The Cat's Cuttings
What, this? Oh, you’ve never seen this before. Well, that’s understandable – I only bring it out on a few occasions now, but I can tell you all about it. These are my press cuttings – well, in a way. You see, there has always been a passion in this country for “True Life” tales to appear in a variety of woman’s magazines. You know the sort of thing – “My husband left me for my sister”, “I married the Hounslow Hound,” that sort of thing.
Well, every so often in the woman’s mags or the true crime periodicals one of my visits would appear. No, I never appeared by name, but when it did either I saw it or a colleague did it, and I got a copy for my scrapbook.
Take this one – “After I went for a ride, I was taken for one!” Here’s the real story behind that...
It was about 1975, and I was out in the Yorkshire countryside, seeing what I could find at one of the training stables that seemed to be everywhere there at the time. I hadn’t been spotted by anyone as I made my way from room to room, collecting a few things as I went, and I had even managed to sneak out of the rear of the house when I saw an open door at the other side of the courtyard. Well, I was still young at that time, so I quickly made my way over to see if there was anything of interest in there.
There was a small office, but the safe was locked, and I was about to give it up as a bad job when I heard the sound of hooves in the courtyard. Standing to the side of the window, I saw a dark haired woman riding in on a great huge brown mare, a stable boy coming out to meet her.
She was about five foot ten, with long black hair and shining blue eyes. From my viewpoint, I could see her bum moving with the tight jodhpurs she was wearing, never mind the straight black riding boots. She also had a checked jacket on, and as she walked in my direction I could see the open white blouse underneath with the scarf tied like a cravat. Although the saddle was still on the horse as she was led away, this woman was bringing the tackle and bridle in with her – right to where I was hiding.
I literally had seconds, but there was nowhere to hide – the only other furniture in the office was a wooden table with a couple of rugs thrown on top. Instead, I decided to sneak behind the door and take my chances in getting out without been seen.
Naturally, therefore, instead of leaving the door open and looking straight ahead the first thing this woman does is close the door and see me standing there. She stared at me for a moment, until I said “Good afternoon – I hope you don’t mind, but I’m robbing you. Please, don’t scream.”
She kept staring at me for a moment, before unbuttoning her jacket and hanging it on the back of the door. “You’re not going to harm me, are you,” she asked, and smiled as I shook my head. “Well then,” she said as she sat on the table, “I guess I’ll have to let you rob me and stop me raising the alarm.”
“Very decent of you,” I said, but before she could reply she did something unexpected to me. Taking her scarf off from around her neck, I watched her fold it into a wide band, the royal gold pattern clearly visible, and then pull it around her own mouth. “Ushtees” she mumbled as she handed me the leather straps, and then lay on the rugs, her hands behind her back and looking over her shoulder at them.
Now, I had used many things to tie women up in my time, from wool to tape and from string to thick rope, but never had I used a set of leather tack. Eventually, I managed to use one strap to secure her wrists behind her back in a box fashion, another wrapped around her ankles several times, and then placed her in a hogtie.
You can bet I got out of there fairly sharpish – and she got a measly £100 for selling her story later.
Now this one – “Working from Home was not Safe!” – this actually has a bit of a back story to it. While it was about a home worker been robbed, it also had a bit of a farcical side to it – let me explain...
This would be, oh, 1988, and I was passing through Nottingham when I decided to stop and visit a large house on the outskirts of the city. I parked a short distance away, walked round the perimeter of the house and eventually made my way in through an open window on the ground floor at the rear.
There was no sign of anybody on the premises, so I made my way upstairs and started to search through the master bedroom. I found a few items of interest, and some of even greater interest. The signs were there were only two people in the house - a man and woman – and no sign of any other residents.
Satisfied I had what I could get, I was about to leave when I heard the sound of a kettle starting to boil. I looked out, saw nobody about, and cautiously made my way downstairs. In the kitchen I could see a tall, well built woman standing by the work surface, putting something into a cup. She had long brown hair, which fell loosely over the collar of her starched white blouse. She was also wearing a pale blue skirt, with a black leather belt around her waist, and leather shoes which were a vibrant red in colour.
