Interview: “We would find drug dealers and rob them …”




Last Saturday on The Big Lunch radio show I chatted with my mate, John Lawson, a former violent criminal, bouncer and body guard. John’s worked with some famous household names such as the Rolling Stones and Neil Diamond and in this interview he opened up to me and gave an incredibly honest account of what some of those experiences were really like for him. He’s also been a significant player in the criminal underworld and I was privileged to hear first hand about John’s mindset during that dark season of his life. John went into great detail about some of the staggering exploits and risks he took. Here are a few highlights from the show:

On emigrating from Scotland to South Africa:

John Lawson (JL): “I was born in Glasgow, we emigrated (to South Africa) when I was three, that was a huge contrast!

On being abandoned by his father as a child:

JL: “Unfortunately I was a bit of a wild child really … came to the UK … raised on one of the toughest housing estates in Europe, just developed a violent mentality. By the time I left school I got involved with my uncles who were running most of the sex industry in Soho.

On leaving prison and working as a bouncer:

I enjoyed the violent aspect of it … we were a tight team … for a bit of pocket money we would find drug dealers and rob them the night before they bought their drugs. Believing we were good guys we would flush all their drugs down the toilet, believing we were doing society a favour, but really it was nothing but pure violence.

On the police catching up with him:

The police caught up with me … they had my voice recording, they had CCTV footage, I got done for four years for attempted extortion … I was a foolish idiot … but that prison was the best place that I could ever be cos that’s where my life completely changed.

I asked John how it was for him to walk into prison on the first day and what his experience was like during all those years inside. I was aware that John came to faith in prison and was interested to know exactly how that came about. What followed was one of the most dramatic, inspirational and emotional stories I have ever heard. Listen to the full interview here. Read John’s autobiography in novel form here, his ministry work is here and there’s a song inspired by a poem he wrote for his wife here.

Steve Legg

Steve is a British speaker, author and founder of The Breakout Trust, a Christian mission organisation based in Littlehampton on the south coast of England. Since 1988 he has travelled the length and breadth of the UK and 30 countries overseas, covering a staggering 1.5 million miles on the road, using a crazy mix of comedy, trickery and mystery to communicate the Christian message to young and old. He has performed at top venues globally including NIA Birmingham, Wembley Arena and London’s Royal Albert Hall. Radio and TV appearances are in the hundreds. His passion is creative communication of the Christian faith through performances, books, DVD’s and other resources. The author of 17 books, these days when he’s not on the road, much of his time is spent on the groundbreaking men’s Christian lifestyle magazine, Sorted.

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