My name is Noel 0’Gara I was born in Ireland in 1944. I emigrated to London when I was 19 and there I studied and qualified as a member of the Association ‘ of Certified and Corporate Accountants. I returned to Ireland in 1970 and commenced my own business which proved to be a success. However, my first love was farming and in 1977 I purchased a large country house in the midlands of Ireland on 60 acres of land. I used to attend furniture auctions in an effort to find suitable furniture for my house, and it was at one of these auctions in May 1978 that I met Billy Tracey.
(above) Ballinahowen Court
Billy Tracey (left) and Noel O’Gara
Tracey was well dressed, witty and likeable. He appeared to know a lot about antiques and I knew little or nothing about them, so I took him at his face value. I told him that I intended to operate a bed and breakfast business in my house. He told me that he had a lot of experience with that in England and he offered the services of both himself and his wife if I ever needed any help. Tracey was uneducated but articulate.
He was intelligent and obliging. His most obvious characteristic to someone who wouldn’t know him was his incredible wit. He could have the whole room in stitches laughing all day long. He was always spotlessly clean and immaculately dressed, always finished with a silk hankie and a rosebud. He wore a large wedding band and he frequently wore a half sovereign gold ring which was set on a very ostentatious ring mount. His dress was finished with an antique silver topped cane. Tracey proved himself to be a very impressive judge of character.
For an uneducated man he showed a deep sense of understanding of human psychology. I knew there were bad bastards in the world and evil men and women and I knew there were bent cops, but I also knew that the great majority of people were good and decent. I had met and dealt with all sorts of people and I lived in the real world. I understood fantasy land and reality. I had traveled widely and lived in London for six years. I had always counted myself a good judge of character, and I didn’t ask him for character references, although I’m sure if I had, no doubt he could produce excellent ones. About a week after meeting him at the auction, I hired him to help me sort out some furnishings I had bought.
He used to stay in my house overnight and I would leave him home at the weekends or sometimes midweek. He lived in Clara, Co. Offaly with his wife in a three bedroomed semi-detached house. It was a brand new council estate and the neighbours there were all new to each other. I had ambitious plans to develop my own house, initially as a bed and breakfast place, and later as a hotel. I also planned to operate a horse riding school in the yard which had excellent accommodation for horses.
The whole establishment had been very run down and was in need of lots of repairs. It was Tracey’s job to organise the materials and the labourers for the intended work. He was a very versatile man. He knew where to get the right things at the right price and the right men for a particular job. He was Mr. Fix-it. In addition he was a bundle of fun to be around. I found him to be extremely resourceful, imaginative and very loyal.
Tracey went out of his way to impress me. He didn’t tell me that he had a criminal record until much later. He handled large sums of cash without any problem. For the first six months of our association, he appeared to have an aversion for both drink and drugs. He was hyperactive always. He was forever anxious to be out and about mixing with people and chasing women. He showed a keen interest in women right from the start of our relationship, and I took it as a lot of hot air, but as the weeks and months went by, his talk about sex and sexual fantasies became more and more obnoxious. He was an unbelievable man in his relationships and the type of people he even met.
I used to think that he was a fantasiser but as time went by I began to realise that his fantasies were in fact reality. He began to slowly reveal his past history to me, until after about six months I began to feel quite uneasy about this remarkable man. At this time I didn’t have to be told that Billy Tracey was a psychopath. I could see it. I felt he was attempting to control my life but I didn’t consider for a second that he could be a police informer. I believed that he was my best friend. When he made up his mind on something, there was no debate. Things were either black or white. You were either his friend or his enemy.
here was no room for an in between. He could for instance, pick up a dog, kiss the dog, fondle the dog, and shout about the dog up in his arms for an age solidly. Anyone looking at him would think he was crazy about dogs and had a beautiful nature. This was his front. If the owner of the dog ran foul of Tracey in some minor way he could turn on that dog without mercy. The whole world saw Billy Tracey’s bright side, and he made it very plain to be seen. However I had a few glimpses of his dark side. As time went by, it became more and more obvious that his great passion in life was his total involvement and obsession with the police. He had a deep-seated hatred for all authority but principally for the police. In fact he hated every human being.
