Gary Critchley – Raised In A Prison

This is to flag up the case of Gary Critchley who is still in prison for an alleged murder at Campbell Buildings in 1980 – see recent posts on Bob Short’s Trash Can book thread for more details and also the official website and also this website.

The challenge is to get this miscarriage of justice overturned.

But how? I suggest it needs a twin track approach

Firstly to raise the public profile (as Jock has suggested) via myspace / facebook / blog sites like KYPP – for example by putting a slide show of Gary’s paintings plus a relevant soundtrack eg Raised in a Prison by the Mob on youtube or organising a UK exhibition of Gary’s paintings…

Secondly using official channels eg letters to your MP and the Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP
Home Secretary 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF.

Gary is also being supported by Wendy Thurley and Julie Coimbra.

Julie and Wendy are librarians in Cambridge and contacted KYPP about the case.

Julie said [edited]:

“Myself and another librarian have become involved in trying to publicize this extraordinary miscarriage of justice. We happened to purchase some of Gary’s paintings and began corresponding with him without ever asking why he was inside. When the Private Eye article came out in July we were flabbergasted to say the least and began our campaign. Fifty of his paintings were sent to Adelaide and were in a recent exhibition there. Prior to posting them we photographed them all and have made them into cards to sell, 12 are at present on the website.

If you have ANY INFORMATION WHATSOEVER that could be helpful could you let us know and we can pass it on to Glyn Maddocks, the solicitor who has taken up his case. Anyone who can provide ANY INFORMATION should be encouraged to contact us as soon as possible”.

Julie and Wendy have created the website from which the following bio of Gary is taken.

Finally – don’t wait for someone else to act. If you think this is important get on and do it yourself.

Biography- Gary Critchley “Raised In A Prison”.

“England is a supposed model of democracy and justice, yet ironically I have so far been made to serve longer for being rebellious and non-conformist than the Yorkshire Ripper has for 13 serial Killings. Nowadays, painting is the only thing that keeps me alive.“

Gary Critchley

Born in Birmingham and raised on an estate that bordered on two mental hospitals, visiting and often staying with his elder brother in care homes and approved schools,

Gary was introduced to institutions at a very early age. At 8 years old he got drunk on alcohol and by the age of 12 he was drinking on a regular basis. Aged 14, Gary became a punk rocker, was recruited to the Young Socialist party and excluded from school for leading ‘pupil-power’ marches and picketing the school. Also aged 14 Gary was sent to juvenile detention centre for criminal damage and theft. During his time there he was physically and mentally abused and he describes this as a very negative period of his life.

Upon release he quickly deteriorated, abusing various drugs and becoming involved with crime. In 1980, six months after being released from borstal, he moved to live in London. In June of that year he was discovered severely injured four stories below the flat he was squatting [in Campbell Buildings] and was taken to hospital with a broken back, arm, legs and head injuries. When police investigated the circumstances, they found the body of another man in Gary’s squat. Charged and bailed for this man’s murder, Gary returned to Birmingham where even on crutches he continued his life of punk rock gigs and substance abuse.

In May 1981, he was found guilty of murder (despite numerous forensic discrepancies) and sentenced to be ‘detained at Her Majesty’s Pleasure’, the juvenile equivalent of a life sentence. The then Lord Chief Justice recommended that he should serve ‘no more that 8-9 years’. Despite this it was a full 20 years before Gary was first released in July 2000.

Gary was recalled to prison three months later for having sexual relationships with two female peers at his rehab unit and running away with one of them. After another three years in prison for these breaches of his license conditions, he was again released in 2003 to another drink /drug rehab centre. Twelve months later in 2004 he was again recalled to prison for missing a probation appointment. He’s still there.

Over the last five years in prison, Gary has suffered from severe depression and made three serious attempts to take his own life. After the second attempt, Gary was introduced to drawing and painting for the first time in and has since become a prolific painter. He has won a Koestler award for one of his paintings and has been both encouraged and inspired to paint by the staff of a Cambridge University library that have bought and exhibited several of his early works and sponsor him with materials etc.

Despite unanimous recommendations of release and the parole board agreeing that he does not constitute a risk to the public, Gary was recently refused parole on the grounds that if he was ever to relapse into drink /drug use there was a “possibility” that he “could” re-offend violently. This was despite all professional opinion and the masses of evidence to the contrary where Gary has been in active addiction without any such incident.

This ruling is currently the subject of a judicial review, being in breach of not only the Human Rights Act but also several judicial rulings regarding Lifers. There are also investigations still going on into the events surrounding the index offence, of which Gary to this day has no memory.

Gary describes his on-going imprisonment as “warehousing”. He has now actually served more than three times the recommended sentence. He maintains that he never murdered anyone, never intended to hurt anyone and has never before or indeed since the age of 17 been involved in any violence. He says he is now semi-institutionalised and a true product of the system. No longer jailed in relation to the original offence, he has become somewhat of a political prisoner: being punished over and over by a retributive system for his years of rebellion and breaches of petty rules.

