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Tam " The Licensee " McGraw

02 Dec

Thomas  "The Licensee"  McGraw  was  reported  to  have  amassed  millions  of  pounds  from  his  drug  dealing,  private taxi  firms  and  extortion  until  he  died  of  a suspected  heart  attack  at  his  plush  Mount  Vernon  home  near  Glasgow  on  Monday  30  July,  2007.




mcgraw-imageTam McGraw, formerly known as 'McGrow' until one day he decided to change his surname, was born in the east end of Glasgow on 19 February, 1952. Like countless other youngsters growing up in Glasgow's tough slums and rundown neighborhoods it seemed the young McGraw was destinedglasgow-houses for a life of violence, deception, crime and notoriety. In his early years he was arrested for all sorts of minor offenses including burglary and shoplifting. He spent most of his teens in and out of Larchgrove Assessment Center for Boys, as well as his fair  share  of List-D Schools, Approved Schools and  inevitably  Borstal.

McGraw's progression into criminality was predictable, eventually hooking up with the local gang The Barlanark Team and together they began specializing in the armed holdups of armored Royal Mail trucks. The gang carried out these armed robberies with devastating effect, hitting them all over Scotland in some cases. It didn't take the Glasgow Serious Crime Squad long to work out who was behind these daring daylight heists and so they set about hunting down McGraw and his other gang members that included his younger brother, Francis. It all came to a head when McGraw and some of his gang members were arrested during a bungled robbery attempt at a Social Club on the Glasgow outskirts. The cops chased McGraw on foot after a high speed pursuit in the getaway vehicle after it crashed and overturned. It's at this stage of McGraw's  life  where a lot of speculation arises from him being a potential police informer. All charges in relation to his activities were dropped and he would later be acquitted of the attempt murder of a police officer in 1978. There's no doubt McGraw built up a more-than-friendly association with many influential policemen in Glasgow, especially later in his criminal career!

In 1971 an 18-year old McGraw married his childhood sweetheart nicknamed Margaret 'The Jeweler' at a Glasgow register office. mags-mcgrawTogether they would become a fearsome duo when it came to shrewd business and criminality though it's widely accepted that his wife was the real brains in the relationship. Margaret was called the Jeweler because of her love of wearing gold and other precious stones and jewellery. Their marriage produced an only child, their son by the name of William - aka Winky.

doyle-fireIn 1984 McGraw was rumored to have been the main instigator and person behind the fire that wiped out a family of six, including an 18-month old baby when their house maliciously caught fire in an attempt to 'frighten' them into submission. And all because of an ongoing tit-for-tat battle connected to Ice Cream vans operating in the city. This would become known as 'The Glasgow Ice Cream Wars'. Thomas TC Campbell and Joseph Steele spent 18 years in jail for the murders of the Doyle family members but had their convictions overturned in March 2004. TC Campbell later accused McGraw of being the man responsible.

McGraw then ventured into the illicit drugs trade where he dealt mainly in Marijuana, cocaine and heroin. This stage of his life would propel him into the big time as gradually he began importing Class-A drugs into Britain using holiday coaches and mini buses full of unsuspecting holiday makers. This made McGraw a very wealthy man and a force to be reckoned with within the criminal underworld. It is also claimed it was McGraw's police contacts that allowed him to operate his narcotics empire with such impunity.

McGraw made massive headlines in 1998 when he was at the center of a 55-day trial at the High Court in Edinburgh - one of Scotland's longest and costliest drugs trials - during which it was alleged he bankrolled a massive drug-running operation between Spain and Scotland. He was acquitted on a unique Scottish Law majority ''not proven'' verdict but several associates, including his brother-in-law John Healy received lengthy jail terms. Healy was sentenced to 10-years!

McGraw also had a serious involvement in the liquor trade and he owned the notorious gangster hut called The Caravel. This is where he wasmags-image thought to have earned his 'Licensee' nickname, first reported in a newspaper by one of his associates and chief crime reporter for the then News of the World David Lesley. Mr Lesley would go on to pen McGraw's life story called Crimelord: The Licensee: The True Story of Tam McGraw. Another more sensational version of McGraw's life story was written by the late ghost/crime writer Reg McKay called McGraw: The Incredible Untold Story of Tam 'The Licensee' McGraw. David Lesley would also ghost write Margaret's life story called The Gangsters Wife.

royal-oak-pubOn 5 February 2004 McGraw was arrested after two of his so-called pals were gunned down as they sat chatting in the comfort of their local pub called The Royal Oak in Nitshill in the south side of Glasgow. John McCartney, 41, and Craig Devlin, 31, were both shot when two armed men wearing hooded anoraks casually walked in to the bar and blasted the pair as they sat quietly drinking their pints of beer. McGraw, who 'conveniently' walked to the bar to order a round of drinks at the precise moment the gunmen entered the pub, missed the bullets as his gullible so-called mates were shot. As drinkers dived for cover and after the shooters left, McGraw impertinently helped the badly injured men into the back of his luxury 4x4 and drove them at high-speed to the city's Southern General Hospital, even cheekily flagging down a passing police car at one stage to ensure a secure and unhindered arrival. Both men survived the double shooting but the focus was now on McGraw for setting the whole hit up in the first place.

mcgraw-houseAged just 52, McGraw died of a suspected heart attack at his plush £400,000 Mount Vernon home on the outskirts of Glasgow on Monday, 30 July 2007. It was reported McGraw spent more and more time at his home surrounded by all sorts of security measures, as well as constantly watching his favorite episodes of Star Trek on his flat screen TV, in the lead up to his death. It was reported that he and his wife Margaret had also grown apart, McGraw preferring to wrap himself around a lifestyle of alcohol and young females instead. Two years after he passed away Margaret went out of her way to marry his close friend and associate of 30 years, escort agency boss Jim McMinimee. The marriage was doomed to failure and sure enough they divorced soon after.

McGraw's only son, William aka Winky, was found dead in his Uddingston ground floor flat inwinky June 2013. Close friends had reported their concern after he hadn't been seen for several days and the police were called to his address where they found him dead in his flat. The father of two died with his death being treated as unexplained!

francis-mcgraw-imageThen McGraw's brother, Francis, was found dead at his home in Hermiston Road in the Springboig area of Glasgow. Police were called to his house around 10. 00 am on Tuesday, 27 October and they found him lying dead inside. Francis McGraw was 55 years old and it's understood he didn't socialize very much, preferring to stay indoors most of the time. His death is being treated as murder.




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