Glasgow or No Mean City as it’s known, is one of the deadliest crime cities on the planet, always has been since it got its hard arse reputation from the razor gangs of the 1960s names like Jimmy Boyle, Walter Norval, Arthur Thompson and in more modern times Paul Ferris , and Kevin Carroll aka Gerbil .
So it’s no surprise it has fueled the newspaper industry over the years with such violence On its blood-soaked streets, but of-course because of such media attention.
1 WHEN DID THE SITE LAUNCH WHAT YEAR?
The site was first launched on October 1st 2009, although it never went live to the public until July 1st 2010. Then in 2014, the site was reported to the hosting company as unsuitable. This caused the hosting company to lock down the site, then it was called Glasgowgangland.com. We then moved to a new host and changed the name of the site to, Glasgow Crime Research. We were reported again and the site and all its content were removed from Google listings in a matter of hours. Every image that was on Google image, around 372 images were removed instantly. 100,621 pages were listed on Google, they disappeared instantly. Then we had over 3 million hits. We then started again with Underbelly and that's where we are at now. Trying to move data from server to server which in itself has not been an easy task. This we put down to the previous hosting company and Google itself. However, we will eventually succeed in transferring all the data to this site
2 WHY DID YOU THINK THERE WAS A NEED FOR SUCH A SITE AND WHY.?
The idea came about in 2007; a good friend had not long been released from a long-term prison sentence. After a few months of freedom, he was re-arrested on some trumped-up charge relating to the firearms act.
The story was covered by three of Scotland top newspapers, each paper giving a different version of events. One telling outright lies, and it seemed the other two had juggled the facts with imagination and wrote what they thought their readers would find more interesting. When the facts on their own were more interesting than the nonsense that was published.
My friend’s brother called one of the newspapers to tell them they had it wrong, only to be told, “Well if you don’t like it, SUE”.
That annoyed us; we then realised there was no right to reply to people who are slandered in the press.
Anyone who has consulted a media lawyer will know that attempting to prevent an article being published or to have an article corrected can be very expensive. Far too expensive for your ordinary member of the public. Even more so if you are a criminal or ex-criminal with no character to defend.
My friend made an off the cuff comment about his children reading the article when they got older, fearing that they would have a false impression of the situation and there was nothing he could do about it.
That is when the idea for the site came to fruition. We decided that the internet has a bigger readership than any newspaper has, so we decided to start a website that would give people the chance to put over their own version of events. While at the same time providing an alternative side to the stories the newspapers printed
3 WHAT TYPES OF PEOPLE USE THE SITE AND MAINLY FOR WHAT REASON?
A wide range of people uses the site. Mainly it is just people with an interest in crime or people who are, or have been involved in crime. But we have been asked by researchers from TV companies, like Channel 5, Channel 4, independent companies/individuals researching on behalf of newspapers or true crime writers to research material for them, or provide research we have in our possession. We have never provided material to any of those mentioned unless the permission the material related to was given by those who provided it.
4 WHY IN YOUR OPINION IS GLASGOW SO TOUGH? IT HAS SOME REPUTATION FOR GANGS AND CRIME IN GENERAL.
In my opinion, Glasgow is not unique when it comes to crime in general; every large city has the same type of problems with crime. Social deprivation, alcohol, drugs and lack of education sway people towards crime. Violent crime though is different; in Glasgow, we are unique because of our choice of weapon. We are more at home using a blade to inflict violence. Anything from an Open razor, Stanley knife, Lock-back to a Steaky, Machete or Sword will be used.
Most young ones start out carrying a knife for protection, never thinking one day they will use it, but the chances are they will. That is when people’s lives are ruined, not only the victim but also the perpetrator, as they will most likely spend a long period in prison and that is when that cycle begins. You use a knife once you get a reputation, you fall out with someone and they know you have used a knife before so they come looking for you with a knife. Same in prison, you go into prison for using a knife on someone, and then get into an argument; the other prisoner is not going to confront you without something to defend himself with, or he will wait till you least suspect it and get in there first.
Many young Glaswegians are desensitized to violence from an early age.
I know a friend whose daughter was walking to the shop with a neighbour; his daughter was only 4 to 5 years old at the time. A car stopped and four men got out armed with machetes and a sword. They attacked the neighbour while he was holding the little girl's hand. He pushed her aside while he was attacked, leaving him with many stab wounds and 200 plus stitches to his head and face. The little girl came running home. Not with fear in her eyes like any normal 4-year-old, but with excitement at seeing such a level of violence inflicted, she was in awe with what she witnessed. To me, that sums up Glasgow and its fascination with violence.