This is what puzzled me. I couldn’t figure out why he appeared to like me. He always went out of his way to help me. Only the police knew his criminal record and the full extent of it. The public were in the dark. Like all the rest of the public, I was in the dark, and it was up to Tracey if he wanted to tell me about his past, and how much he wished to reveal. The police, who have to swear on oath, the Official Secrets Act, gave no information to me nor would they speak about any criminals record to any member of the public. It was more than their job was worth.
This is terrific cover for a criminal who moves about, but the public whom he deals with are always in the dark as to his past crimes. I taught Tracey how to drive and I got him a car. In addition I got him a passport. In October 1978 I took him on a business trip to Amsterdam for a few days. He had earlier introduced me to the world of prostitution in the massage parlours in Dublin. He was very familiar with all of them, including other prostitutes that he knew from private residences.
In Amsterdam he couldn’t wait to get to the red light district, where he really felt at home. Before leaving Amsterdam he bought a large quantity of hashish which he put in a condom and stuffed up his backside for the flight. He was absolutely calm going through Customs. In Christmas 1978 1 took him on a holiday to the Canary Islands. While I was anxious to stay on the beaches, Tracey couldn’t wait to get to Las Palmas red light district. He took me there once. It’s a rare thing for a foreign tourist to go to Las Palmas red light district, but when Tracey got into the taxi in central Las Palmas he wasn’t very long giving the taxi man directions, even though he couldn’t speak a word of Spanish. He got the message straight away.
Tracey couldn’t mind his own business. He was eternally interested in everybody else’s business, particularly in their sexual fantasies. Time and time again he was able to prove to me that his assessments of these fantasies were true. It was absolutely unbelievable but true, the accuracy with which he portrayed his ideas of what was on other peoples minds. He paraded an assortment of strange people up to my house. On one occasion he arrived with a 79 year old homosexual cleric who had just said service earlier that Sunday.
One week later he arrived with the same cleric accompanied by a Church of England bishop. While Tracey told me about their sex habits I was amazed to hear them admit to them in front of my very eyes. On another occasion he arrived up with a nun one day. He hadn’t been into the house ten minutes when he had her up in one of the bedrooms, by the way, to show her around the house, and he had persuaded her to masturbate him. I just sat in disbelief after she had left, but he later brought me up and showed me the wet stains on the carpet.
Tracey had a magic about him which was very very black. He laughed as he sent postcards from the Canary Islands to the policemen that he knew, with ‘Wish you were here” messages. It was to be years later that I discovered he was also feeding them with all sorts of information about myself amongst others. He was an able user of public transport and a frequent user of taxis, if he had the cash. He was completely independent and willing to travel anywhere alone in Ireland, which he seemed to know like the back of his hand. He was always willing to be on the job with me wherever I wanted him, in any place, any time day or night. Because he was so dependable and loyal I became dependant on him.
Tracey was very calculating, and was a deep thinker. He would often stay up all night long just thinking, and he might lie in bed during the daytime. He was able to go without sleep for days at a time. On a few occasions when I was trying to trace some people I had lost touch with, Tracey would be able to find them. It was amazing how he could find people that I knew and wouldn’t be able to find myself. Towards the end of 1978, 1 began to get worried about this amazing man and I wanted to distance myself from him. In early 1979 1 discovered that he was a chronic alcoholic, but he had concealed this fact from me. He also began to indulge in smoking hashish more frequently in my company. In all the time that I knew Billy Tracey, there was never a mention of the North of England. Referring to England,
Tracey always spoke of “22 years in the West End of London”, parrot-like. He had only told me minimal details about his criminal past and his crimes. He had made them sound as if they were harmless. I was becoming increasingly nauseated by his filthy talk, particularly about sex. It was having a very depressing effect on me. In all the time that Billy Tracey was with me he never mentioned the Yorkshire Ripper once.
What follows are transcripts of actual recordings of Tracey which are offensive but necessary, if the reader is to understand the mentality of the man who murdered and maimed.
