservatives have both vowed to clamp down on criminals profiting from crime.

In March 2004, David Blunkett, then Home Secretary, promised to address the issue after it was raised by a mother of one of the victims of child-killer Mary Bell during a question-and-answer session in Newcastle.

June Richardson, whose four-year-old son Martin Brown was murdered in 1968, was outraged when she discovered that Mary Bell had received ?50,000 from the author of a book about the killings.

One year later, following a public outcry, a Tyneside-based publisher pulled the plug on a deal to tell the story of Soham murderer Ian Huntley?s girlfriend Maxine Carr, who was convicted in December 2003 of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Carr had provided a false alibi for Huntley during the investigation into Holly wells and Jessica Chapman?s murders in August 2002.

Earlier this year, in Northern Ireland, the victims organisation Relatives for Justice was appalled to learn that John Blake Publishers in London had struck a lucrative five-figure book deal with Johnny Adair, the former Ulster Freedom Fighters? leader from Belfast?s Shankill Road.