Meet real-life Gangs of London crime family thought to be behind 25 murders

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    Season two of Gangs of London has finally been released with fans of the show being reacquainted with the most dominant crime organisation in the city.

    The BAFTA award winning series is based on the fictional Wallace gang but the reality of family members ruling the gritty underworld is nothing new with the Richardson mob and the Kray twins being obvious examples.

    But one real-life criminal empire, hailing from the capital, was ruled by three of the most feared brothers in Britain, who were considered even more brutal than the Krays.

    READ MORE: Where notorious London gangsters are now – from Kray enforcer to 'torture gang' thug

    The North Londoners, once estimated to be worth £200million, had many names, including the Clerkenwell crime syndicate, the Adams Family and the A-Team.

    They have been connected with 25 gangland murders – with one victim rumoured to be buried in concrete under one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

    Here, we take a closer look at the notorious mafia-like gangsters who hailed from the streets of London.

    The founders were brothers Terry, Thomas and Patrick Adams and they were at the height of their power in the 1980s and 1990s through their influence in murder, extortion, robbery and drug trafficking.

    And similar to Sean Wallace, played by Joe Cole in season one of Gangs of London, the siblings had Irish parents.

    They were raised in Islington which was where Britain’s youngest ever armed robber, Bobby Cummines, was born.

    But unlike Cummines, who eventually turned his life around, none of the Adams brothers went on to receive honours from the Queen.

    Terry, born in 1954, was the oldest of 11 siblings and his Catholic parents raised them in Islington’s Barnsbury Council Estate.

    He later led two of his brothers, Thomas and Patrick, to a career in crime and growing up they threatened to hurt market stallholders for money before later delving into armed robbery.

    The trio later made names for themselves in the underworld scene and enemies were reportedly kneecapped if they acted out of turn while their signature hit reportedly involved a gunman riding pillion on a motorbike.

    According to the Sun, one insider said: “If you were doing a job and you had the Adams family behind you, even just the name, it meant no one was going to f**k about with you, everyone would know they were going to get paid and everything would go as smoothly as possible.”

    Many dark rumours have surfaced about the A-Team but one of the most dramatic involved the Richardson’s ‘torture gang’ enforcer Frankie Fraser, who was blasted in the head in 1991.

    ‘Mad’ Frankie survived the shooting and he refused to tell cops who did it – despite the assassination attempt being heavily linked to the Clerkenwell crime syndicate.

    But while they reportedly had corrupt relationships with some police officers, the brothers were not above the law.

    Tommy, considered as the money man who had links with the Colombian cartels, was eventually cleared after being charged with fencing gold in the £26million Brink’s-Mat heist in 1983.

    But he was banged up for drug trafficking in 1998 before being punished for laundering money five years ago.

    Drugs were hugely in demand during the rave scene in the 1980s – and this is when the brothers became wealthy.

    But as mentioned, many murders have been linked to the gang, including Solly Nahome, the family accountant who was gunned down in 1998. Cops also believe hitman Gilbert Wynter, who disappeared months before, was also executed to stop him from ever talking.

    His body is now whispered to be in concrete underneath the Millennium Dome.

    Another unsolved murder is former high jump champion Claude Moseley, an A-Team drug dealer in the 1980s who was allegedly sliced in half with a samurai sword by Wynter before his own death.

    This happened in 1994 but Wynter was cleared after a key witness refused to give evidence in court.

    Another hitman linked to the Adams crime family is the ‘Jigsaw Killer’ Stephen Marshall who was caged for life in 2010 for killing his landlord.

    The victim was Jeffrey Howe – whose leg was discovered in Hertfordshire before his arm and head were found in Leicestershire. Marshall was only charged with the Howe murder but he admitted to butchering four other men in the 1990s.

    He also bragged about “taking care of situations” for the A-Team and one of his victims, who survived, later revealed how his nose and ear were left hanging off after the beating.

    Terry Adams eventually found himself behind bars after MI5 brought down his syndicate.

    During his trial in 2007 at the Old Bailey, prosecutor Andrew Mitchell QC said: “It is suggested that Terry Adams was one of the country's most feared and revered organised criminals.

    "He comes with a pedigree, as one of a family whose name had a currency all of its own in the underworld.

    "A hallmark of his career was his ability to keep his evidential distance from any of the violence and other crime from which he undoubtedly profited."

    Before being sentenced to seven years in jail for money laundering, Terry profited hugely from crime and he enjoyed luxury holidays and was known to splash out on cars and even a yacht. He is also married to former Eastenders actress Ruth and the pair were able to privately educate their daughter.

    He was eventually imprisoned after a ten-year MI5 led investigation into his finances. Terry was released in 2010 after being ordered to pay back £750,000.

    Terry has since claimed poverty after initially failing to pay court bills of £50,000, with him saying in 2019: “I am living on handouts. I will pay as much as I can now. I can afford to pay what I do now, 10 to 15 pounds a week. That's what I can afford.”

    Enforcer Patrick Adams, better known as Patsy, meanwhile was jailed for nine years after shooting a former associate in the chest in December 2013. Tommy Adams was also jailed in 2017 for laundering nearly a quarter of a million pounds, landing him a seven-year stretch.

    Despite the sentences, detectives still believe the gangsters managed to get away with a lot of their crimes.

    But one ex-copper said: “They believed they were untouchable but police operations over the years have revealed they’re not.”


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    • Money
    • Drugs
    • London
    • Crime
    • Murder

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