Tracey. ‘Well, they don’t realise that Tracey lived in the West End of London 22 years an I know a little bit about life. I did an I tell you boy I roughed it in the West End of London, an I hustled, an I didn’t work.’
Noel. ‘What part of London were you in?’
Tracey. ‘Oh, Hammersmith, Acton, Shepherds Bush, Bayswater, Notting Hill Gate, Ladbrooke Grove, the whole lot. I’ll tell you what they do, Donal. I must tell you about the flashers. Look. They get a trousers, right, so they cut off this part of it, right, an they put on elastic, there, see? They have nothin here. They cut off all the shirt here, up to there, then they have a tie, a bit of a tie, you see, an a Mac. Then they flash. When they flash then everythin is down an they walk around but they don’t all act like that, you know. One of them might just pull it out, see? They like to see the expression.’
Noel. ‘What’s the kick?’
Billy. ‘Well I’ll tell you what the kick is. You see. I like to fuck a woman an sometimes I like to abuse them an spunk all over them an kick them. I like that, but the thing is, I get kicks out of that. They get their kicks out of the expression on the woman’s face when she sees the prick. You know what I mean? The shock, yea, that’s what it’s all about. Other people can’t eh. It’s just like masochists, sadists, all kinds of trans- eh, what do you call it? Transvestites, masochists, oh there’s all kinds an they all have their own thing.’
Noel. ‘Billy, you were telling me one day you used to beat some old bolox up one time…’
Billy. ‘Oh, I used to beat them all up. He’d ask me.. . He said ‘Don’t hurt me face.’ I was gettin sick listenin to him an I’d hit him a bang on the chest or the stomach. He used to go down. I was gettin fed up with this all night so I hit his balls an I knocked him spark out an he woke up after about twenty minutes or so, an he said ‘you shouldn’t have hit me that hard. I never felt it’, Ha Ha Ha Ha. How about that one? No, well, I know them all an I’ve seen them all, theml You have the people that like to be whipped. There was a Doctor Lamb. I used to whip him. There was another fella and I used to whip him. He was a school teacher. He liked to be whipped, an one night he said, “Draw blood. Draw blood.” Well, I had a flex I took out of the wall, this wire flex, you know, and I used to whip him with it an he used to love it, see! I was gettin fuckin tired whippin him.’
Noel. ‘And would he come ?
Billy. ‘Oh yea
Noel. When? At what point would he come ?
Billy. ‘Oh, when he’s had enough whippin I suppose, but what done it for me was, I’d see his two balls stickin down, see, between his legs, so I went an I hit the two balls. Well by Jesus, he hit the fuckin ceiling you know. He come then a-ha ha. Well if he didn’t come then he went, an that’s one thing for fuckin sure. ‘I’ll see you in the mornin, an in the mornin, my cell wasn’t unlocked. See? So they all went off to work an they locked me in. About an hour afterwards they took me down to punishment block, segregation. See? So em, I was down there for two days an I said to one of them, ‘What am I down here for? So he said ‘The governor sent you down.’ Well! So the deputy governor came down. He had a big smirk on his fuckin face an he says ‘You were heard threatenin another boy, the other night, goin away.” He said “I’ll see you in the mornin.” See? An I said “Oh Bolox an I said “I’ll see you in the mornin” just like I’d say it to you, ‘I’ll see you next week Noel’, or ‘I’ll see you’, an that was the excuse he used. You know an for that, they held me for eight months in solitary confinement. Cos I wouldn’t work. I wouldn’t do anythin for them.’
Noel. You wouldn’t work, you wouldn’t let them get the better of you?
Billy. ‘No. So then, they sent me off to Liverpool as a Y.P. a young prisoner in prison an it was a rough prison there, very rough. It was one of the roughest. Eight months solitary confinement, twenty three hours in a cell.’
These recordings of Tracey were made in 1982, long after he had left my employment, and when I was in the company of a friend of mine, Donal Brady. At the time I had a tape recorder in my inside pocket, unknown to Tracey. When he’s referring to his time in Borstal, when the Deputy Governor came up to him, he doesn’t say on this occasion that he actually kicked the Deputy Governor viciously in the balls. This was why he was transferred to solitary confinement but he had told me that many times previously. He was on record in C.R.O. Criminal Records Office in Scotland Yard as a category A prisoner, the most violent type, only to be approached with extreme caution by policemen.
