Sunday, 8 January 2012


Gary Mulgrew, one of the NatWest Three, was extradited to America amid huge controversy in 2006. Accused, falsely,  of helping destroy Enron, the giant US energy company, he eventually pleaded guilty only to defrauding his employer NatWest. Here, in the first compelling extract from his new book, he recounts the horrific ordeal that followed...
I worked my way through a  warren of narrow corridors. It was intimidating walking through the inmates. True, I had once worked as a bouncer, earning a bit of cash when I was a student. But now I was 46, and out of shape.
I entered a smaller corridor marked ‘4’ and turned to view my new living quarters. I was too shocked to move. No cosy cell for me. I had entered an enormous, noisy room about 80ft long and 40ft wide, crammed with nothing but cast-iron yellow bunk beds and small lockers.
I had figured on dealing with one cell mate, maybe two at the most. But this. This wasn’t punishment, it was an experiment: the Big Brother house with wall-to-wall psychos.
A Native Indian guy was sitting on his lower bunk, drawing. ‘You the new Scotty guy?’ he asked, looking up, smiling. He had the demeanour of someone who had been there a long time. ‘My name is Gabriel, but you can call me Chief. Everyone else does.’ He pushed a fist out to me. I bumped him back.
‘I hear your tribe is from Scotland, right?’
I nodded, although I didn’t see Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond in the same light as  Sitting Bull.
I climbed up onto my top bunk and looked out of my tiny window. It was just like the one I looked up to when I spent those cold and lonely nights in Quarriers Homes as a little boy.
Each new entrant to the Big Brother room looked scarier than the last. About two-thirds of my new roomies were Hispanic, with about  a dozen blacks, a few more Native Indians and maybe six whites.

Two scrawny-looking skinheads came marching in. A Hispanic  theatrically spat on the floor.
‘Scotland? You called Scotland?’ asked the slightly shorter of the two as he approached me. They looked in their mid-20s, each with dental issues.
‘Yeah, I’m Scotland,’ I answered, quite liking my new name. I started to focus on their tattoos. The short one who had spoken had a swastika on his neck and the other taller one had something on his shaven head: ‘God Forgives  . . .’ which seemed quite encouraging. Then the rest: ‘the Brotherhood Doesn’t’.
They were, I realised in that instant, a deputation from the Aryan Brotherhood. I recoiled. Why were they coming to see me?
Muldrew spent part of his sentence at Big Spring prison in Texas
Muldrew spent part of his sentence at Big Spring prison in Texas
‘Scotland, South Dakota?’ the shorter one asked, to my confusion. ‘Naw, I’m from Scotland, Scotland!’ I responded, sounding irritated, which I was. Tattoo Chest nudged his taller accomplice, who grunted and proffered something.
‘This is sum shower shoes an’ s**t to git you started,’ he drawled, handing me some heavy plastic flip-flops and what looked like coffee, biscuits and a bar of chocolate. Suddenly my mood changed, as I realised what was happening. These guys were recruiting for the Brotherhood.
‘I don’t want that s**t!’ I said, fast and loud. I hoped everyone heard it. The shorter one put his hand on  Tattoo Head’s arm to stop him from withdrawing the offer.
‘Now lookie here, Scotland. Don’t go misunderstandin’ nuthin’. We like to look after our own here.’
He looked around directly at the blacks in the corner, before drawing closer to me. ‘Ain’t none of these other f*****s gonna take care of nuthin’ but their own. Us white boys got to stick together.
‘You really don’t want to be walkin’ alone in this yard, and if you ain’t runnin’ with us, we will see you as agin us, Scotland? You feelin’ me, Scotland?’ I was feeling him.
He moved back and smiled a  menacing, toothless grin. He patted my knee.
‘Take yer cr*p off my bunk,’ I said calmly, ‘and f*** off.’ Inside I was scared. I’d always known I would face a recruitment drive sooner  or later. I just hadn’t expected it  this early and with so few corporate benefits.
Muldrew arrives with his co-defendants Giles Darby and David Bermingham
The enormity of the situation appears to dawn on Mulgrew while outside the federal courthouse in Houston
Mulgrew arrives with his co-defendants Giles Darby and David Bermingham, left, and right, outside the federal court in Houston
‘Look,’ I said, speaking more quietly. ‘I’m not from around here, and I ain’t trying to be disrespectful. But I’m not part of your battles, and I won’t be part of your Brotherhood. I’m a Scot, from Scotland. I’m British. I play football and eat chips.’ Embarrassingly, they were the only British credentials I could muster.
Towards the end of my second month, an older inmate walked in one afternoon. This man looked scared. He was Hispanic, yet none of the other Hispanics came near him as he found his bunk about ten beds away from mine. My corner bunk position afforded me a perfect view of the room, but I didn’t  want to be caught staring. Joker, a tattooed boss with the Hispanic Surenos gang, barked out instructions to a couple of minions, who then ran quickly from the room.
What happened next unfolded so quickly I barely had time to process it. Four men entered the room at speed, silent and bare-chested, their heads and faces covered. They each took a separate path towards the new arrival.
The former family home of Gary and his wife Laura. It was later sold
The former family home of Gary and his wife Laura. It was later sold
With the rest of my roomies calmly going on with their business, the protagonists came from behind, grabbed the victim’s arm and hair and rammed his face straight into the frame of the bunk. Twice. I had steeled myself for violence in Big Spring, but this just didn’t seem real. There was a sickening crack and he was dropped to the floor.
Laura and Gary on their wedding day. The couple have now divorced
Laura and Gary on their wedding day. The couple have now divorced
They rained blows on the motionless figure with a ‘lock in a sock’ (literally a padlock concealed in the toe of a sock, the weapon of choice when a blade is not available). Then, after 30 to 40 seconds, they left.
No one moved. No one cared whether he lived or died.
I had already jumped down and taken four steps towards the bleeding man before I was intercepted. ‘No, Scotland!’ said Chief, putting his hands firmly on my chest. ‘Bad idea, Scotland. Bad idea.’
I went back to my bunk. With astonishing dignity, the victim  gathered himself and started remaking his bed.
A few moments passed before Joker spoke again, fresh attackers came and a second beating followed. Still the older man refused to budge, which brought a third assault. This time, halfway through, another man joined in without a mask. He was shouting as he entered the room, and assailed the unconscious punch-bag below him. This attack was different – it was personal.
The only word I could make out was ‘rata’, said again and again, with increasing venom; so he was a rat, he had co-operated with the authorities, and this was the retribution.
This time, when the older guy stirred, he started to pack up his things. Joker was motionless.  
I never saw a prison officer, a ‘cop’, the whole time, and I realised that I probably never would. They policed the edges of the place. The inmates were in charge of the rest.
I felt low, wondering how I’d ever survive in this level of inhumanity.


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