1990’s Essex Boys

I decided to look as the notorious Essex Boys as I am from Essex and know a bit about the subject. Some time during the night on the 6th of December 1995 three men, all career criminals and drug dealers, were shot with a shotgun as they sat in a Range Rover parked in a remote farm track in Essex. After a long trial, engineer Michael Steele and mechanic Jack Whomes were convicted largely on the word of Darren Nicholls over a gangland dispute over drugs. Nicholls was a former friend who claimed he had driven the pair to the scene and picked them up after the killing. There was no forensic evidence against the pair and no eyewitnesses who saw them in the area on the night of 6 December 1995. The informant Mr Nicholls, who had been charged with conspiracy to import cannabis, was later given credit for turning Queen’s Evidence and was sentenced to 15 months in jail.

Unknown to the defence at the time, Mr Nicholls, then under police protection, had entered into a contract with a journalist to collaborate on a book about the case to be published after the trial.

The appeal hearing was told that Mr Nicholls was thought to have received between £15,000 and £20,000 for the book and to have received money for participating in a television film about the life of a supergrass

During the case, the trial judge, Mr Justice Hidden, said in his summing up to the jury: “Nicholls is a convicted criminal who was engaged in drug abuse and the importation of drugs into this country. You must bear in mind it was in his own interest to become a prosecution witness… he hopes to get less time to serve.2

This led to films being created portraying some of the events films included Essex Boys, Bonded by blood and rise of the foot soilders:


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