Tracey, in addition to being a thrill seeker was also very resourceful. Although he had little or no money he was one of the first in Clara to get a video, also he was among the first to have the English T.V. channels, while everyone else in Clara still had only the Irish T.V. When Charles Haughey, the Irish politician, visited Clara a few years ago by helicopter, Tracey was one of the few people who made it his business to go up and shake his hand. He got a brand new council house for only £3 a week, when there were far more deserving families in Clara on the housing list.
While he was in my employment he was signing on the dole, and when he left me, he got a free rail travel pass. In about 1979 he had no driving licence, and indeed was incapable of passing a driving test. There was an amnesty for people who had no driving licences and the government handed out full driving licences to all and sundry who applied for them. Tracey made sure that he was in the queue.
Tracey. ‘I get free anywhere I like, on the bus, anywhere in Ireland, over the Aran Islands. I get half free fare to England, everywhere.’
Donal. ‘Did you do your driving test here Billy?
Billy. ‘No. I never did a drivin test, but I have a full licence.’
Donal. ‘I didn’t
Billy. ‘No. Well I wasn’t. I was in the middle of the test, but then, they were goin free, an I was the first in the queue that morning
Donal. ‘Oh that’s right. They gave the amnesty thing.
Billy. ‘Full drivin licence. In actual fact I was thinkin of suein the government for givin me a drivin licence. Anne was a great plater boy, fair play to her. She was the best girl I ever seen to suck a cock in me life, an I’ve been around. She could suck it an would you believe it? She was a virgin’
Donal. ‘How old was she
Billy. ‘I couldn’t get it up her. She was, ah. I don’t know, fourteen, fifteen. It doesn’t matter to me. If she tells me she’s 21, she’s 21. You know. I thought she was 21. But, em, another young one, she didn’t suck it. She didn’t suck the helmet. She used to root about ,that’s all. Sure we all have our faults.”
Irish people didn’t know that Tracey’s wife was convicted for prostitution in England. An aura of relative respectability was kept up in Clara, in Ireland , although most people knew in Clara that he was a criminal but they knew little or nothing about the type of crimes that he committed in England. His wife was owned by Tracey, body and soul. She was his slave. She was only a tool that Tracey used in the pursuit of his activities. When he was in London in the sixties Tracey was leading an equally hectic and violent life with a strong sexual emphasis. He was a key element in London vice.
Here’s just one example of his resourcefulness which I have found out. It’s an incident that happened in that period…
A Scotland Yard detective was threatening Tracey. Tracey set up a plan to destroy the policeman. He arranged to meet him at a particular place to give him some evidence which the policeman needed in relation to Billy’s crime. In the meantime Tracey went to a special anti-corruption unit in Scotland Yard which was investigating police corruption. There he told the corruption squad about this policeman who was accepting bribes from him, and he agreed with Scotland Yard detectives to assist to set up their own man. They wired Tracey up and caught him slipping money to the policeman instead of evidence. It was too late for the cop who didn’t know what was in the bag. He was arrested with the evidence on him, which was stated by Tracey to be a bribe and he was duly convicted and sacked. Not content with this, Tracey went to the News of the World newspaper and sold them the whole story. It appeared on the front page of the News of the World and Tracey emerged as the hero weeding out the crooked cops.
Tracey was a sensation seeker all his life but the sensations were always at somebody else’s expense. He set people up to pull them down. His philosophy on life was “Only your friends can do you harm. Your enemies never can, because you keep them far enough away.” Tracey hunted with the hares and chased with the hounds. He befriended people and committed crimes just to set them up with the cops.
Billy. ‘I love an ould one. Yea. I don’t like these young virgins. Oh. No. No. That’s no good to me. I want the business.
Donal. ‘Get it in and over with.’
