Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Want My Dad's Name Cleared before He Dies

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

I Want My Dad's Name Cleared before He Dies

Article excerpt

Byline: Katie Davies Chief Reporter

ONE armed bandit killer Dennis Stafford's daughter today broke her silence in a bid to help her dad clear his name.

Stafford and Michael Luvaglio were found guilty of the killing of Angus Sibbett, who was found dead in the back seat of his Jaguar under Pesspool Bridge, South Hetton, County Durham, with three gunshot wounds in January 1967.

The crime was the inspiration for cult British gangster film Get Carter, starring Michael Caine.

But since the murder, books have been written questioning Stafford and Luvaglio's guilt, TV shows have been broadcast, questions asked in the Commons, and appeal after appeal has been launched by Stafford and Luvaglio.

And today, in a candid interview with the Chronicle, Paula Woodhouse - who was just 11 when her father was arrested for the murder of the fruit machine worker - speaks publicly for the first time and reveals: that parents stopped |their children from playing with her following her dad's arrest; how she was told her |dad was in a "naughty boys' home"; she believes her dad is |innocent ; her ongoing relation-|ship with her dad and her thoughts about the |Get Carter film, which was based on her dad's story.

Angus Sibbett's body, slumped in a bloodstained suit and tie, was found by a passing miner in the early hours of the morning.

Within 18 hours of the murder, the wealthy businessman's colleagues, Luvaglio and Stafford, were arrested and within two months they had been found guilty by a jury in Newcastle.

Paula, who was just 10 when her dad was arrested, remembers reporters camped outside of her home.

The 57-year-old, who is now living in Carlisle, Cumbria, said: "I was about 10 or 11. I just remember when the police first came and the reporters were knocking on the door. They were camped out on the doorstep.

"Friends that I'd had at school were told by their parents that they weren't allowed to play with me or have anything to do with me because of my dad.

"He was fighting his innocence for most of my childhood and a lot of the time my dad wasn't around."

Paula admits she was too young to understand what was going on.

The mum-of-three said: "I didn't understand where my dad was because I was so young. I just remember my mum telling me he was in the naughty boys' home. I didn't know what he'd done until I was older and I understood."

Mr Sibbett was a cash collector for the fruit machine business of Staf-Staf ford's then-friend Vince Landa, who died in 2012. It was said at the time he was murdered because he was suspected of skimming money off the takings.

Luvaglio and Stafford were convicted of the shooting of Mr Sibbett later that year and spent more than a decade inside.

But since their release from prison they have launched appeal after appeal to prove their innocence. …

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