Carlton Leach is an English author and a former criminal. A former football hooligan, he turned his back to a life of violence and drug dealings after his close friend Tony Tucker was shot to death in a Range Rover in Rettendon. Today Carlton hopes to use his experiences in the underworld activities to help turn others away from a life of crime. Leach was propelled into a violent life by his love for the football club West Ham United at an early age. He became involved with a gang of football hooligans which provided him a taste of the criminal world. He blindly supported his favorite club, and fighting for it was part and parcel of his love for the team. After leaving the crime world, he wrote a memoir about his criminal life which was later adapted into the film ‘Rise of the Footsoldier’.
In late 1980s, Carlton Leach’s fearsome reputation landed him a bouncer’s job in East London clubs, where he met Tony Tucker, who was a big dealer of the drug ecstasy at nightclubs and dance clubs. As a result of his friendship with Tony, he was also drawn into the illegal activities. He and his fellow bouncers provided security at the clubs, and also served as bodyguards of those peddling the illicit drugs. He went with the flow and started doing big deals at big raves. Carlton recalls that his wages rose from £50 a night to £300.
He and Tony became close friends and both were drawn even more deeply into the world of drug dealing. One day their friendship ended abruptly when Tony Tucker and his fellow drug dealers Pat Tate and Craig Rolfe were shot to death in December 1995 in a Range Rover on a farm track in Rettendon. The case became famous as ‘Rettendon triple murders’.
The murders left Carlton a changed man. The fearsome and tough man turned into a terrified person as he thought that he would be the next one to be murdered. It served as a wake-up call for him, and made him realize that he had his parents and a family. Even five years after the murders, he stayed paranoid. He didn't trust anyone and kept himself away from people.
After ten years as a hardcore hooligan, Carlton Leach decided to leave behind football violence, his bouncer’s job, and drug dealing. He left Canning Town, where he was born and brought up, and moved to Southend.
In 2003, he wrote a memoir about his criminal life titled ‘Muscle’. In 2007, the film ‘Rise of the Footsoldier’ was made based on the book, starring Ricci Harnett as Carlton. In 2015, Carlton worked with Ricci Harnett to make another film about his life, titled ‘Reign of the General’, but when they lost a legal battle over the copyright following which the film was taken over by the makers of ‘Rise of the Footsoldier’ and released. The same people proceeded to make Part 3 of the film in 2017. Carlton Leach took to Twitter and said that this film was fictional and had nothing to do with his life.
The former criminal, who is now a father, says that kids see films and get carried away. They want to be like the gangsters portrayed in the films. "There is a lot of pain in being involved in drugs and violence and there is a price to pay. I want young people to be influenced by my life story in a good way,” he said in an interview.
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Carlton Leach was born on March 12, 1959, in Canning Town, East London. He was passionate about football since he was a kid, and was a member of the notorious Inter City Firm, which was associated with the football club West Ham United. He is currently married to Anne Leach and is also a father.