COMMENTS ON EXHIBIT 56
If any doubt remains in the reader’s mind about Peter Risdon’s unpleasantness, this exhibit, representing the story which he sold to the News of the World, should dispel it.
We are not talking about a very nice person here.
The contents of this article do not overly concern us. It is for readers to determine for themselves whether allegations by Peter Risdon against DG - such as that DG would stop at traffic lights brandishing a gun at other cars without, as it happens, ever even being reported for such an offence, or that he planned to hijack a tanker in order to sell its crude oil to Iran of all countries - are plausible or simply in line with standard News of the World ‘journalism.’
The reader will remember that we have been here before. See, for example, Exhibit 53 concerning Peter Risdon’s made-up story about his car having been subjected to a paint stripper attack by DG and where he is successfully sued for defamation. The postings which he was forced to retract as a result of the proceedings brought against him included allegations, inter alia, that:
- Risdon possessed evidence that proved DG’s guilt in respect of the supposed paint stripper attack. This evidence consisted of a “successful trace” made by British Telecom to a pay as you go mobile phone used by DG and a “police investigation” – total fabrications as is clear from the legal correspondence in Exhibit 53;
- Risdon had secret records of DG and BM made while they were in police custody and were communicating to each other from their cells in French!
- Risdon possessed a secret photograph of DG taken on the morning of his arrest by means of a telephoto lens in which DG can be seen wearing dark glasses despite the fact that the arrest had taken place in the early hours of the morning!
- Risdon had evidence that DG had bugged the Prosecution’s rooms during his Trial!
- Risdon had in his possession: “mountains of additional evidence” against DG, about which he continued in typically pompous terms: “This places me in the position of a man cradling a blunderbuss, while a small boy buzzes round annoyingly with a pea shooter… I have been showing considerable balance and restraint … Whether or not I continue to show restraint depends how irritated I get.” (Needless to say, when challenged to produce this mountainous evidence, Peter Risdon proves himself to be as disappointing as ever; see Exhibit 52).
The reader will also note one of Risdon’s trademark tricks: to project onto others his own characteristics. Specifically, “fantasist” is a term that could apply to few people as appropriately as to Risdon himself, a man who sits blogging on his computer all day, imagining that he is “Voltaire” or “Freeborn John” and that his ill thought-out opinions are of significance; a man who for his entire life has found turning his big talk into action highly problematic.
Indeed, reference to his business partner’s affidavit (See Exhibits 2 & Exhibit 3) reveals a remarkable correspondence between the fantasies he attributes to others in this article and his own little dreamworld: the fascination with James Bond type gadgets for example, the fascination with American gangsters, the fascination with the SAS, the fascination with electronic bugging and so on.
Nor is it possible to argue that Risdon’s business partner could have made up his assertions regarding Risdon’s character and behaviour (See Exhibits 2 & Exhibit 3) as a counter to the appearance of this News of the World article and that he tailored them accordingly - for a simple reason which causes Peter Risdon consistent problems in his various ‘explanations’, namely chronology.
For the News of the World article reproduced in this Exhibit was published on 14th February 1993, while BMcL’s affidavit was sworn some 3 months previously, on 9th November 1992.
In addition, Peter Risdon’s assertions regarding DG and BM’s ‘excitability’ prior to the execution of the robbery are simply not credible. The opposite picture was drawn of the two men by the prosecution during their trial and by the police during DG’s interview under caution (See Exhibit 57), for example. Risdon’s claims therefore seem far more in keeping with his own character and with the picture that is painted of him by his business partner in Exhibits 2 & Exhibit 3. Thus, it is inconceivable that the police would have been fooled about the authenticity of the robbery had there been the remotest excitability or other tell-tale sign on the part of DG or BM. Likewise, in their police interviews, in DG’s statement in Exhibit 46, in their comportment during their trial and throughout their incarceration, we see them both keeping their cool, maintaining their right to silence when they are arrested and implicating no-one else, in sharp contrast with Risdon’s panic, his immediate angling for a deal and the verbal diarrhoea into which he dissolves when he is arrested.