Anyway, she had blocked my way out, and I was rather impatient to get going, so I grabbed her from behind and held for a few minutes, telling her to calm down as she tried to struggle free from my grip. There was a dry washcloth on the surface, so I did something I rarely did before or since to shut her up – picked it up, wadded in into a pad and shoved into her open mouth as I took my hand away.
She turned her head and stared at me with piercing blue eyes, before I pulled a length of cord out of my pocket and tied her wrists together, crossed behind her back. There was also a roll of wide packing tape, blue in colour, in front of her, so I did something else I rarely do – picked it up, tore some strips off and plastered them over her mouth and jaw to keep the pad in place.
Why did I do that? Damned if I know – for some reason, I just knew I had to keep her quiet. At any rate, I told her to shut up and tell me where her office was. She nodded in the direction of a room off the corridor, so I took her by the arm and led her there, struggling all the time.
Now, I had been, what – twenty years in the business by that time, so you think I would have picked up on a few signals. But no, I pushed her into the room in front of me – and stopped dead at what I saw in there.
The floor was littered with papers and files, and in the corner sat cowering was another woman, who I would swear was a relative of the first. She was dressed in as blue short sleeved dress, with a skirt that came to three inches above her knee and a black belt around her waist, and a pair of heeled black leather shoes. What was remarkable about her was she was already bound an d gagged – her arms were pinned behind her back, her ankles tied together and to her wrists as she sat there, and rope around her arms and chest. She also had blue tape over her mouth, and was trying to call out to me for some sort of help.
I looked at my captive, and said “Your work?” She nodded, so I decided to play along. Pushing her down on her stomach, I brought her legs up and tied the ankles together, then to her wrists in a hogtie.
I had no idea what I had walked into, and quite frankly I did not want to know. I turned and made my way out of there as fast as you can. Later, this story turned up in the paper. Personally, I think it was an attempt at an insurance fraud – otherwise there would have been a trial for burglary and embarrassing questions...
Now this one – “pounced on by the Pink Prowler” was half true – I did break into a house and have to secure someone in pink, but she pushed the agenda on that one. It also led indirectly to the next cutting – “Raunchy Ravings in Redding!”
Early 1990, and I was searching through a flat in Knightsbridge when the flat owner came in with her mother. The owner was in her early twenties, with red hair cut to her collar, and was dressed in a pink jacket and tight skirt with matching shoes. Her mother had short cropped reddish-brown hair, a few inches shorter, and wearing a white jumper and dark grey slacks.
Well, naturally they were both surprised to see me in the flat, and even when I said IO did not wish to harm them the younger girl was determined to try and attack me. It took all my strength to pull her arm up behind her back, and I said to her mother “Are you going to give me as much bother?”
To my surprise she simply said “No,” and sat down, crossing her legs as she did so. “I guess you are going to steal her jewellery – serves her right for been so greedy," she said as she looked up and smiled at me.
Well, her daughter just stared at her, as she continued “Come on, dear – you have too much anyway, and you’re well insured. This seems like a nice enough man – and quite handsome, I might add – why struggle? After all, he may just be forced to tie you up very tightly indeed.”
Swear to god, the last thing I expected was for the daughter to say “Yes, Mother,” and go limp. “That’s a good girl,” the older woman said as she stood up. “Why don’t you hold on to her and I’ll fetch you some rope?”
“What’s going on here,” I said to her as her mother left the room. “It’s a game she likes to play with me,” the woman said without raising her head, “Please, just take what you find, but do as she asks you to.”
“Bit of a disciplinarian, is she?” I said jokingly, but to my shock she simply nodded. At any rate, the older woman then walked in with a bundle of white rope, handed me a length and said 2Get going – as tightly as you can.”
She watched as I did what was probably the most through and tight tie-up I had ever carried out. I asked the younger woman to kneel, and bound her wrists together behind her back, followed by her elbows until they almost touched. I then wound loop after loop of rope around her upper body, pulling her arms tightly into her side and encircling her breasts with rope.