Gary on right with green jacket and blond spikes 1979/80 – photo courtesy of Carol Coombes.

Some of Gary’s prison artwork may be viewed HERE

Template for contacting MP’s and other officials or media. Please cut and paste the document below onto a word document and print it out to send by post or fax.

Dear …………………..,

I am contacting you regarding Gary Critchley, prisoner no B39969 (A1473AK), convicted of murder in 1981.

The Judge at the time recommended he serve no more than 9/10 years.

This is now his 30th year of incarceration. The conviction is unsafe and according to his solicitor one of the worst miscarriages of justice Britain has ever seen.

Briefly the case is as follows, however please read the Private Eye article


for full details.

Gary allegedly killed a man in 1980. During this murder he sustained frontal lobe damage to his brain, by being hit with a hammer. He also broke his back, ankle and wrist and was found in the street covered in blood.

The victim sustained more than 20 blows with a hammer.

The blood on Gary was found to be from his injuries and there was not one speck of the victim’s blood on him.

The victim was discovered in a room on the upper floor in the building, Gary was found outside on the pavement.

The only evidence to link Gary to the crime was a trainer, two or three sizes too small for him, on his left foot. On his right foot was his own boot which fitted him.

Gary apparently killed the victim, avoiding any blood, changed one shoe, hit himself on the head with the hammer, and then jumped out of the window.

The truth indicates that both Gary and the victim were attacked by a third party, who remains at liberty.

I feel that this really is a grave miscarriage of justice.

Unfortunately, this is not a high profile case, merely the case of an ordinary citizen who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A person who nearly lost his life, but who ended up in prison himself, for something the forensic evidence suggests that he didn’t commit.

I am asking you to look into this, because I know if you do, you will want to take it further.

……………………………………………… Signature.

  1. gary critchley
    gary critchley
    August 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    thankyou everyone for your presents and support – gary

  2. gerard
    August 13, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    “Are these going to be available via the website?”

    Yes I’m hoping so, but not as yet – I’ll put something here when they are.

    Happy Birthday Gary!

  3. jock gbh
    jock gbh
    August 14, 2010 at 12:58 am

    alright gary,happy birthday mate,we`re all thinking of you,and doing what we can.hope to see you soon,one way or another,keep the faith!you`ve never let them grind you down,thats the main love and respect jock and crew,brum

  4. cc
    August 14, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    I didn’t notice the thankyou message Gary put on here (Aug 13) til he mentioned it!

  5. gary critchley -crap
    gary critchley -crap
    August 15, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    thanks to everyone for the cards, visits ssupport, love you all – would be especially nice to buy you all a pint or something. ruth king, robbo, beano or richard morgan – any contact from you would be particularly welcome…
    …don’t let them fuck me anymore than they already have.

  6. jock gbh
    jock gbh
    August 15, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    im sure you still owe me a pint or two from 1980!ill be collecting those soon chap,just been to america,loads of people know about your case there,yer a star,stay srong,see you soon!!!

  7. gary critchley
    gary critchley
    August 21, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Gary Critchley says; would very much appreciate any contact from the old school lot, but also any of the new people who have been so supportive. But contrary to my last message it would be a far better idea if anyone who has any helpful info/evidence to first contact my solicitors [which isn’t as simple as it sounds at the moment] probably better via Carol (granny) Coombes. Thanks again everyone for making it a birthday to remember for a change – the cards and everything, blinding! Even this place were extra nice to me (“gimme gimme shock treatment”). On a more serious note with regards to Jocks last comment -I cannot get my stinking dinosaur breath…owe you a pint?…you should have been paying me royalties for my “plastic muscles” comments on your first few taped gigs at the eagle! That’s what got you so many fans in the first place! 🙂 anyway all take good care and please try and get to the punky-reggae party and particularly the meeting beforehand with regards to tactics. Bye love and respect – destroy power-not people – Gary x

  8. tara
    September 2, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Punx picnic this weekend so everyone is tied up and can’t get down x x

  9. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    September 10, 2010 at 8:33 am


    TV Smith
    Hydra (Leech Woman/ Third Door from the Left)
    P.I.G. (Conflict/ Fear of Fear)
    Shocks of Mighty (Hagar the Womb)

    The Montague Arms
    289 Queens Road Peckham (corner of Kender Street)
    Peckham SE15 2PA

    Friday the 1st of October 2010
    8.30 – 12.00 pm
    £5.00/ £3.00 (concessions)

    Train: New Cross Gate/ Queens Road (Peckham)
    Bus: 53, 453, 177, 225, 171, 172, 136, 321, 21, 436

    Running time as follows:

    8.00 DOORS
    8.30 – 9.00 SHOCKS OF MIGHTY
    9.15 – 10.15 TV SMITH
    10.30 – 11.00 P.I.G.
    11.15 – 11.45 HYDRA

  10. luggy
    September 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Looks good, might cross the river for this one.

