Man convicted of 'Get Carter' killing blames Kray twins

The rich pickings offered by the thriving nightclubs and gaming tables of Newcastle upon Tyne in the mid-1960s were irresistible to Michael Luvaglio and Dennis Stafford.

They were doing nicely working for one of the characters who installed fruit machines and booked cabaret acts until another employee, Angus Sibbett, started siphoning off £1,000 a week in takings. He wound up dead in the back of a Mk 10 Jaguar, his body riddled with bullets.

Mr Luvaglio, 69, and Mr Stafford, 71, were convicted of the "One-Armed Bandit Murder", made famous by Ted Lewis's book, Jack's Return Home. In 1971 it was turned into the gangster filmGet Carter, starring Michael Caine and Bryan Mosley (aka Alderman Alf Roberts in Coronation Street), who was bumped off by Caine in the film.

But though Get Carter has assigned the murder a place in history, the men convicted of it have always denied the crime and Mr Luvaglio's family publicly protested his innocence yesterday after he suffered a heart attack which is believed to have left him gravely ill at London's Westminster and Chelsea Hospital.

Through the family, Mr Luvaglio said he did not want to go to his grave with the crime on his name and insisted the Kray twins, widely believed to have failed to muscle in on the Newcastle scene, were responsible. Mr Luvaglio told his family the Krays wanted to take over Newcastle's social club business. He also maintained that fingerprints found in Mr Sibbett's car were neither his nor Mr Stafford's. The Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) began a review of the case last year.

Although Mr Luvaglio and Mr Stafford have denied the crime, the former has made few public pronouncements over the years. A relative, Vince Landa, ran the fruit machine business and tempted him from London to work with Mr Stafford. Mr Luvaglio became a prime suspect when, at 5.15am on 5 January 1967, a miner found Mr Sibbett's body in the Jaguar which his takings had enabled him to buy. He was arrested the next day.

The timing of the murder was an important part of the court case. Mr Luvaglio and Mr Stafford maintained they were at Newcastle's Birdcage Club at 12.30am on the night Mr Sibbett was shot, 16 miles away. Their alibis covered them for all but 45 minutes of the night.

But detectives reckoned it would have taken only 40 minutes to kill Mr Sibbett and drive to the Birdcage, in atrocious weather. Crash marks on Mr Sibbett's Mk 10 Jaguar corresponded to those on an E-Type Jaguar driven by Mr Stafford on the night of the murder. The men were convicted and sentenced to life.

Two appeals were turned down before both were freed in 1979 on licence. Mr Stafford has always maintained that Mr Sibbett was shot by a Scottish criminal. His licence was revoked after he breached its conditions by moving to South Africa. He returned to Britain in 1989 for a visit but was caught by a security check after booking into the same hotel as the visiting Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He remained in prison until 1998.

Mr Stafford, who lives in style at Stanhope Castle in Wearside, declined to comment. His solicitors believe the non-disclosure of evidence in the 1960s trials made it far harder to defend individuals such as Mr Luvaglio and Mr Stafford.

It is believed the CCRC will publish its findings in weeks rather than months.

News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York