Billy. ‘Yea, an then when I feel like it, do it again an do it again, until I’m spun out I don’t want this, oh, no, no, no, an pretendin an all that fuckin shite an have to tell the priests an all that. This other one, the nun, I asked her to hold the lad, an she was goin beepin on me, because I’m not very experienced, but anyway, she said to me “How would you like to stick your big prick up me cunt?” See. Well. I’m not jokin you. All I could hear was the wax fizzin in me ears, an I’ll tell ya, I could not, if I got a million pounds, I couldn’t stop meself spunkin. It just came out, ya know, for the nun. I do love a nun, a nurse or a gardai. Oh, there’s a ban gardai in Tullamore. She’s terrific. She’s great. I heard she had a terrible fight down there at the corner one night with a tinker, a big red-headed tinker. Then there was this other woman in Clara and she came talkin to me, an I didn’t know, but she was up in Slammonse’s, she came from Slammonse’s an when she was up there, she was on blob, an she got three jam rags from Nanny. You see, an she had two of them wrapped in a piece of paper an the other one on her. Well, I didn’t know this an, I went to, eh. She was goin to the toilet an she said ‘Would you mind this’ an she gave me this piece of paper, an I just put it in me pocket. I had me overcoat with the slits in it at the time, an when I went home, I used always bring home sweets an that, an me sister said to me an Marie. “What have you got there?” Oh, I had me couple of hands in me pockets an opened it out see. He jumped up an he said, “You dirty blackguard”, now, honest to God I’m serious. I didn’t know.’
Noel. ‘A jam rag! ‘
Billy. ‘Two, two clean bits of gauze. See. I said, ‘Look, as far as I’m concerned, they’re only two clean bits of gauze, but you wouldn’t know anythin about that. See. She had fourteen kids. Me sister. So he hit me in the nose with the poker. I gave him a few fuckin slaps an then he ran for the guards. The guards came over an came into the house shoutin. So I just said to Marie, “Close the door Marie then, don’t let the neighbours hear us.” I pounded the head off the guard.’
Noel. ‘Pounded the head off who ?’
Billy. ‘Off the guard.’
Noel. ‘You’re kidding ?’
Billy. Yea I did.’
Noel. ‘Inside in your house ?’
Billy. ‘Yea, yea. I locked him in an’ he couldn’t get out. I jumped on his hat on the floor. He would av got away.’
Noel. What did you do ? Did you give him a clout of the poker or what ?
Billy. ‘No. I hit im wit me fist. I knew he was goin to go for his baton an I said. “Go on, you cunt.” Then I gave him a few kicks an he went out the door an then five of them came back searchin for me. I had a few quid an so I went down an I knocked up Sullivan, me an Marie, an we went in, an we sat there drinkin until about four o’ clock in the mornin. When we came out they were cruisin up an down an I said to Marie “Here, you hide that fuckin bar” an we went out and just walked along an they said, “Are you goin to come with me?” So I said, ‘Yes sir.” They started on Judge. That’s what it was. They took me an they said, ‘We have you now Tracey”, an all this, an when the other guard was goin up to see the witnesses, they were a bit cut up. They started shoutin at me ‘We’ll fuckin do this an we’ll do that ” , an I says, ” You’ll do fuck all” an I gave the table a fuckin kick. I grabbed the poker an tongs, an I says, “Come on ya cunt!” You see, he had his baton in his hand. I said “Get your fuckin baton” an I threw the tongs an I hit this fuckin thing on the wall, an old antique an nothin only sparks flew out of it. You see? An when me sister came, she said, “Can I use the phone?” an he said. “Look at the phone. Look what the blackguard has done.” But he went down in the comer on his two knees an he was beggin me to stop. He said, “Son, put that down now. There’ll be no charges. I can assure you that. There’ll be no charges. I promise you”, an I said. “Look I’ll fuckin put it down”, I said, “but if you fuckin touch me, you cunt, I’ll get you on your own” I said. “I don’t care how long I get in fuckin jail.” So he asked me to go into the cell an he locked the cell, an then the other fella came in, an he says, “Look these two fellas said it was their fault”. So that was it. The night the seven of them attacked me. The four Clara guards didn’t come in. They went over an they got three guards out of Tullamore an there was seven guards outside Nanny Slammonse’s house that night. Me, Nanny and Marie. See? They had the needle, all of them, kids, ‘cos my sister an all them kids, ‘cos I was spendin money. We were all on holidays. It really upset them, you see, an me sister came home from England. I brought her out an I gave her a good few quid, brought her out for dinner an me brother an all that. See? This really upset them. She was really annoyed. She said ‘You’re taking my sister away from me.” I wouldn’t speak to her at all.’
