Derby Mulhoon was a crook from the cradle onwards. At the tender age of six he blew up the family home twice within the space of three months. Unable to cope, his parents declared him unmanageable and he was sent to live in a boys home. In 1880, at the age of 12, he was expelled from the Kingswood Reformatory in Bristol for running a betting book that was allegedly turning over hundreds of pounds a week. He was only found out when one of his clients (a member of parliament) dobbed him in to avoid a prosecution. Later on Derby joined the infamous Cock Road Gang in Gloucester where he made a name for himself with highway robberies, often conducted in broad daylight.
However it was Derby’s attempt to steal the Crown Jewels with his partner Colin ‘The Twat’ Browne that sealed his reputation. On the 19th of October 1901, the two thieves dressed as cleaning staff and got themselves locked in the Tower of London with the actual cleaning crew. They proceeded to dismantle the jewel-encrusted Sovereign’s Sceptre and swallow the precious stones. They might even have got away with the crime had Colin not choked to death on one particularly large ruby. Derby was arrested shortly afterwards, tried and found guilty at the Old Bailey in one of the most sensational trials of the era. Shortly before being lead away to begin his sentence he vaulted from the dock, crying “You’ll never take me alive, coppers!” and was promptly shot dead by a copper.
Derby famously decided to opt out of the whole ‘judgement’ thing and just headed straight to Hell. Satan quickly recognised Derby’s boundless enthusiasm for trouble and started giving him and Colin little jobs to do. As these jobs often took place after dark, they were dubbed the Night Watchmen. They quickly became the Prince of Darkness’s favourite fixers, employed in all manner of dodgy capers, including the spectacular failure that became known as the Westminster job.
Amongst Derby’s interests are: