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My Life with Murderers: Behind Bars with the World’s Most Violent Men

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Now you have the opportunity to hear David’s story from idealistic prison governor straight out of Cambridge University to expert criminologist and emeritus professor. With experiences unlike any other and an unparalleled knowledge of murder, David will discuss his fascinating and compelling study of human nature, delving into infamous as well as lesser-known true crime cases in an attempt to make sense out of the senseless. With characteristic brilliance and admirable sensitivity, Wilson illuminates the complex causes of their often horrific crimes' - Professor Simon Winlow, Vice President of the British Society of Criminology David Wilson, the renowned UK criminologist, author, broadcaster, emeritus professor and former prison governor whose 40-year career has brought him face to face with countless killers, is coming to Exeter during a 2023 UK tour, ‘My Life with Murderers’. David has advised on live police investigations related to a linked series of murders and has provided training to new Senior Investigating Officers who will take charge of murder inquiries. I received this book as part of my last A Box of Stories book delivery and was quite excited by it. I was looking forward to reading all about the interviews with the murderers and learning about the psychology of why they committed these acts. Unfortunately, this wasn't what I got.

My Life with Murderers by David Wilson | Hachette UK

I was fortunate enough to see the author at an event in Bloody Scotland in 2019. Having found his talk extremely intriguing as well as spellbinding, I could have happily sat there all day and listened to him talking, I bought a copy of this book after the event where he was signing copies. David Wilson is Professor of Criminology and founding Director of the Centre for Applied Criminology at Birmingham City University – one of the university’s “research centres of excellence”. He is the co-Editor of the prestigious Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, which is produced five times per year. Prior to taking up his academic appointment in September 1997, David was Senior Policy Advisor to the Prison Reform Trust, and between October 1983-April 1997 he worked as a Prison Governor. Now you have the opportunity to hear David’s story from idealistic prison governor straight out of Cambridge University to expert criminologist and emeritus professor.

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But what makes "My Life with Murderers" truly exceptional is the way it challenges our understanding of these criminals. Wilson doesn't just paint them as monsters; he delves into the complexities of their lives and the societal factors that contributed to their heinous acts. It's as much a journey into the human psyche as it is a study of crime. With experiences unlike any other and an unparalleled knowledge of murder, David will discuss his fascinating and compelling study of human nature, delving into infamous as well as lesser-known true crime cases in an attempt to make sense out of the senseless. The author’s professional experiences, lets us get a step closer into meeting these people and finding out. Through David’s own thoughts and the conversations he has with these people, it in some ways opened my eyes and was fascinating learning about techniques they use in trying to uncover the truth. His conversation and dealings with some of the more well known killers, was especially interesting.

David Wilson - My Life With Murderers | UCL CULTURE - UCL

In a career spanning 40 years David has met all sorts of killers: hitmen, mass, spree and serial killers and those murderers who seem to kill “in 5 minutes of madness”. Sometimes he meets them in a tense interview in a cell; sometimes to share a cup of tea (or something a little stronger); or sometimes just to look them in the eye as he tells them that, yes, they really are a psychopath.

In a career spanning 40 years David Wilson has met all sorts of killers: hitmen, mass, spree and serial killers and those murderers who seem to kill “in 5 minutes of madness”. Sometimes he meets them in a tense interview in a cell; sometimes to share a cup of tea (or something a little stronger); or sometimes just to look them in the eye as he tells them that, yes, they really are a psychopath. Hugely insightful and thought provoking . . . I read it from cover to cover in one go' - Emilia Fox His current research interests range from the phenomenon of British serial murder, family annihilation, hitmen and lethal violence within organised crime, to all aspects of prison history and penal reform. In a career spanning 40 years, David has met all sorts of killers: hitmen, mass, spree and serial killers and those murderers who seem to kill “in 5 minutes of madness”. Sometimes he meets them in a tense interview in a cell; sometimes to share a cup of tea (or something a little stronger); or sometimes just to look them in the eye as he tells them that, yes, they really are a psychopath.

My Life With Murderers - Professor David Wilson - TicketSource My Life With Murderers - Professor David Wilson - TicketSource

Ashamedly it has taken me sometime to get to it. It has been sat on my bedside table waiting patiently to be read but am glad to say that I have now read it and it was every bit as interesting as I had hoped for and more. My Life with Murderers is a reflection by renound professor of criminology David Wilson on his time as governor and assistant governor at a number of British prisons and the numerous encounters with murders he has had along the way. However, it’s also more than that, as it follows Wilson’s musings on what it is to be a murderer and the various types of murderers there are, from spree and hitmen to serial and beyond. It’s clear that Wilson knows his stuff. Without having read any of his previous novels, it’s clear that he has years of experience dealing with various psychopaths and murderers and knows their personalities inside and out. He takes a more scientific approach compared to his American contemporaries too, relying more heavily of the psychology of victims and evidence based practice compared to ‘one off interviews’ and showman ship. It’s a refreshing and more reliable approach to others I’ve read (ie John Douglas, who gets a sound dressing down here). I’m sure I am not on my own in having a fascination when it comes to serial killers and murderers. With so many crime books, shows, films, they make for compelling screen and reading time. For me I suppose it’s the whys. Why would someone murder someone or multiple people? Is it events from their own childhood that has shaped them into who they are today or can you really just be born evil? What goes on in that persons mind?

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This is an excellent book, well deserving of 5 stars. I’m going to hear David Wilson speak at the end of March at Glasgow’s Aye Write book festival. I can’t wait! [He was excellent, as expected]. From idealistic prison governor straight out of Cambridge University to expert criminologist and emeritus professor, David has met hitmen, mass, spree and serial killers and those murderers who seem to kill “in five minutes of madness”. Sometimes he meets them in a tense interview in a cell; sometimes to share a cup of tea (or something a little stronger); or sometimes just to look them in the eye as he tells them that, yes, they really are a psychopath. Some of these men became David's friends; others would still love to kill him.

My Life with Murderers - Open Library My Life with Murderers - Open Library

David Wilson has become quite a celebrity in the UK. Those of us who enjoy watching his programmes on cold cases are fascinated by his expertise; by his careful fitting together of all the pieces of evidence available to expose those who are guilty of heinous crimes. The tour, which begins in April in Salford and travels to multiple venues across the country before culminating in Cardiff in May, draws on David’s unique experiences and unparalleled knowledge of murder, sharing his unusual career journey, discussing his fascinating and compelling study of human nature, and delving into infamous as well as lesser-known true crime cases in an attempt to make sense out of the senseless. He will be coming to Exeter’s Northcott Theatre on 16 April.I also thoroughly enjoyed the little titbits into prison life with Charles Manson (I laughed out loud at the, in all honestly, bizarre scenario of Manson threatening to stab the prison guards with his moustache while stark naked and covered in shoe polish) and a ‘Furries’ convention that Wilson inadvertently ended up getting in the mix with. I would have enjoyed some more of these personal insights, as they added some much needed light relief to a heavy topic. From prison riots to the unique therapeutic approach of HMP Grendon, this will most certainly broaden your mind. I appreciated the honesty when given a tragic example of how things can go horribly wrong, but in the main, this application proves to be highly successful. The proof in this being that some ex offenders, having undergone the therapeutic approach at Grendon, are now David Wilson’s good friends!

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