In the first in a series probing Britain's murky underworld, Donald MacIntyre meets Paddy Conroy, one of Newcastle's most influential gang leaders. Once dubbed Britain's most wanted man, he has been released early on licence after spending more than 10 years in prison and to maintain his freedom must not commit even a minor offence - a task made harder when rivals begin taunting him in public.
Release Title: MacIntyres Underworld - The Taxman & Get Conroy(A UKB-KvCD By BINGOWINGZ)
Release Date: 2006 (UK)
RunTime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes
Channel 5 - Tue 12th December 2006
Brian Cockerill describes himself as “The Taxman.” Others prefer to call him an extortionist, street fighter and one of Britain’s most terrifying gangsters. He makes a living by “taxing” drug dealers, collecting a levy to allow them to operate in Teeside.
Reporter Donal MacIntyre and his team spent several months observing Cockerill as he appeared to operate as an alternative justice system used by those in the area that have lost confidence in the police.
Now the Taxman is planning on taking his unconventional style into politics. He’s decided to fight for election as Mayor of Middlesbrough and go head to head with the current mayor, “Robocop” Ray Mallon. Cockerill believes he can use his powers of persuasion to get the voters to back him.
Physically, Brian Cockerill is hugely intimidating. In one of the film’s most disturbing scenes, he demonstrates fighting techniques to Donal MacIntyre. These include how to yank out a man’s eye from its socket. To keep one step ahead of his enemies, Cockerill trains three times a day. He’s a 22 stone, steroid-filled fighting machine who claims never to have lost a fight.
MacIntyre’s Underworld: The Taxman is a powerful film that reveals a parallel justice system that appears to operate in many of 21st century Britain’s towns and cities.
Channel 5 - Tues 21st Nov 2006
Paddy Conroy was one of the most influential gang leaders in Newcastle and is at the centre of an on-going battle with rival crime families in the city’s West End. He was dubbed Britain’s most wanted man after escaping from police custody before being caught and convicted of kidnap and torture. The court heard how he pulled out a rival’s tooth with a pair of pliers. He was sentenced to 12 years in a category ‘A’ prison.
We met Paddy at home following his early release after a decade in prison. As part of his bail conditions, he remains on licence. Therefore even a minor offence, or associating with other criminals, could land him back in jail. Within weeks of his release, a rival firm has put a £100,000 contract on his head and his enemies are taunting him in public.
If Paddy is to keep his freedom he needs to learn to hold back. And this won't be an easy task for a man a reputation for settling scores.