Noel. ‘But you see you have the experience, you’re able to stand up to this interrogation.’
Billy. ‘Ah. Yea.’
Noel. ‘You know them. You know the fucking score with them.’
Billy. ‘But, you see, you’re friend. They were beatin me one night in Tullamore and in Notting Gill Gate an I gotta say what I say, an I say, “Please, please Sir. I’ll tell ya. I’ll tell ya anythin you want to know.” You see, an they let you go then, an they start laughin then an lookin at one another, as much as to say, “Ha, ha, I done it that time”, an steam into one of them straight away, an then they’ll get you so quick that you won’t feel nothin. See? An they leave you alone then, an they’d be frightened in case they’d be the next one in trouble.’I hit one of them in Tullamore one evenin. He said to me, ‘What’s your name ‘ I was after comin home from London. I had me own cards printed, I just threw one across the table at him and he got the card and he fucked it across the room. They were all sittin on tables, swingin their boots. Their batons use to hang along the wall then. So, he said, “I asked you yer fuckin name.” I said, “I just gave you my card. He gave me a box.’
Noel. ‘He just punched you for that
Billy. ‘Yea. He gave me an awful doin, so I said, “Please, please Guard.” I don’t know. I said, “Don’t hit me anymore Guard. I’ll tell ya. I’ll tell ya anthin you want to know.” So he looked round at the others, as much as to say, “I got him that time” an next thing, on his fuckin face. I put him flyin across the fuckin room, an I’m not kidden ya, you’d want to see them all jumpin up from tables an grabbin for their batons. I woke up the next…. I didn’t wake up. I woke up a few hours after, in a cell.’
Noel. ‘They knocked you out
Billy. ‘Yea. You’d want to see me.
Noel. ‘Beat the shit out of ya
Billy. ‘Ah I don’t know. I was badly beat up, but anyway the doctor was sayin, “What’s wrong with ya, where’s the pain ?” I says “Oh, fuck off. Leave me alone.” You see, there was no light or anythin. So, the next mornin they just gave me a clothes brush. Told me to brush me clothes and go home. No charges or nothin. Notting Hill Gate was the very same, I was there with no trousers on.’
Noel ‘What are the English cops like, are they any use
Billy. ‘Ah some of them, some of them is gentlemen, you know. This rough stuff doesn’t get them anywhere, you know. Only gets them in a hell of a lot of trouble.
These are only a few examples of the many asaults Tracey told me that he was involved in with policemen. These are a few I’ve got on tape. His criminal record in England is mostly about serious assaults on police men. He was once charged in the Old Bailey with the attempted murder of a policeman. He got away with it. When he was in my employment, at first he told me nothing about his violent record but I began slowly to see that the man was a psychopath and that’s why I wanted to be rid of him. You don’t tell a psychopath to piss off.
Most Irish people didn’t know about Tracey’s record except that he had a criminal record in England. He had been deported from England at least four times, but not many people knew that. Whenever he showed up in Clara, people thought that he was on holidays. He’d stay for a while and then, when there was trouble with the Irish police he would go back to England, to a different part. The number of crimes that Billy Tracey would have been caught for and convicted of would represent only a small fraction of the total crimes he committed. They would also be the obvious ones where there was evidence, so that the police could secure a conviction.
Another typical example of Tracey, the criminal Supergrass, relates to an Irishman, Peter Daly, who was a New York Police Lieutenant, wanted by The United States authorities for his involvement in the theft of a large cache of heroin stolen from his police station. Daly had fled to Ireland and there was no extradition treaty between Ireland and the U.S. Tracey somehow befriended him and obviously was trusted by Daly who traveled to the U.K. with Tracey and his uncle, a parish priest, to attend a relatives wedding. Daly and Tracey were arrested on Tracey’s tip-off and while remanded in Brixton prison Daly was convinced that the parish priest grassed him. He later served a long sentence in the U.S., Tracey was held in Brixton until Daly was extradited, to protect his credibility. The parish priest got the blame. Daly wrote long letters to Tracey from his prison cell, and he made the mistake of telling him that his other uncle was a police Superintendent in Tracey’s area, Tullamore, whom Tracey went on to blackmail.
