The Glasgow Curse

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Born to be Bad

15 Nov

Born to be bad: Hardman launches life of crime aged 9

 

 
 
 
 

image-sun-logoARMED ROBBER ... William Lobbanimage-me-sun

 

EXCLUSIVE

By IRINA WILKIE

Published: 15th November 2013

A HATED underworld hood has revealed he was destined for a brutal life of crime — after being born in jail to a mum from a feared gangster family.

Convicted armed robber William Lobban — once Britain’s most wanted man — spent his first six months in prison with his mother Sylvia as she served time for a mansion raid.

He was later taken in by her parents — part of Glasgow’s Manson crime clan — and shot a fellow  schoolboy  when  he  was  aged  just NINE as his life descended into violence and mayhem.

Lobban was mixed up in sickening assaults, robberies, fraud and drug dealing.

And he became notorious after he was accused of luring gun hit victims Joe ‘Bananas’ Hanlon and Bobby Glover to their deaths — apparently on the orders of Arthur ‘The Godfather’ Thompson.

 

HOOD ... Thompson

thompson-sr-sunBut in an explosive book detailing his crimes, Lobban, 45, says he had NO CHANCE of staying on the straight and narrow after falling victim to ‘The Glasgow Curse’.

He said: “Over the years, thousands have been drawn into this vile and insidious underworld.

“Once entered, it is almost impossible to escape. Many who have been sucked into it have paid for their involvement with their liberty and, in some cases, their lives.

“This is what I mean by the Glasgow Curse — I should know what I’m talking about.”

Lobban was born in February 1968 to 19-year-old Sylvia Manson at Exeter Prison, Devon, where she was serving two years for her part in a plot to steal antiques from an English country mansion.

He recalled: “While most babies come into the world in a hospital setting with their fathers or other family members there to witness the event, I arrived surrounded by prison guards.”

Under jail rules Lobban had to leave the nick at six months old and was taken in by grandparents Nessie and William Manson, who lived in Carntyne, Glasgow.

And the youngster grew up in the shadow of feared hoodlum relatives including his armed robber uncles Robert and Billy — who he was named after — and their henchmen.

Lobban recalls in his book, how they flaunted their ill-gotten wealth and inspired awe among his schoolboy friends.

He said: “It was a treat for me and my pals in the street when uncle Billy and his friends drove up to the close in their fancy E-type Jags and Jensen Interceptors. Sometimes as many as three or four cars would pull up. Burly men with long hair and sideburns, in dark suits with flares and platform shoes, would step out.

“They’d pick me up and swing me about as if I was their own. I became the centre of attention amongst the kids hanging around staring in awe.”

 

MUGSHOT ... Lobban as a young man

image-me-19-year-old-sunHis uncle Robert was sent to Perth nick for 12 years in 1968 for holding up Capaldi’s Italian ice cream factory in Springburn, Glasgow. He was later blasted in the face with a shotgun outside an East End pub in April 1983.

Meanwhile, crime boss Billy, an associate of Arthur Thompson Snr, was jailed in 1978 for a bingo hall stick-up — where he trained a sawn-off shotgun at terrified staff and threatened them with a meat cleaver.

A year later he masterminded a jailbreak from Perth jail before being nabbed by cops in Glasgow. Billy was found slumped dead at his Maryhill flat in the city in November 1997 after overdosing on painkiller co-proxamol.

Lobban admits that, as a nipper, he was mesmerised by the Mansons’ shady world — and longed to be part of it.

Aged nine he bought an airgun from a shop in Glasgow’s Duke Street and turned it on a boy from a local family, the Gilchrists, who the Mansons had fallen out with.

Lobban said: “I took aim and fired, hitting him in the thigh. What a shot! But the screams he made were too loud. I panicked.”

‘I was street’s little baddie’ The young thug ran home and stashed the shooter in a pile of bedding — moments before two cops turned up at the house.

He said: “I was the little baddie in the street and was always blamed first. The police quickly found the gun. I received a slap on the wrist as I was too young to be charged.”

Lobban was taken into care aged 10, though he would later be forced to live again with violent mother Sylvia — who eventually died aged 52 in 1999.

His criminal career began in earnest at 15 when he was busted for a £13,000 booze theft and caged for a year at Longriggend borstal.

He was jailed for six years in 1987 for robbing a guard of £10,000 at an office in Rutherglen, near Glasgow.

Sun Scotland

BEHIND BARS ... Crook's birth-place at Exeter jail

Near the end of his sentence he fled from Dungavel open prison in Lanarkshire and hid out in London — becoming the country’s most wanted man before being snared on a Westminster street in 1992. Lobban said: “Everything around me went into slow motion. I saw people running for cover.

“Police vans blocked my escape and everywhere there were plain-clothed coppers holding guns. It wasn’t fun.”

Lobban got six months for absconding and 18 months for taking a guard hostage in Perth nick.

And he was also caged for six years for robbing the Pipe Rack pub in Shettleston, Glasgow in 1991.

But the dad-of-two, who lives in Inverness-shire, says his criminal days are behind him.

He said: “I have been lucky, finally, to disentangle my life from the Glasgow Curse.”

 

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