True Crime & Justice

Rettendon Murders Documentary: Essex Boys The Truth

The 1995 Rettendon murders saw a triple gangland slaying. In Essex Boys: The Truth, the real story of what happened and the ensuing fallout is revealed. On 6 December 1995, Tony Tucker, (38), Patrick Tate, (37) and Craig Rolfe, (26) were found dead from gunshot wounds inside a range rover on a lane next to the A130 at Rettendon, Essex.

Today on the 20th anniversary of the Rettendon murders, Bernard O’Mahoney, a founding member of the Essex firm and author of a tell all book, reveals the truth of what happened that December night. In 1990’s Essex, the underground drugs trade was ruled by ruthless individuals who would stop at nothing to gain wealth from their illegal operations.

“Bernard O’Mahoney knows the real story of what happened that night and the ensuing fallout and wants to put to rest the ghosts of those violent years, to see justice served for all and finally, to open the way for the truth to come out.”

In a new feature-length documentary film covering the events in the years 1995 to 2015, Essex Boys: The Truth reveals the details of the Rettendon murders and the brutal aftermath that followed.

Essex Boys: The Truth

Amazon Exclusive DVD and eBook released of Essex Boys: The Final Word: No More Myths, No More Lies – The Definitive Story on 14 December 2015, followed by general DVD release on 4 January 2016 from Metrodome.

Rettendon Murders: Who Says Crime Doesn’t Pay?

Tony Tucker ran a lucrative security business throughout Essex, employing bouncers for nightclubs and thereby providing a vehicle to channel his drug supply. He worked with Michael Steele, a drugs smuggler bringing drugs in from abroad and distributing them through local clubs under the menace of Tucker and his associates.

Bouncers would control who could enter the clubs and sell the drugs, taking a portion of their profits in the process to feed back to Tucker. Bernard O’Mahoney, who today is a crime writer, has a chilling past littered with violence and intimidation. Working the doors of Essex nightclubs he soon began working with Tony Tucker and over time he became acquainted with the other players, Patrick Tate and Craig Rolfe.

The death of 18-year-old Leah Betts in November 1995 brought a media storm to the town of Basildon in Essex with the activities of these men soon coming under the spotlight.  Leah Betts died after taking an ecstasy tablet purchased at Raquel’s nightclub where Bernard O Mahoney ran the door. The media attention and realisation that a young girl had lost her life began to cause rifts between the men.

Internal arguments rose between former friends and they began to turn on each other. In the world of gangs and drugs, this meant death threats and continued ruthless violence.  Just weeks after the tragic death of Leah Betts, the Essex Boys as they had become known, were found dead.

In early 1996 Darren Nicholls, a local small time criminal, was arrested and charged with conspiracy to import cannabis. In trying to avoid a lengthy prison sentence, he began to tell police his version of what happened on that night six months previously.

According to Nicholls, he was the getaway driver for Michael Steele and Jack Whomes who he claims committed the murders.  Turning ‘super grass’ on his former partners granted Nicholls a reduced sentence of 15 months which he had already served on remand.

While investigations and speculation on the evidence of Darren Nicholls continued, known players in Essex began to feud over the dead men’s turf.

Malcolm Walsh led the pack alongside his partners Damon Alvin, Ricky Percival and Steve ‘Nipper’ Ellis.  As their empire grew, further eruptions of violence saw Malcolm Walsh killed in 1998 in a ruthless attack in front of his own children, pushing Damon Alvin into retaliation.

More violence followed with an armed assault on the Tretton family believed to have been responsible for the death of Malcolm Walsh. A known associate of Damon Alvin and police informer Dean Boshell was killed soon after.

In January 1998, Michael Steele and Jack Whomes were convicted of the December 1995 Rettendon murders with the evidence of their once associate Darren Nicholls being the basis of their conviction.  Despite a number of appeals, Steele and Whomes remain in prison with another five years to serve before they can be considered for release.

Darren Nicholls was given a new identity under the Witness Protection Programme and is currently living at an unknown location in the UK having no charges brought against him.

Charged with triple attempted murder for the attack on the Tretton family, Damon Alvin turned on his associate, Ricky Percival, accusing him of murdering Dean Boshell and being involved in the Tretton shooting.  The principal witness in the prosecution case, his evidence saw Ricky Percival convicted and sentenced to four counts of 28 years in prison in December 2006.

Damon Alvin was man with a violent history, a dishonest nature and heavy involvement in underground activities; this was an informant that many people were surprised police took seriously. In the first case in UK history, Damon Alvin was the defendant and a prosecution witness in the same murder trial.  While Ricky Percival was given a life sentence, Damon Alvin, through giving evidence against him, evaded justice.

Essex Boys: A Terrifying Expose Of The British Drugs Scene by Bernard O’Mahoney – The true story of the rise of the Essex Boys, one of the most violent and successful criminal gangs of the 1990’s. Built on the back of dealing drugs it was their activities which supplied the pill that killed Leah Betts.


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  • Hi there I like yourself am intrigued by the dark side to human nature and how barbaric the underworld can be for money… I’ve looked at a few of your columns and have found them very interesting… Keep up the good work. Richard

  • Hi Richard, thank you for your kind words on the blog, they are much appriciated. The criminal world and the psychology of crime is such a vast area and when money is involved they appear to become even more ruthless. The draw of cash clearly for some people is enough to override that inner sense of right and wrong and acts as a justification. Another area of criminal behaviour that I find particularily fascinating! Thanks for stopping by!

  • They were 3 bullies who thought they were untouchable.
    They ripped off a lot of people, particularly criminals from Canning Town, which isn’t a smart move even for the more “respected” criminal.

    Is it really a huge surprise that these 3 “people” ( and I use that term loosely ) were found dead with their bodies in a mess ?

    Tate, was a nice enough individual, although extremely short tempered before he met Tucker. Together the pair thought they were invincible and look where they ended up.

    What happened to Malcolm was down to a pathetic argument & threats which got out of hand and the fact that he was murdered in front of his own children was enough to warrant retribution towards the Trettons.

    Essex is a much better place without Tucker, Tate & Rolfe.

    To say O’Mahoney was a “Founding Member” of the Essex Boys is rubbish & laughable.
    He operated a door under the control of Tucker’s door firm.
    That’s it.. he had NO involvement in any of their other activities otherwise he would have found himself at the end of a shotgun barrel too.
    Since the deaths of his former associates, O’Mahoney has attempted to portray the image that for some reason he was lucky he also wasn’t murdered that night. He also sets himself up as someone who knows the “truth” about their deaths.

    Rubbish, because if he did know the real identity of the killers, he would have had to divulge that information to the police or face charges.

    He doesn’t know what happened that night, only the 3 men who are now dead & the 2 killers know the identities of the people who pulled the triggers.

    I really wish people would stop pushing O’Mahoney’ books as his ego is about as big as his stomach

  • Agree, i think the right guys are in prison for this due to having 3 appeals quashed… there must be a shed load of evidence used against them that is not available to the public for reasons such as it being sensitive information or a danger to the witnesses involved.

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