Far more plausible is the description of the events leading up to the robbery itself given by DG in his book ‘Roll the Dice’ where he describes Risdon’s extreme nervousness, his profuse sweating, his series of ludicrous suggestions to make the robbery seem more genuine and so on. So much so indeed that DG and BM had to calm Risdon down on several occasions and came close to aborting the operation on account of Risdon’s lack of sang-froid. The suggestion, moreover of “slapstick” behaviour on the part of DG and BM - coming from Peter Risdon of all people (known even to his colleagues as ‘Norman Risdon’) - is typical of the man’s rank hypocrisy: his entire life and every venture he has put his hand to proving to be a catalogue of disasters.
In short, it is perfectly obvious what has happened here: Peter Risdon has simply applied his own personality traits onto others and has invented whatever story he can get away with in the hope of maximising the money he can obtain; rubbing his hands as his testimony sends two former associates to jail.
One of Peter Risdon’s most notable fantasies of course is that he is a man of courage. We read the following rather sad passage for example in one of his blogs:
“I started this blog anonymously, posting as Freeborn John rather than Peter Risdon, some time in 2005 … But to do so anonymously seemed to defeat the object so I changed the settings to use my real name.
Since then …I had a death threat from a member of the BNP … and from radical Muslims …
Paint stripper was thrown over my car…
My advice to Old Holborn … is this: grow a pair. Use your own name and write things you are willing to stand for and by.” (our emphasis)
(Rather confusingly, we should remember Peter Risdon’s statement to the police, given in May 1991, where he states:
“I do feel intimidated by Mr Guppy’s threats and I consider him to be a person to employ physical harm to those he sees as having crossed him).”
In a similar vein, Peter Risdon has made regular postings on his own website such as “You’re so brave, Peter!” employing female aliases.
It would be difficult, however, to imagine an individual who has demonstrated as much cowardice so repeatedly throughout his life.
It should also be remembered that this News of the World article appeared on the morning after DG and BM’s convictions, when they would have been at their most powerless and least able to defend themselves.
What courage, Freeborn John, and what a massive “pair.”
The reader will also note the excuses given by Risdon for his grassing which appear at the end of this article, excuses which change and evolve over the years (see, for example Exhibits 48 & Exhibit 49 and the Comments thereon):
“He (DG) was clearly bonkers and clearly going to get caught and I didn’t want to get caught with him – that’s why I went to the Police.”
As we have seen, Peter Risdon was in fact a willing participant in the events in question, knew exactly what he was doing, tried as best as possible to imitate his colleagues’ modus operandi (see Comments on Exhibit 57), messed it up through sheer incompetence, and looked for ways of informing on his accomplices in return for leniency from virtually the moment he was arrested (see Exhibits 8, Exhibit 9 & Exhibit 10).
Rather than the contents of this article therefore, of interest here is what further light its appearance in itself sheds on Peter Risdon’s personality and his motivations for grassing on his accomplices.
Once again, the reader will note the chronology – a feature which, as stated, Peter Risdon finds consistently problematic, perhaps owing to the addling effects which long-term cannabis abuse is known to produce on mental faculties.
DG and BM were convicted in respect of their offences on the late afternoon of Saturday 13th February 1993. This article appeared the very next morning and, since the Sunday papers are in fact printed on the previous evening, will have gone to press only a few hours after DG’s and BM’s convictions.
As soon as Peter Risdon had given his evidence against DG and BM he had asked for leave from the Court to take a well-deserved and no doubt well-funded holiday to Australia, a request which was generously granted.
All of which means that this article was written up and the photographs of Risdon taken well before the guilty verdict against DG and BM was pronounced and in anticipation of just such an outcome.
The truth of the matter is evident: as a reporter from the Sun confirmed to the Defence team at the start of the trial, Peter Risdon had banged on every door in Fleet Street in an attempt to sell his story. To whet appetites he had come up with allegations so outrageous that they had irritated even the gutter press, with the Sunday Times referring to him as “the rangy Australian with a penchant for self-publicity.” Eventually, and not surprisingly, it was the News of the World which offered him a deal.
The assertion made by Risdon therefore in Exhibit 48 that he had gone to the police a mere month after the robbery in New York after realising that he had been duped into participating in something slightly more than a “book-keeping exercise” and that he had been propelled by a sense of civic duty after “much soul-searching” is simply laughable.
As we have seen, Risdon grassed in the first instance to get off his own crimes (See Exhibits 1-47) but also, as we see from this Exhibit, for financial reward - to make money from newspapers such as the News of the World.
Reading this News of the World article, is the impression of Peter Risdon really that of an innocent dupe, worried by DG’s increasingly dangerous schemes, propelled by a sense of civic duty and a crisis of conscience? Or is it rather of someone thoroughly pleased with himself, revelling in the fact that his testimony will have sent two former colleagues to jail? A man who considers himself clever for having got off the hook in such dishonourable circumstances and having made money through his treachery? A desperate self-publicist who craves attention and who crows very revealingly, for example, in Exhibit 52, where he writes: “All you'll achieve, so far as I can see, is to continue to raise my profile. Carry on, though. It's working well for me.” (our emphasis).
Only someone with no shame and no honour could have written such words.
THE CONTRAST WITH ANOTHER WITNESS, ID
One of Peter Risdon’s most basic errors in his various excuses and explanations given over the years is his inference that somehow only DG had been involved in the events in New York.
The tactic is crude: if it can be made out that he has only grassed once in his life against a single individual who had somehow deserved it, then a tiny route remains by which to escape the opprobrium of being a traitor to his colleagues and a notorious police snitch.
Unfortunately, however, BM had been just as involved as DG and DG represents by no means the sole individual on whom Risdon has grassed over the years, facts which Peter Risdon ignores in his various explanations and excuses on account of their inconvenience.
Regarding this specific event, namely the gemstone heist in New York, there was for example another accomplice, an Indian (‘ID’), on whom Peter Risdon also grassed. And in fact, quite apart from DG, BM and ID, Peter Risdon has betrayed and snitched on virtually everyone of his colleagues over the years, including his business partner BMcL from whom he regularly stole, every one of his accomplices in his bungled diamond insurance fraud, the numerous clients whose offices and premises he bugged in the hope of being able to blackmail subsequently, BH and WK whom he betrayed as BMcL explains in his affidavit (see Exhibits 2 & Exhibit 3), his accomplices in his failed armed robbery in Scotland, and the list goes on (and will no doubt become more extensive as investigations into his past continue).
In short, Peter Risdon grassed and betrayed because this is his nature. He knows it and is ashamed of it, hence his desperate excuses.
Returning to ID.
ID was the only witness apart from Peter Risdon of any real significance in the trial and in the event his evidence was of little impact and probably even helped the defence.
ID had been involved (with DG) in a successful gold smuggling operation between the UK and India. As stated in the Comments on Exhibit 49, only two very small shipments of gold belonging to him had ever been intercepted, once again owing to Peter Risdon’s informing the police. ID had been a client of Risdon who had helped him and DG in the manufacturing of false-bottomed creates designed to conceal gold bars bound for India. Peter Risdon had also been aware that a false passport had been arranged for ID by one of his (Risdon’s) business colleagues in order to assist him in evading the Indian authorities – a fact about which, once again, Peter Risdon informed the police.
However, despite giving evidence against DG and BM, there is a world of difference between ID and Peter Risdon.
Thus, ID had to be dragged virtually kicking and screaming into Court.
At the time ID was on the run in the UK from the Indian authorities and was working at a bank in the City. The police arrested him and put him under massive pressure, threatening to return him to India unless he testified against DG and BM.
But even after agreeing to do this, and in return for a small 6 month sentence (with an additional 12 months being suspended) for his role in the New York episode, he still made sure to contact DG and BM almost immediately upon his release from prison, despite running the risk of triggering the extra 12 month sentence that had been suspended, told them how he did not want to give evidence against them but was being forced to do so by the police and, consistent with this, escaped to Cyprus a couple of days before he was due to give evidence against DG and BM at Committal Proceedings, much to the fury of the Prosecution.
His mistake was to return to the UK after those Committal Proceedings had taken place but before the Trial itself, and probably because he needed to get a job and make some money, in the hope that he could keep below the police’s radar. He was, however, re-captured by the police who continued to exert pressure on him while the threat of his gold-smuggling activities in India hung over him.
Even at this stage, however, and at great personal risk, he remained in secret contact with DG and BM until shortly before the Trial.
The contrast between his behaviour in Court and Peter Risdon’s could hardly have been greater.
When he gave evidence it was obvious to all in the courtroom that the last thing he wanted was to do so. One could see that he had not slept the previous night, that he was on the verge of collapse throughout his testimony and that the only reason he was there at all was that he had had a virtual gun put to his head – all of which meant that his evidence was so poor and so detrimental to the Prosecution that they probably wished they had never set eyes on the man.
Nor was there any question of selling stories to the newspapers at the time of the trial in the manner of Peter Risdon, or of bugging people’s premises or of coming up with ridiculous excuses such as “I thought it was a £25,000 book-keeping exercise” or “I woz framed!” or of appearing on TV, or of grassing up every person he had known since he was five years old. Instead, a dignified silence and a palpable regret.
Risdon had arrived! Fame at last! His profile had been raised! (as he puts it so revoltingly in a comment on a blog in Exhibit 52). In fact, such was his excitement that he even stated in Court “I’m still very fond of him (DG), you know!”
No, Risdon enjoyed every minute of it. This was his moment.
As stated, let us not forget that he has grassed and betrayed everyone he has had dealings with over the years. He had tried to befriend DG and BM like a snake. DG’s wife was heavily pregnant at the time of his conviction. There was no sense of shame or regret, just a whistle-stop tour of Fleet Street and whatever media outlet would hear him in order to “raise his profile.”
Interestingly though, a man who would help Peter Risdon do just this - “raise his profile” - and earn thousands of pounds in the process by selling his story, was of course the author of this News of the World article: Clive Goodman.
Naturally enough, the very same man Risdon would later refer to on his blog in disparaging terms as “the now disgraced Clive Goodman” despite the fact that Mr Goodman did nothing more than what Risdon himself had done in abundance, for which he had been charged, and for which he had only been spared jail by virtue of being a police informer.
So much for loyalty.
If, therefore, the reader feels remotely sorry for this man, do not.
We are talking about a genuinely unpleasant individual here.
In view of the evidence, our advice is:
Do not invite this man to dinner, and if you do, look for bugs that he has planted afterwards.
Do not lend this man your mobile phone or your land line.
Do not let this man use your bathroom. And if you do, look for hidden cameras afterwards.
Do not confide in this man in the slightest way because if ever you become well-known for whatever reason he will sell you down the river to the News of the World or whoever is the highest bidder.
Do not go into business with this man because if you do he’ll mess it up for you and then when it all goes pear-shaped will put the blame on you with an excuse something to the effect of you were “the one responsible for admin” (see Exhibits 50 & Exhibit 51 and Comments thereon).
If you belong to some fringe group, do not go on any ridiculous Freedom of Expression March with this man because if you do he will pass on what little information he can glean about you to the authorities for the sake of a few hundred pounds.
And whatever you do, bearing in mind that he has recently re-started his bankrupted computer consulting company (“The Circle Squared) in respect of which he was disqualified as a Company Director, under no circumstances entrust him with your computer.
In short, were Peter Risdon even remotely intelligent, he’d be dangerous.