  11. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    September 11, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Now they’ve finished mucking about with the East London line, it’s actually quite easy to get to New Cross Gate from North London, so no excuses to miss it really.

  12. jock gbh
    jock gbh
    September 13, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    alright crap
    great to talk to you the other night.we had a great weekend in your honour.we`re having another one in london dec 4th,will keep you posted,have a great week,make some great art and speak to you soon,all the best,jock

  13. baronvonzubb
    September 17, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    good on yer nick. i was just thinking it would be good to have one in the south. now i actually have to venture out in s ldn after dark. jah Pork u up for that?
    erm, kylle , grannie or anyone, did robbo get on contact. if not I’ll hassle some more. cheers j

  14. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    September 17, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    With any luck I’ll have some badges with the new logo ready in time for the gig.

    September 19, 2010 at 5:23 pm


  16. cc
    September 26, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    oi GC- all going well- speak soon x

  17. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    September 29, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    Hi all,

    It would be good if people who are coming to the gig on Friday the 1st of October could come with cameras and either take pictures of all the bands or video stuff (even if it’s only one song). I want to get a lot of footage/ photos to edit together to publicise the campaign.

  18. cc
    September 30, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    @ Nick-fantastic- have a great one! can’t wait to see the pics and hear all about it

  19. baronvonzubb
    October 2, 2010 at 9:18 am

    P 🙂
    Guilty for not making the 2 hour + hike in the rain to London.
    I fear that the only Campbell Buildings representative was Del?
    Good on yer mate.
    Did Mr Smith do a rendition of Gary Critchley’s eyes?
    Or is that bad taste?
    As Sam said, it could have been any of us really, thus poignant, nyet?
    Can’t wait to hear about it.
    Hats off to all those who went.

  20. luggy
    October 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Shame you couldn’t make it, was a good night although thought the punters took a bit too long getting into T.V. Smith. Bit of a flat atmosphere for first half of his set. Was hoping he’d re-write Gary Critchley’s Eyes myself but he stuck to the original. Don’t know why I’ve never got around to seeing him since The Adverts.
    Was great to see him, can’t think of anyone else from back in the day still writing good, relevant songs.
    Nice to see Del again, don’t think there were any other Campbell Buildings peeps lurking unless they were on Tuinal down the back!

  21. Nick Hydra
    Nick Hydra
    October 2, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    £369.00 raised yesterday.

  22. baronvonzubb
    October 3, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    good result. tuinol, phenabarbitol, secanol. omg, when god was alive. not.

  23. jock
    October 4, 2010 at 9:19 am

    dont forget my once fave ‘nembutal’, not that i would advocate the consumption of said little yellow n black thingymebobs!
    saw igs gig on friday, between each song was heard shouted, “FREE GARY CRITCHLEY”.

  24. gary critchley
    gary critchley
    October 24, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Well done Jock mate. Say hello and thanks to everyone for me as per usual. Which igs are you on about by the way…not the legend? And Nick you really are a diamond mate, not to mention T.V. Smith and the others….see you all later hopefully…although this sometimes feels like “the story that doesn’t want to be heard… or told!” thanks to everyone globally for trying anyway.

  25. Chris L
    Chris L
    October 25, 2010 at 7:43 am

    Just thought you may like to know I saw GBH play a blinding show at the Shinkjuku Loft last night and they dedicated their song “The Prisoner” to Gary which was great to hear. So, the word is spreading even to Tokyo 🙂

  26. Lindy
    October 25, 2010 at 8:09 am

    GBH blew Austalia away, as expected, and gathered lots of support for you on the way.The Rumjacks, support band for the tour, have said they will carry on getting the message out there as will Leprosy and Gold Coast punx want to do a benefit gig in the near future,also lots of Perth bands spreading the word.
    Catch up with you at the pub in Brum next year, alright!!

  27. eve
    November 9, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    i think gary is a good man and not bad he is a grat artist he fantacit at it 7 yr old eve : )

  28. eve
    November 9, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    hi its eve agin i sent a letter to gary iv got everthink of it i like gary because he is very nice.

  29. Sharon Maher
    Sharon Maher
    November 9, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Eve is my 7 year old daughter. She googled Gary, found this and left her comments. Called me when it was all done! Proud of her, a young radical in the making! X

  30. baronvonzubb
    November 11, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    good on you eve !

  31. gary critchley
    gary critchley
    January 1, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Happy New Year and my eternal thanks to all and everyone of you! For some reason as soon as I put comments/thankyous on any of the other sites, they are almost immediately censored/cancelled out or whatever, which is a shame – but please don’t for a second think that I am ungrateful for the support and particularly for the mail and art materials/books. Love you all and hope that this year will turn out to be the one that not only am I freed to demonstrate my gratitude but also the year that this (bag of shit) government are forced to overtyurn this conviction which has become cause celebre (I think that is how you spell it?…but somewhat of an embarassment to them anyway, and might I add it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of “people” – using the term very loosely. Anyway thanks to everyone – NO SURRENDER – Gary (gonewrong) critchley

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