Once that was done, I helped her to sit down and tied her ankles, thighs, claves and upper legs together, cinching each set of bonds. “You do a good job,” she whispered as I finally stood up. “Now, make sure I cannot call out.”
Her mother handed me a large pair of blue knickers and some clear tape, so rather reluctantly I pushed them into her mouth an wrapped her lower head with the tape. I kept asking if she was all right, and she kept assuring me she was.
“That should teach her a lesson,” the mother said as she laid herself down on the couch. “Now, you may bind my wrists and ankles – but as I cooperated fully, I expect you to be gentler with me.”
“Will she be all right,” I said as did as she had asked. “Oh yes – I used to punish her like this all the time. Secretly, I think she likes it.” Her daughter looked up at her and shook her head, but she just smiled back.
“My handbag is in the hallway – if you look in there, you will find a headscarf that you may use to gag me,” she said. As I walked back in, she also said “I have a card in there – would you do me a large favour?”
“That depends on the favour,” I said as I folded the scarf into a band.
“Take the card, and call on me on Saturday at eight – no tricks. There is something you may be able to help me with.”
I gagged her, and left the two of them there – but I took the card and did a little quiet investigating of my own.
Saturday at eight and I knocked on the front door. The older woman opened the door and smiled. She was wearing a red velvet dress, with stockings and shoes.
“Thank you for coming,” she said as she let me in. “Do not worry – I did not give the police a description of you, and my daughter has equally been discrete.”
“You said you wished to ask a favour of me,” I said as she opened the door to the living room. “I do not usually make house calls invited, even to Redding.”
“I do indeed - this is my friend, Marjorie, and you may call me Agatha,” she said as she showed me in. Sitting on a recliner was another woman, slightly taller than Agatha, with short mousey brown hair. She had on a black blouse, with some sort of patterned top underneath, and short skirt with stockings and shoes.
“So this is the one who taught Jennie the lesson,” she said as she stood up and shook my hand. “I hope he is good as you say he is.”
“I’m afraid I still don’t understand,” I said as I looked at the two women, “What exactly do you want me to do?”
“To enact a little fantasy for us,” Agatha said as she picked up a pair of long black opera gloves and pulled them on. “Marjorie and I are about to return from an evening at the theatre, and we will disturb you at work. We want you to leave us as damsels in distress – but we want to take part in the binding ourselves. Can you do that for us?”
“I suppose I can – how do you wish to be left? I normally leave those I come across fairly decent.”
“Indulge us – remove our dresses when the time comes.”
“And in return?”
“You will find – payment upstairs. We will be back in ten minutes.”
The two women stood up and left, as I looked at some items they had left on the couch. Well, I had nothing better to do that night, so I waited behind the door as they walked in.
“Good evening ladies,” I said as I closed the door on them and pointed the toy gun they had left in their direction. “Please, no loud or sudden noises. Both of you, hands on your heads and sit down on that recliner.”
“What are you going to do to us,” Marjorie said as she took her seat.
“Well, I need to make sure I cannot raise the alarm, so do exactly as I say. Do you both see the ropes on the seat there? Take a piece each and tie your ankles together – tightly. I’ll be watching.”
It was quite a sight as they both picker up the rope in their gloved hands and bound their ankles together, side by side, and cinched the cords with the ends passed between their legs. They both looked at each other, smiled, and then back at me.
“There’s another length there,” I said as I looked at them. “Tie your legs together above your knees – same way as before.” I watched as Agatha folded the skirt of her dress back and pulled her legs together, while Marjorie simply pulled them together below the hem of her skirt. Once they had finished, they both put their hands on their heads and looked at me.
“Right, which of you wants to be first,” I said as I pointed the gun at them. “Please don’t hurt us,” Marjorie said. “Keep calm ladies,” I replied, “I meant who wants to be first to have their wrists tied.”
