A former Metropolitan Police officer has teamed up with the man who shot him in 1993 to help young people escape a life of crime.
MyLondon. according to the report of, James Seymour now considers former drug dealer and armed robber Leroy Smith to be his friend, and the pair have written a book together called Out of the Box.
It is a story that is unlikely to be shared with younger generations of Londoners who are believed to be at risk of falling into the violent world that first brought them together some 20 years ago.
James was shot in the back by Leroy as a police officer was about to search him, when the latter left the Atlantic pub in Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, where he was dealing drugs.
Leroy never intended to kill James—otherwise he would have hit his head, he explains.
But his gunshot had the desired effect, giving him enough time to escape, knowing he was already a wanted man, escaping during a transfer from Leicester to Brixton prison after being jailed for gunshots. Been running since.
James spent the next four days in the hospital, while Leroy used forged documents to leave the country, first to Holland and then to New York.
The FBI later caught up with him when he joined a gang of Jamaican drug dealers and was deported back to the UK, where he went to prison for a second time.
At the time, he seemed anything but remorseful, taunting James while pointing an imaginary gun at the courtroom.
He also stabbed people and stabbed himself in jail.
After serving his sentence, however, his then-partner changed Leroy’s outlook on life.
He became a writer, actor, and mentor, writing his life story—one that James would later add—as a means, he hoped, to provide a lesson to youth caught in similar circumstances.
Then, all of a sudden, an offer to meet James came.
Through the Victim Support charity, James was tracking Leroy’s life and, out of natural curiosity, read his book, which detailed Brixton’s life in the 1980s, when his mother was murdered. was when he was only two years old.
On his desire to see Leroy in person, James explained: “For many years there was a lot of bitterness. Not hatred, but bitterness.
“I never hated Leroy. I definitely didn’t like him. But I didn’t hate him because it wasn’t personal. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I read the book and found out about his life, his mother being murdered, where he was raised [and] The temptation to deal with drugs. And I don’t care what anyone says, a lot of black people have been discriminated against because of their color and it still continues.
“I thought, it takes years for people to go and get educated, to get a real good job and make the same kind of money and you’re also facing prejudice. So I can see young kids committing crime. Why get involved and I understood that with Leroy. That was the challenge for me to understand what happened.”
Leroy admitted that he was confused at first and approached the meeting with fear, fearing that it was a ploy to seek revenge.
“I was so scared,” I reveal. “I chose a train station to meet because it’s quite public and busy, so it’s hard for anyone to do anything with me there.”
James was concerned even before the unusual reunion, but believes that the friendship the pair have built up and the good work they are doing together fully justifies her decision to meet the man. who shot him.
“I was terrified,” James confessed. “I wondered if I was doing the right thing? Did he really want to redeem himself?
“But I know that meeting him has changed many lives. that’s all that matters. ,
Leroy, who promptly apologizes to James when the pair meet face-to-face, is also grateful for the new life he is pursuing and has no regrets about leaving his past behind.
He reflected on his criminal past, “the way to always have £10,000 in your pocket to buy anything you want whenever you want.” “I was living in my condo with four girls, which I had, I had a car, a lot of jewelry, and guns. All the things that people dream of being, but never really get, I really had.
“There were some good times, but they were never worth it.”
He now also appreciates his father’s pleas to change his lifestyle from 20 years ago.
“I thought he didn’t know what he was talking about,” Leroy explained. “I was walking in with a Sainsbury’s bag of like £70,000 I just got from a post office and he wanted to ask me to sign-on to get the rent money.
“But, when you live that life, all that stuff, no matter what it looks like, eventually, it will all be destroyed and disappear from you,” he said.
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