Episodes
It’s New Year’s Day 1994 and Tyneside is waking up to the news of Viv Graham’s brutal murder. There is tension in the air and nobody knows what is going to happen next. What follows is a spiral of repercussions and tragedies which have spanned the decades and are still being felt to this day. In the final episode, presenter Livvy Haydock meets pathologist Dr John McCarthy, who walked the scene of Viv Graham’s murder hours after his death, before carrying out his autopsy. It was the start of...
Published 06/28/24
Published 06/28/24
Viv Graham is released from prison following a vicious assault on rival bouncer Stu Watson. He needs to make up for lost time and remind everyone who is boss. But while he’s been away in jail, Tyneside’s nightlife has been transformed in an explosion of ecstasy. This is one fight Viv Graham won’t be able to win. In this episode, we follow Viv Graham as he tried to reassert his dominance on Tyneside’s nightlife, following his spell in prison. His services were in just as much demand as ever...
Published 06/21/24
It’s the summer of 1989 and the atmosphere on Tyneside is febrile. The economy is shrinking and tumbling towards recession but at the same time the nightlife is bouncing. And among the criminal underworld battles are raging to control the supply of drugs into pubs and clubs. Viv Graham is right in the firing line and danger lurks on every corner. This episode tracks Viv Graham as he linked up with a member of the notorious Sayers crime firm. Graham was recruited to lead a vicious gang attack...
Published 06/14/24
Viv Graham is right at the peak of his powers. After starting as a nightclub doorman in Gateshead, he has grown to become the most powerful figure in Tyneside’s booming nightlife, with a vast pub and club protection empire. But trouble is brewing because a new party drug is landing and it’s going to turn his world upside down. This episode charts the arrival of ecstasy in the North East and the dramatic changes it had on the region’s nightlife. A prominent DJ in Newcastle, Tom Caulker,...
Published 06/07/24
Viv Graham, a young man from the country, is about to land in the city and make a very big impression. In fact he’s going to take over the town. This episode charts Viv Graham’s meteoric rise. It follows in his footsteps as he went from being a complete unknown, to single-handedly controlling a pub and club door protection empire, which spanned Newcastle and beyond. Viv’s first move was to approach one of the city’s most colourful characters – Paul Tucker Grant – a doorman and boxer, who’d...
Published 05/31/24
On New Year's Eve 1993, Viv Graham, a 17-stone man mountain, stepped out of a Tyneside pub and walked a few yards towards his Ford Sierra Cosworth. But he never made it. Lurking in the shadows was a gunman who fired three shots at him from close range. Viv, who ran a pub and club protection empire which spanned Newcastle and beyond, dragged himself back to the pub but his life was slipping away. The murder of Viv Graham, right in the middle of his heartland territory, sent shockwaves through...
Published 05/24/24
A new series of Gangster tells the story of Viv Graham, a man who ran a protection empire which spanned Newcastle and beyond. Viv Graham, a 17-stone man mountain, a man feared and revered in equal measure, came to dominate Tyneside’s nightlife through brutal and uncompromising violence. His murder, in an organised hit on New Year’s Eve 1993, sparked recriminations and repercussions which echo to this day. It remains one of the country’s most notorious unsolved murders. Presenter – Livvy...
Published 05/20/24
The EncroChat hack has given the police unprecedented access to the secrets of organised crime. Nearly four years on from the hack, the detective who led the Met’s EncroChat investigation, DCI Driss Hayoukane, reveals what the police have learnt about OCGs which they didn’t know before. Presenter Mobeen Azhar hears about the impact of the EncroChat operation from Driss and from the National Crime Agency. There have been thousands of arrests, 200 threats to life averted and tonnes of drugs...
Published 02/11/24
The truth unearthed about Met police officer PC Kashif Mahmood is stranger than an episode of the fictional drama Line of Duty. And it was evidence unearthed in the EncroChat operation which made him plead guilty. PC Kashif Mahmood had won five awards for his outstanding service as a police officer. But he was secretly working for an OCG in east London. A detective from the Met police’s anti-corruption unit talks publicly for the first time about the most brazen case of corruption he’s ever...
Published 02/04/24
Little is known about who invented the EncroChat network and who owned it. Even the police who investigated the criminals using the network, know little about who’s behind it. Journalists David James Smith and Joseph Cox explain what their investigations into the company reveal. Plus, why an expert in cryptography thinks the whole EncroChat operation could fall apart on a legal technicality. Presenter: Mobeen Azhar Series Producer: Andrew Hosken Editor and Executive Producer: Innes...
Published 01/28/24
In the wealthy village of Denham in Buckinghamshire, Lee Hannigan and Harry Hicks-Samuels play the part of successful businessmen really well. Hannigan has a car garage, a mansion with a Ferrari on the drive and a place in Dubai. Hicks-Samuels is only 27 but has a watch business and flat in a luxury development. But the secrets of where their money really comes from are on their EncroChat phones. Presenter: Mobeen Azhar Series Producer: Andrew Hosken Editor and Executive Producer:...
Published 01/21/24
It's April 2020, and the Metropolitan Police are overwhelmed with messages hacked from the EncroChat network. Buried among the millions of texts and photographs, are the outlines of a murder plot. An anonymous EncroChat user is trying to source a gun and some ammunition for a drive by shooting. Will the police discover the messages before it’s too late? And will they be willing to risk the secrecy of the entire EncroChat operation by arresting someone on EncroChat evidence alone?...
