By Ray Ray Bishop
Here’s an extract from Inside Times, by the legend Noel Razor Smith. Coincidently Razor’s blog about Christmas in Jail is coming up next. (Nicely done, Keef)
Once an outlaw, Ray’s living the high life after years spent in and out of prison
Ray Bishop has had a somewhat chequered life. He was well-known on the landings of top security prisons, no stranger to drugs and violence he served double-figure sentences for armed robbery, possession of firearms and people-smuggling. He escaped the dock of a magistrate’s court using a homemade syringe and needle held to a guard’s neck and spent months on the run.
After years of crime and punishment, Ray applied for HMP Grendon, and spent 4 years in intensive group therapy. Whilst getting himself clean of drugs and working to change his life, he also learned to box at the age of 36 whilst in prison.
Ray was released in 2008, and whilst working a day-job as a scaffolder he also became the British Middleweight Boxing Champion (unlicensed) and fought all-comers. He held the title from 2009 until 2011, when he retired from boxing undefeated. Then Ray decided to write a book about his life. Outlaw, Britain’s most wanted man (Virgin Books) turned out to be unlucky for Ray. The week before the book came out a national newspaper published an interview with Ray, including his photo.
After the article appeared, two people phoned the police and informed them that they recognised Ray as a man who had robbed/or attempted to rob their premises in 1993.
Once again, Ray was arrested. The judge who sentenced Ray considered that these crimes had been committed long before he had cleaned his act up in therapy, and that Ray had since been living a straight life. He sentenced Ray to 5-years imprisonment, telling him that it would have been double-figures but for his guilty plea and the crimes had been committed 20-years before.
With quite a few under his belt, Ray shares his experience of Christmas in jail.
“Christmas and New Year has to rank as one of the most difficult times in prison for both prisoners and more importantly their families. Men and women incarcerated at this time really feel the consequences of their actions.
I spent many years in jail at this time which should be spent around the family. Thinking long and hard and asking the question was it really worth it, in the knowledge that I had two beautiful children out there who needed a father. For me Xmas was a lonely time and one often spent in deep regret and morbid reflection.
I never seemed to be fortunate enough to be in a jail with a chimney and Santa made no guest appearance at any institution that I was ever in . Christmasses today are special and the greatest gift that i have today is freedom and nothing santa could bring me could ever equal that.”
Ray Bishop Outlaw 16 years in Prison before redemption.
Ray served that sentence and was released in January 2017. He immediately set about putting a new life together and today, just over a year after his release, runs Armour Scaffolding UK, supplying labour and qualified scaffolders in London and Kent.
Of course James English has interviewed him – he’s a face!