“I will,” Agatha said as she stood up on her legs. “Take me over there so that Marjorie cannot see.” As I helped her to hop over, she whispered, “Take my dress off me first.” “Are you sure," I mouthed back, but she nodded enthusiastically.
“Put your hands by your side,” I said as I stood her in front of a sideboard and slowly pulled the zip down the back of her dress. As it fell to the floor, I saw she was wearing a red bra with black floral detail, black pants and suspenders from the pants to her stockings. Taking her arms gently behind her back, I lashed her wrists together, and then her elbows, making sure they almost touched as I passed the rope around and between them.
“I hope that is not too uncomfortable,” I said as I walked round her front, and saw her eyes were closed. “Hmmm – no, that’s good,” she said quietly as she opened her eyes, watching as I helped Marjorie to hop over and stand next to her.
“Take your blouse and skirt off,” I said, and I realised quickly the brown floral top I had seen under her blouse was actually her bra. Ten minutes later, she also had her wrists and elbows tied, as I walked round and looked at the two of them.
“Now, you are not going to be any trouble, are you,” I said as I looked at them, squirming in their bonds. “No, but we might call out,” Marjorie said as she closed her eyes, “and you need to leave us alone here.”
“Quite true,” I said as I picked up the roll of brown plaster they had left on the couch, “Let me take care of that for you.” I gagged both woman, the material fitting to the shape of their lisp and mouths as I pressed it into place, before leaving the room to look upstairs.
I peeked in a few minutes later, to see them facing each other, pressing their faces together. Discretely, I left them to their evening and departed, the envelope of cash in my pocket.
Oh come on, don’t judge me – I didn’t judge them!
Now this one – “More Tied Up, Vicar?” – This one was a little closer to the sort of visit I prefer to make, although it was actually a bit more of a surprise.
This would be 1983, and I was visiting a village in the Cotswolds where the annual fete was taking place. This was still the sort of place where the whole village would turn out for an event such as this, so that naturally left a lot of nice looking houses empty, which was perfect for somebody like me.
At any rate, I was on my – oh, my fifth house when my luck finally ran out. I managed to search the upstairs bedroom without any trouble, but I had for once failed to hear the door downstairs opening. So, when I went to make my way back out of the kitchen door, I was confronted by a middle aged woman with shoulder length brown hair. She was wearing a sun yellow dress, long sleeved with a warp round style skirt and lace trim on the cuffs, v-neck collar and skirt hem. There was a white leather belt round her waist, and the front panels at her shoulders had a lattice effect sewn into the dress. A pair of white strapped sandals was on her feet, and a small necklace of gold around her neck.
She was surprised to see me there, dressed in black with a hat over my head, but seemed to want to stay calm. “Good afternoon,” she said quietly, “I was about to make some tea – would you like a cup?”
“I would be delighted to,” I said as I stood and watched her. She placed some hot water in the pot, fetched two cups and saucers, and asked me to follow her into her front room.
“You must be wondering what I was doing in your house,” I said as I sat down and accepted a cup. “Well, actually, yes I was, although I do get a lot of unexpected visitors in my line of work,” was her reply as she lifted her cup to her lips.
“Oh, and what line of work is that?”
“I’m the local Methodist minister,” she said as she put her cup down on the table. “So, what line of work are you in?”
“Well, I’m afraid I actually intend to steal your jewellery. I hope you’re not going to make too much of a fuss about it.”
She smiled as she raised her cup again. “If I wanted to make a fuss, I would have screamed before now. As it is, I always wondered what drives somebody to do that. Do you mind if we talk – you strike me as a most fascinating character.”
There then followed the most fascinating hour, as I told her something of my life and we discussed matters of right and wrong, and moral issues in a way that came freely and easily. Eventually, however, she put her cup down and looked at me.
“So tell me, what happens if you encounter the housowner in your line of work.”
“Well, I try hard not to, and if I do I usually try and get out as quickly as I can,” I said as I looked at her. “Sometimes, however, I do have to prevent them raising the alarm.”