5 WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PRESS IN GENERAL AND ITS PERCEPTION ON CRIME IN THE CITY?
That is a hard one, as some papers are better than others are. I will not name any papers. HOWEVER, there are those who give criminals or criminal gangs tags like the Iceman, the Licensee, the Alien abduction gang, or the Pulp Fiction crew. This is sensationalism at its best, but then the same newspapers will slate any criminal who writes a book or takes part in a documentary. The papers say these people are a glamorising crime.
What glamorises crime more: telling the truth, or sensationalising and exaggerating the truth?
Then there are reporters who write books - why is it OK for them to make money out of telling half-truths about the criminal they choose to write about, but not OK for the person himself to write his memoirs or have a ghostwriter do it for them?
If anyone that is not classed as a "CRIME WRITER" writes anything, they are tagged mouthpieces for whomever they write about, or apologists because they understand the reasons why some people chose crime.
We at UnderbellyGlasgow have had all this. With certain press outlets saying, we are mouthpieces for this one or a mouthpiece for that one. That is bullshit: we are mouthpieces for anyone who wants to tell it as it was, or still is for them. We are mouthpieces for those who want to tell the truth. After all, what is written stays with us forever? If you were once involved in crime and had been misrepresented in the press, would you not want the truth out there for future readers to read and make their own mind up. Or leave it to the press to print your story
There are editors, reporters and crime writers out there who are good at what they do, they write with respect and do the proper research. Then there are those who just do not give a fuck what they write, or the backlash their words cause in the real world. People have been injured and maimed because of certain press articles; that is a fact.
The press makes up blatant lies simply because they can.
6 HAVE YOU ALWAYS HAD AN INTEREST IN TRUE CRIME?
I have always had a deep fascination with crime, serial killers in particular. What makes a man want to kill and kill again until they are caught?
The planning and execution of a plan when committing a crime. The self-control that is needed when doing both of the above. As humans, we are fascinating creatures. Our minds can be nurtured from an early age to become anything, from a top professor to a master criminal, it depends on who is doing the teaching and what methods they are using.
Charles Manson once said, “These children who come to you with their knives, they’re your children. I didn’t teach them, you did.”
7 IS THERE ANY HAIRY MOMENTS WHEN RUNNING SUCH A SITE IT MUST GET A BIT HECTIC AT TIMES WITH SOME OF THE POLITICS
IN THE CITY?
Yes of course. However, we have people who are good at dealing with things like that. Most criminals or ex-criminals we write about know we only write the truth as we see it. Of course, we cannot guarantee that everything we write is accurate. Therefore, we will always give others their opinion and include that into what we write, even if we have to re-edit later.
One of our administrators told me when I started that there are usually three sides to every story. I found that to be true.
8 ANY FUNNY STORIES YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
Well, some people’s sense of humour differs from others. Nevertheless… Without naming this person, I will tell you a story that I found amusing. I went to the interview and old school criminal. whom now lives in Essex I arrived at his home and was shown into his office and there he was sitting behind a big oak desk. I sat talking to him for a few minutes and then when I pulled out my phone to record the interview he looked at me with his face all screwed up. I instantly thought I had offended him by pulling out the recorder. So I said, “Are you OK with this,” pointing at the phone. He looked at me, let out a deep sigh, looked down and said, thank you, that is enough.
I was about to stand up and leave when a Romanian looking girl popped her head up from between his legs, grabbed a tissue, disappeared for a minute, then stood up and left the room. I was sitting there thinking, what the fuck - did that just happen.? He carried on with the interview as if nothing had happened.
9 WE HAVE READ SOME OF THE PRESS ARTICLES ONLINE AND THEY KEEP WRITING ABOUT ONE MAN RUNNING A WHOLE CITY IS THIS JUST NEWSPAPER SENSATIONALISM
One man has never run Glasgow and no one man will ever. The press says Arthur Thompson ran Glasgow that’s a myth. Yes, he ran parts of Glasgow, mainly gambling clubs and extortion rackets, but look what happened when his son got him into the drugs game. A young team from the same area destroyed his family and he died of a heart attack. Glasgow will always be divided between areas. People are territorial in Glasgow. No one man will ever run Glasgow, not even the head of police Scotland and he has a bigger gang than anyone.
10 WHATS THE NEXT PLANS IN THE PIPELINE FOR UNDERBELLY TRUE CRIME?
Now all the data is in one place and backups have been made we are currently indexing everything so members can search certain terms and find everything we have connected to their enquirers. We have hundreds of thousands of pages of relevant data. Once this is indexed then we will decide the next move.