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French: I am many things, but not a rapist; EX-GANGSTER WRITES LETTER TO ECHO.


STEPHEN FRENCH wrote a letter to The ECHO explaining: "I am many things, but I am not a rapist."

The letter, penned in his prison cell, came shortly after the former gangster was found not guilty of rape charges.

French always denied raping his accuser, who also claimed the 56-yearold twice assaulted her.

Prosecutors dropped the charges after French, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to making threats to kill against her son.

Liverpool Crown Court heard a complaint made by French about bank statements relating to the woman led to an investigation, which revealed "credibility issues". Prosecutors conceded her response was "unsatisfactory" and that she sent an "aggressively racist" Facebook message to him, contradicting her police interview.

Ben Jones, prosecuting, said French told the woman's son on January 19 this year: "If you get me arrested, I am going to kill everyone in your family."

However, in a letter to the ECHO, the former champion kickboxer disputed making this remark. He said: "I am no rapist. I have pleaded guilty to threats to kill but with vi coactus [a Latin term, which means 'under constraint'].

"I wanted to plead not guilty but counsel have advised me to plead guilty because I made a threat."

French went on to explain why he believed the argument with the woman took place, which cannot be published for legal reasons.

He said: "My accuser lost her mind, made false allegations and I told her son 'if you do not stop her doing what she is doing, I will take it up with you and all the men in your family'.

"This is the extent of the threat I made. There was no intent. This has been interpreted as a 'threat to kill'. I have pleaded guilty to this, but I was put under extreme duress by the lies and deception of the young man's mother."

In court, French briefly argued with Judge Denis Watson, QC, over what he said to the victim.

However, Judge Watson replied: "That's the offence you have admitted."

He handed French 16 weeks in prison and a five-year restraining order, then recorded formal not guilty verdicts on the rape and assault counts. French, whose biography, The Devil, chronicles his past activities in Liverpool, has convictions going back to 1972. He was jailed for three years in 2013 for possessing a knife and threatening a business associate with an imitation firearm.

Last year, he was handed an extra 10 months in jail for perverting the course of justice. French was still on licence when these allegations were made and was recalled to prison in January. He is set for release on December 16.

He said because of these "lies", he was attacked in the prison church, and was hit in the head with a heavy object wrapped in a sock.

French also explained that, while in custody, he missed the birth of his granddaughter and daughter.

French, who once fought under the name The Fighting Preacher, said: "I am many things but I am not a rapist or a woman beater. I forgive all those who bear false witness and testimony against me and I look forward to meeting my new daughter and granddaughter but not in a prison visiting room. "I remain unbreakable love, light and hope."


Stephen French - 'I remain unbreakable love, light and hope'
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 15, 2016
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