“Yes, I was afraid of that – what’s that verse again? Oh yes – Mark 3 verse 27”
“If anyone wants to go into a strong man's house and steal his things, he must first tie the strong man. Then he can steal his things.”
“I’m impressed”, she said with a smile, “but I am not a strong man, so what are you going to do?”
“Be gentle,” I said as I reached into my bag and drew out a length of white cord. Standing up and walking over to sit beside her, I said “Please, turn round and put your hands behind your back. I will be as quick as I can.”
Ten minutes later, she was watching as I lashed he rankles together, while trying to move her wrists from where I had tied them together. “You know what you are doing,” she said as I stood up and walked into the corridor for a moment, returning with a rolled up grey and white scarf.
“Please sit quietly – I’m sure someone will come soon,” I said as I pulled the scarf into her mouth. Maybe not the most effective gag, but I did not want to inconvenience this woman of God any more than was absolutely necessary. As I picked up my bag, she smiled and nodded at me, watching me leave the room and make my way back to the kitchen.
Now then, now then – “Bound Up At The Bar!” This was one of those occasions when I actually bumped into somebody I had visited before – and not the most pleasant of experiences for me, I have to admit.
I was on holiday on Jersey, and sitting quietly in the hotel bar having a drink when this young woman walked in. She was dark haired, and wearing a tight black dress with a low cut front and short skirt. She had an extra couple of inches in height thanks to the wedge heeled sandals she was wearing, and made her way straight to the bar that I was sat opposite. She glanced in my direction as I sat there, but it was enough for me to recognise her, even five years later.
She had been one of those rare occasions when I had had to secure a younger girl. She had bunked off school to do something at her house, but unfortunately she had walked in instead on me searching her mother’s jewellery boxes. I had to tie her on her mother’s bed, hands behind her back and ankles crossed, and gagged her by using her school tie to hold a pair of her mother’s knickers in her mouth. Not nice, not pretty, but there you are.
Anyway, here she was now, and I had no real way of getting out of there without her seeing me. So I sat and waited.
And waited until the hotel barman closed the bar and left just her and me sitting there. She turned and looked at me for a moment, before coming over and sitting next to me.
“I know you from somewhere, don’t I” she said as the barman nodded at me, as the only man left, and walked off.
“No – no I don’t think we’ve ever met,” I said as she looked closely at me. Suddenly her eyes widened, and I knew that she had remembered. I reached over, grabbed her wrists with my hand and said “Don’t say a word, all right? Yes, I remember you, but I have no wish to talk about that time. It was in the past, so forget it.”
“I can’t” she said quietly, “I swore that you would pay for humiliating me like that. I’m going to...”
“Do nothing,” I hissed, “I just want to have a quiet holiday, and I’m sure you do as well. Are you going to spoil it for both of us?”
“Why – what are you going to do about it,” she sneered.
“Teach you some manners,” I said as I took her by the arm and stood up. There were some lengths of rope coiled up behind the bar, probably to tie together bottles for a display. I walked her over, grabbed one and made her bend over the bar as I tied her wrists together, then sat her down on a stool.
“So much for my quiet holiday,” I said as I tied her ankles tightly together. “Now I’m just going to have to rob this bar and leave you here. Thanks for nothing.”
“You’re welc...” she started to say, but then I heard a voice say “What’s happening here?”
I turned round and saw the daughter of the hotel manager standing there, in a white camisole vest top and blue miniskirt, looking at both of us. “Well,” I said, “I’m robbing the bar thanks to your guest here – and now I need to decide what to do about you as well.”
She stood there, her hands running through her brown hair, before picking up a roll of duct tape. To my great surprise, she gagged the other girl, before saying “I guess you had to tie me up as well. She was rude to me and my dad earlier, so she’s just getting what she deserved.”
The young girl climbed up on a bar stool, looked at me and said “Come on then – you need to tie me up as well, don’t you?” I bound her wrist and ankles, noting the white wedge sandals she was wearing, before taking a bar towel and rolling it into a gag, which went between her lips as I secured it at the back of her neck.