Billy. ‘I put on the suit, walked in, rapped the desk with me stick. Duncan. They were all there lookin. See? So I says, “Could I speak to Superintendent Dan Molloy, please?” an they said, ‘Yes sir.” I wanted to get rid of Duncan. “What’s the nature of your business?” I said “It’s private and confidential. Oh! Mr. Molloy” I says, “I’m Mr. Tracey, from Clara.” You know; all the aul bolox. So I said, “I just had a letter from your nephew, from America.” I said, ‘You know where he is? Don’t you? Peter Daly! You know where he is? Don’t you?” And he says, I ,I, I ,I, don’t understand”, ah, the bolox. I says, ‘Well here you are.” I says, “He told me”, I says, “we’d do business. ‘He told me’, I says, “he was a Detective Lieutenant in New York City an he told me that if I was ever passin, to call in an see you.” An do you know what he said to me? “I’m not his uncle. I’m married to his aunt.’ You see? I said, “He writes a lovely letter, doesn’t he”? There was about ten pages. I said, ‘Well here, supposin the ordinary prisoners knew that he was in there, they wouldn’t like it. Would they?” He says, “No, no, no, no.” I says, ‘Well no one will ever find out off me.” An he came out of the office an he put his arms around me. We were comin out. You see. There was five or six coppers there in the police station, lookin at me with his arms around me. He was laughin an jokin. He said, “Now any time you’re passin, feel free to come in to see me”, an all this aul fuckin shit, you know. All the auld bolox because he knew that he was protectin himself. The cunt. They don’t like anthin like that.
Noel ‘yea, but what were you? You must have been looking for a little favour?’
Billy. I did. I asked him to get rid of McLoughlin. He fucked him out of Clara. He’s in Tullamore now. He brought him in beside him. Oh yea he did, Guard McGloughlin. He still lives there. He has his own house. He got transferred. He’s a Desk Sergeant now.
Guard McGloughlin had been stationed in Clara and he was transferred to office duties in Tullamore. Also Sergeant Garvey, the Chief of Clara Police Station was transferred to Banagher. When Tracey told Molloy, “He writes a lovely letter’ , he really was showing him the prison notepaper that the letter was written on. Tracey had great leverage, with this. He knew from his own prison experience that a policeman in jail would lead a life of hell, if the other prisoners knew that he was a cop.
These glimpses of Billy Tracey’s character represent only a small fraction of the total picture that I knew Billy Tracey was, in the early part of 1979. Tracey was a special man. This was not bravado or bullshit that he was talking about. He was a man of action who got things done. He was for real and as time went on I began to get this confirmed from many other sources that Tracey was for real. I had built a shop for Tracey one side of his council house from which his wife ran a thriving comer shop. I helped him to get a van on the hire purchase which he was going to use for wheeling and dealing in furniture and antiques. I set up a couple of profitable property deals for him but as soon as he got his hands on money, it vanished almost like snow, on prostitutes and drink. I would have done anything to get rid of him but he wouldn’t leave. I finally managed to terminate his employment with me about the end of July 1979.
On Monday the 13th of November 1979 1 sat down after a busy day to read the previous days Sunday Telegraph. I normally had the Sunday Times reserved but for some strange reason this was the only time I ever got the Telegraph. It contained a large almost full page article about the Yorkshire Ripper. I read it out of curiosity.
At the time I was vaguely aware of the existence of the Yorkshire Ripper from small news articles in the Irish Independent but I knew little or nothing about the subject. This article contained a psychological profile of the type of man the Ripper was.
