Pictured above is paedophile and murderer Leslie Patrick Bailey, who participated
in the sexual abuse and killing of young boys in June 1984 and November 1985,
although it is suspected that he partook in many more. Operating alongside
infamous child predator Sidney Cooke
and numerous other men, it has been anticipated that their gang had managed to
victimise over 25 male children up until their capture.
Bailey was convicted for his involvement in the
murders of two boys. In June 1984, 7 year old Mark Tildesley was lured away from a funfair by Cooke, with the
promise of sweets. He was then taken to a secluded caravan where he was
strangled by Bailey, Cooke and co-conspirator Lennie Smith. The three men then
proceeded to sexually abuse the young boy, although his body was never found.
Bailey was the only one out of the three who confessed to the crime. However,
he only pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 1992. Both Cooke and Smith avoided
the consequences for this murder, as their conviction relied too greatly just on
Bailey’s testimony against them.
In November 1985, the body of young Jason Swift was found dumped in a rural Essex field- he too had
been severely sexually assaulted and suffocated. The coroner’s report also
revealed that he had been heavily drugged. The police suspected Cooke’s gang, and a raid of his apartment identified
that Jason had been there. However, no member of the gang would accept culpability
and instead resorted to blaming each other. Ultimately, the evidence extracted from
the gang’s premises was only enough to convict the men on grounds of manslaughter.
Sidney Cooke was sentenced to serve 16 years for
manslaughter in 1989 as a result of his crimes, but was paroled in 1998.
However, the emergence of up to 18 more sex offences in 1999 earned him two
life sentences, for which he now remains imprisoned at the age of 89. While serving
his time for manslaughter, Leslie Bailey was killed by two other inmates in
1993 at Whitemoor Prison. They had learned the nature of Bailey’s child related
crimes, which led them to beat and strangle him to death.
There’s almost nothing Ben
Wheatley gets wrong in High-Rise, his coolly immaculate film of the JG
Ballard science-fiction classic. In 1975, Ballard began with one of
the great first lines in the genre: “Later, as he sat on his balcony
eating the dog, Dr. Robert Laing reflected on the unusual events that
had taken place within this huge apartment building during the
previous three months.”
The tone survives – unlike the poor mutt, one of whose paws we see
glazed and slowly turning on a spit-roast in the opening minutes.
The sick laugh inevitably delivered by this shot is Wheatley’s
stock-in-trade, a kind of devilish grindhouse glee, and it’s just one
of the things that makes him an ideal choice for serving up Ballard.
Anyone who knows the book, and just wants its downward slide into
building-wide mayhem heaved up on screen in all its anarchic glory,
gets it delivered to them on a silver platter – the lid whisked off
with a flourish.
Wheatley, previously a low-budget cult hero after the likes of Down
Terrace and Kill List, has upped his craft and ambition, here, too:
thanks to the guiding hand of producer Jeremy Thomas, who previously
helped David Cronenberg get his Ballard film, Crash, before the
cameras, this has lip-smackingly lavish production values and looks
the absolute business.