James Humphreys (pornographer)
James William Humphreys was an English businessman and criminal. He owned a chain of adult book shops and strip clubs in London in the 1960s and 1970s. He was able to run his business through the payment of large bribes to serving police officers. In the 1990s he and his wife were arrested for running at least three brothels in Marylebone and Marble Arch.
About James Humphreys (pornographer) in brief
James William Humphreys was an English businessman and criminal. He owned a chain of adult book shops and strip clubs in London in the 1960s and 1970s. He was able to run his business through the payment of large bribes to serving police officers. His diaries provided evidence for the investigation by anti-corruption officers of the Metropolitan Police. The character Benny Barrett, played by Malcolm McDowell in the 1996 BBC television series Our Friends in the North, was based on Humphreys. In the 1990s he and his wife were living in London and were arrested for running at least three brothels in Marylebone and Marble Arch. He left school at age 14 and began a career of criminality; while still a teenager he became friends with Frankie Fraser, the London gangland enforcer. In March 1958 he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment after using explosives to open a safe and steal £8,260 in money and postal orders. After serving four years in Dartmoor Prison, he was released in October 1962. On his release he opened a strip club in Old Compton Street, Soho, which was the centre of London’s sex industry. In January 1972 he took Ken Drury—the head of the Flying Squad—and his wife on holiday to Cyprus and Beirut. Journalists from The Sunday People found out about the trip, and published details on its front page, along with allegations about the bribery from Humphreys and other pornographers. In an attempt to have his conviction overturned or the sentence reduced, he gave a copy of his diaries to the anti- corruption police and was interviewed about the payments to the Obscene Publications Branch.
Thirteen members of the OPB were imprisoned for corruption. Humphreys left the UK and set up an illegal amphetamine factory in Ireland, fleeing the country shortly before the premises were raided by the Gardaí. He travelled to the US and invested in a drugs-smuggling operation, but was cheated of his investment. In July 1951 Humphreys married June Driscoll. His crimes became more serious and the sentences increased as he got older. In 1952 he was arrested for handling stolen goods and resisted—assaulting the police in the process. He was sentenced at the Old Bailey to 21 months in Wormwood Scrubs; he was release in December 1953. In February 1957 he was sent to prison for two years and three months and was released in February 1957. Soon afterwards he broke a sub-post office safe and blew open asafe to steal £7,000 in postal orders into the post office. After his release from prison, he changed professionally and changed his name to Rusty. He re-kindled a relationship with a former girlfriend, June Packard, who had renamed herself Gaynor: Gaynor after the colour of her hair. She had previously worked as a barmaid at a sex shop in London’s Soho area. In October 1982 he was jailed for four and a half years for aiding and abetting other criminals.