It portrayed the picture of a murderer, mainly of prostitutes, somebody cunning, evil, and he appeared to be a police hater because of the letters and the tape recording that he had sent to the police. A psychiatrist gave a psychological profile on him and stated that the man would most likely be able to have a relationship with a dog or a pet but would be unable to have a normal human relationship. Emphasis was placed on the timing of the murders.
There was a pattern of weekend murders and mid-week murders. The sight of the victims faces and the range of their ages, features, colour and type was an important element, it indicated to me that the killer was not selective in his victims.
The portrait that the newspaper article painted of the Ripper encapsulated Billy Tracey. It was like a huge jigsaw puzzle. With Tracey’s name in the frame, all the pieces suddenly fitted into place. He was the only man that could do it. Here was a violent, dangerous and aggressive psychopath with a long criminal record mostly in England, who had intimate knowledge of prostitution in every city in England, who was totally unselective in his approach to women, who was capable of having a strange and un-natural relationship with an animal, and yet incapable of having any kind of human relationship.
His own wife had no relation ship with him. He treated the dog better than her. His own dog was a Yorkshire Terrier whose buck teeth protruded even when he closed his mouth. But the big question was; was Tracey a murderer ? When he had been in my employment my genuine fear had been that he would murder me or some of my staff.
Clearly if he had I wouldn’t be here to tell the tale. His philosophy, “You get it when you least expect it” came back to my mind with a flash, when I looked at the victims faces.
Tracey’s greatest asset and I knew it, was his ability to handle the police. He could be caught bending over a victim with a blood stained knife in his hand and he could talk his way out of it. Tracey could clearly and calmly convince the policeman that he was helping the victim, that he came on the scene of the crime and that he was just going to chase the murderer. He was a man capable of getting away with anything.
Certainly in these Ripper murders of prostitutes who were struck over the head with a hammer, there could have been no witnesses.
The Ripper had to be cool and Tracey was cool. Even if he was caught walking out of the darkness, he could talk his way out of it. The police couldn’t prove that he had committed the murder, unless someone actually saw him thrust the knife into the victim. It would take a very brave man to stand up in court and give that kind of evidence and Tracey knew it. The obvious obstacle of course was that the murders were in a foreign country.
Tracey was living in Ireland. I could clearly and easily see that this was no impediment to Tracey. On the other hand it was his perfect cover and was the obvious reason why the police couldn’t catch him in England. It was a sickening realisation. I was shocked, and I was terrified, but I knew from that moment that it was him. At that time, I didn’t know that he had ever been deported from England, and I knew nothing about his criminal record which I subsequently got from a Policeman with great difficulty.
Tracey’s criminal record
Category “A” prisoner; only to be approached with extreme caution.
14.09.53 Clara District Court. Probation Act. Larceny
1954 Clara District Court. Fined 5 Pounds. Larceny.
31.07.56 Emigrated to U.K. aged 17.
23.01.57 Preston, Lancashire. Shop-breaking & Stealing. Sentence postponed 12 months.
08.05.57 Manchester Crown Court. Shop-breaking & Stealing. Sent to Borstal. Discharged from Borstal 9.12.59.
21.01.58 Case not to be proceeded on.
12.11.60 Jersey. Convicted of assaults. one months jail.
26.04.61 Marylebone. Grevious bodily harm. 2 months. Released 5.6.61.
03.12.62 Marylebone. Assaults of Police Officer. 6 months for actual bodily harm.
13.09.63 Yarmouth, Isle of Wight. Shop-breaking & Stealing, 2 years. Recommended for deportation. Employed in pub in East London. Deported.
18.11.66 Delvin, Eire. Assaulted a policeman. 3 months. D.J. O’Callaghan. Discharged.
21st January 1967, Mountjoy jail.
Nov. 68 Clara Court. Assault. 3 months suspended.
1969 U.K. Robbery. Possession of offensive weapon and assault. Wandsworth jail 3 years and recommended for deportation. His wife was also convicted as an accomplice and a prostitute. Deported.
1971 In London. Convicted of Burglary, Assault and illegal immigrant. 3 years.
1973 Deported to Eire.
1974 Bow St. Court. Theft of 26 pounds. 6 months. Wm. Mills was his alias.
1975 9th Jan. 1975 deported to Eire.