Published 01/14/24
Police across Europe prepare for a top-secret operation: the hacking of EncroChat, an encrypted phone network favoured by organised crime groups. EncroChat’s server has been discovered in northern France. The French police are planning to secretly inject some code into the users’ next software update. If it works, police could be reading the criminals’ messages for weeks. At the Metropolitan Police in London, DCI Driss Hayoukane is summoned to a confidential meeting where he hears about the...
Published 01/07/24
A 6-part true crime podcast documenting the biggest organised crime bust in British policing history. It happens in 2020 when police in France penetrate an encrypted phone network called EncroChat. According to police, the phones were used exclusively by criminals. For over two months, police forces across Europe were reading the secret communications of major league criminal networks. The Metropolitan Police, working with the National Crime Agency and other forces, used this information...
Published 01/03/24
Despite the landmark trial of 2004-05 leading to several convictions for the murder of Charlene and Letisha - the gang murders in the city continued. What more could be done to tackle the violence? In the final episode in the series, we look at how a combination of one man’s brilliant gang mediation and West Midlands police’s Operation Ventara slowly started to turn the tide and begin the process of restoring peace to the city of Birmingham. At the same time as the police were making inroads...
Published 12/08/23
It’s late 2004 and the buzz of police helicopters and sea of armed police around Leicester Crown Court creates a tense, intimidating atmosphere as one of the biggest murder trials of the decade gets underway. West Midlands police have the men they believe responsible for the deaths of Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare ready to stand trial for their crimes. But this was not going to be an easy conviction. Detectives had identified 75 people they believed could provide key evidence - yet...
Published 12/01/23
As the new century begins, the gang war in Birmingham intensifies. Bloody retaliation follows each shooting and we eventually reach the point where there is no longer any trace of mutual respect between the gangs. A gang war that began with vintage and adapted firearms had reached the point where submachine guns were the go-to weapon of choice. On January 1 in 2003, a group of innocent teenage girls were getting ready to celebrate the arrival of the new year together at a party in the heart...
Published 11/24/23
With the Yardie threat receding, the Johnson Crew and the Burger Bar Boys vied for dominance in the city. Guns became the weapon of choice, and nowhere felt safe; even the celebratory Handsworth Carnival turned into a scene of extreme gang violence. Territorial battle lines were drawn, with the Johnsons claiming the B6 postcodes of Lozells & Aston, and the Burgers controlling the B21 Handsworth area. It was in the 1990s that the names of key players began to emerge through the smoke of...
Published 11/17/23
The story now takes us from the aftermath of the Handsworth riots in 1985 to the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, where we learn how violence in Birmingham was about to escalate to a whole new level. As the fires were extinguished and the shattered glass was repaired, there was relative calm for the remainder of that decade. The local homeboys of the Handsworth and Lozells districts of Birmingham quietly made their living through low-level crimes such as dealing weed and selling stolen car...
Published 11/10/23
January 2, 2003: The senseless murders of two teenage girls thrust a vicious West Midlands gang into the national spotlight. The girls' deaths mark the culmination of the Burger Bar Boys' long-simmering feud with their rivals, the Johnson Crew - a conflict that threatens to engulf the city of Birmingham in an all-out gang war. But how did this hatred fester and grow, and what were the decades-long origins of this bloodshed in the city? In this podcast, Livvy Haydock will unravel the...
Published 11/03/23
A brand new series of Gangster tells the story of Birmingham’s notorious Burger Bar Boys - a gang born out of the Handsworth riots in 1985. Named after the fast food joint where they met, they were described as more ruthless than the Jamaican Yardies. They fought a bitter and bloody war with their rivals the Johnson Crew for control of the crack cocaine trade in the West Midlands. They controlled their turf in the suburb of Handsworth with threats, intimidation and sub machine guns. But...
Published 10/27/23
An execution and the story of an exoneration. Livvy Haydock hears about the final moments of one life, and the relief and joy of release when a different case is overturned. In this final episode she considers the impact of a changing political landscape on the future of the death chamber. Join Livvy as she takes us deep into Death Row in the USA. While support for the Death Penalty in the US remains at over 50 per cent, there’s been a steady decline in the number of executions – from the...
Published 10/27/23
The people of Jasper sought the death penalty for the brutal men who murdered James Byrd. But the cost of the trial was crippling and served as a warning to other small districts. In this episode, we’ll examine how cost plays a part in the number of US executions, as does a better understanding of institutional racism. Join Livvy Haydock as she takes us deep into Death Row in the USA. While support for the Death Penalty in the US remains at over 50 per cent, there’s been a steady decline in...
Published 10/27/23
If a lethal injection death is considered to be painful, that could make it vulnerable to a legal challenge as unconstitutional. What can the death of Corey Johnson tell us about the pain of a lethal injection, and does proof of pain hold sway in any US court, or indeed in the court of public opinion? Livvy Haydock heads out on the road to talk to Texans., and deep into Death Row in the USA. While support for the Death Penalty in the US remains at over 50 per cent, there’s been a steady...
Published 10/20/23