“GTGNG” she mumbled as I emptied the till and made my way back to my room. I had an early ferry to catch...
So, what’s this last... Ah, yes. Now, I need to explain something here. I am, or was, a cat burglar, and that was my speciality. Yes, I was sometimes found, but I specialised in quick and simple jobs, and I always tried to treat anyone I came across with due respect. Always.
So those of my fraternity who specialised in more violent jobs were people I had very little truck with. There were also people I knew who specialised in kidnapping, but by and large we left each other alone. The two, however, sometimes came together with results I never liked.
In the mid-70’s there were a series of very high powerful kidnappings – young girls were snatched from their homes, often with other relatives been left bound, gagged and battered, and held for ransoms of a very high value. They were usually returned, but never spoke of their ordeals. They stopped very suddenly, and the gang were convicted, but nobody ever knew how the gang were discovered – except me.
The last victim was a young heiress, Natasha Gregson. She had been taken from her house, after her mother and the housekeeper had been forced to strip to their underwear, assaulted and then left bound and gagged. The papers were full of the story for several days, but nobody could find the two men who did the kidnapping, or Natasha.
A week or so later, I broke into a house in Ealing, looking for jewellery and money. It was off Paternoster road, on a quiet residential area, and I knew there was nobody home – I’d watched the young couple leave earlier. So I had plenty of time to make my way through the rooms – until I got to one of the back bedrooms.
Now, I had been lucky, in that I had found quite a few nice items of jewellery and rare coins. But when I walked into the room, I found the most surprising site of all. Sitting against the opposite wall was – well, I presumed it was a young woman, from the way the black body suit was fitting her figure from head to toe. I mean it when I said it was hugging her figure – her red-brown hair and blue eyes were all that I could see, as she was covered from head to foot by the suit except for two small holes for her nostrils.
It was shiny black, which made the contrast with the white ropes that seemed to almost cocoon her all the more remarkable. Her wrists were secured by almost rope handcuffs in front of her, but her arms were held tightly to her side by an intricate mesh of ropes that squeezed her and forced her breasts out totally. Her legs were covered in band after band, making it almost impossible to see the tops of the laced leather boots that were on her legs and feet. The rope even went under the soles and around the stiletto heels, as she stared at me wide eyed.
I remember saying something like “What on earth have we go there” as I walked towards her. She did not say a word, just tried to raise her legs and thump them down on the floor.
As I knelt next to her, I could hear a much muffled sound, but all she seemed to do was stare at me, almost pleading with those eyes of hers. “Would you like me to take the hood off,” I asked, and she slowly nodded. I reached behind her head and slowly untied the thongs holding the mask over her head, taking it down on over her face.
As I looked at her, I recognised the girl – after all, her picture had been on the front of every paper. It was Natasha Gregson herself, her mouth and lower jaw covered with strips of white tape and obvious signs of something filling her mouth behind the tape. There were ugly blue wheals on her cheeks, and it was obvious she had been crying for some time.
“£My god,” I said quietly as I examined the ropes. There was no way I could free her quickly, and no way could I carry her out. Swallowing, I turned and looked at her.
“Listen, I cannot free you now, but I can see you have been very brave,” I said quietly. “I need to ask you to be brave a short while longer, will you do that for me?” She moaned at me, but I said “It will only be for a short while, I promise you. All right?” Eventually she nodded as I tied the mask back over her head and slipped out of the room.
Half an hour later, I was sitting in a car watching as the young couple pulled up and walked out. They looked perfectly normal in every respect, not the sort of people you would expect to carry out such a crime. There was a knock on the window, and I rolled it down to see the friendly face of DCI George “Bulldog” Drummond looking at me.
“Afternoon, George,” he said as he looked in. “Are you on the up and up on this?”
“Have I ever lied to you before, George?”
“Yes – but not about something like this. I’ll talk to you later.”
With that he walked off as I drove in the opposite direction. The headline you see here is the one in the papers next day.
“Kidnap Gang Arrested – Natasha Gregson Freed From Ordeal.”
Enough for today, I think – don’t you?