I was fortunate to have a good upbringing and benefit from a private education. I have always had
an entrepreneurial streak in me and even at a young age, I remember selling sea shells to holiday
makers whilst on a family holiday in Barmouth. I made enough money to buy myself a fishing rod
and it was a great feeling. I left school with average grades, although I excelled in Commerce and
gained a Grade A GCE in the subject. Around this time, my Mother and my Step Father divorced
and much to my Mother’s dismay, I decided not to study A Levels and go on to University and
opted for a Trainee Sales Executive role with a Computer Software House. I did well, and soon I
was outselling everyone including the Sales Manager. I asked the Managing Director to sack the
Sales Manager and to let me have his job. He declined. This annoyed me so I resigned and set up
my first proper Business Venture, The Selvac Group.
The Business was in the competitive promotional incentives market and we soon acquired a good
name within the industry which led us to servicing many household brands including Barclaycard,
Kodak Film, Moben Kitchens, Ford Motor Company and many more. Within a relatively short period
I was a self-made millionaire. The Company had 12 full time employees and I was enjoying life. I
worked hard and partied even harder. I soon developed a gambling addiction and an obsession for
making money. Despite these problems I was short listed for Shell Livewire’s Young Entrepreneur
of the Year. It was 1990 and I was still only 19 years old.
Then the crash! In 1991 the country suffered a major recession and literally overnight our order
book became depleted with cancelled orders and frozen budget spends. I used every penny I had
and borrowed heavily to salvage the business but it was rapidly going to the wall. One evening my
Business Partner and I were discussing the severity of the situation when we both agreed to a plan
which would ruin not only my life but my family, friends and many others as well. The Company
still retained a very good credit rating and this meant we could borrow and buy goods on credit. It
is exactly what happened. Goods came in, were sold at ludicrously low prices and we never paid
our creditors. Soon I made my fortune once again and continued living the high life. We got away
with things for about a year until the inevitable knock at the door. I was arrested and charged with
Fraud. In court I pleaded guilty and to my surprise escaped prison and received a Probation Order.
I flitted from job to job. Sometimes I had money, Other times I had nothing. I wanted to get back
into Business and befriended one of my bosses to lend me £10,000. She did but the venture never
worked out. I was all prepared to work off the debt when out of the blue she reported me to the
police. That was that. I received 12 months in prison. Fortunately I ended up doing most of my
sentence in an Open Prison. It was not a deterrent and I would visit prison on two more occasions
in 1999 for a major Ponzi Fraud and again in 2006 for an EBay Fraud. It was starting to tot up. In
between I had met up with my biological Father and fathered a daughter of my own.
In 2009, I hit my rock bottom. I was an out and out Gambling Addict and Problem Drinker. I was
robbing Peter to pay Paul and was finally arrested when I could not make good on my promises. I
was remanded. The next day after an eventful three hour Magistrate appearance, I was carted off
to HMP Bullingdon. I was washed up and very depressed. In the holding cell I met a fellow prisoner
who could clearly see my pain. He talked to me and suggested that I looked at the RAPt Program.
He explained that he was an Alcoholic and was serving a Life Sentence for Murder. He told me that
the RAPt Program had helped him in various ways and that he had found manageability in his life
which he had not had for a long while. That is what I needed. I wanted to have what he had.
In April 2010, I started the RAPt Program. WOW! I have never experienced power like it. I became
immersed in the program and opened up to total strangers. I shared my darkest secrets, my
moments of depression and elation. We laughed together and cried together. The release was
unlike anything I had ever known. I felt FREE! After graduation I joined as a RAPt Peer Mentor and
found the experience very rewarding. I also took on several other Peer Mentoring roles for Toe by
Toe and on the Vulnerable Prisoner Wing. I never knew Peer Mentoring could be so enjoyable and
rewarding. Time flew by and I was soon at an Open Prison again. I continued to Peer Mentor for
RAPt, Toe by Toe and added Aim Higher into the mix. I inherited a Mentee who could not read or
write properly. I spent a lot of time with him and with my encouragement and motivation coupled
with his desire to succeed, within a year, he gained TWO GCSE’s in English and Mathematics. I was
so proud to be part of that experience and success story. I have many more examples and success
stories that I could share.
In November 2010, I won Aim Higher Mentor of the Month and became an Accredited Mentor. This
culminated in me being selected to give a speech in Parliament to the All Party Parliamentary Penal
Affairs Group on the subject of Prison Peer Mentoring. I received a standing ovation which made
me feel proud and responsible. I knew then that I needed to help others.
In fairness I have made use of my time in prison and totted up several qualifications including a
BSc in Psychology, Stress Management Advanced Diploma, Level 4 Life Skills Coaching Diploma
amongst many other Vocational qualifications.
I was released from prison in early 2012. Since then I have set up a successful Internet Business
and Employed 8 full time staff. I am currently selling off part of that business to a large media
company. I continue to practice 12 step in my daily affairs and meditate on a regular basis. Today
my life is better. I no longer have obsessive behaviour, I live a law abiding life and enjoy every
day. I have gained the respect and trust of my family and friends. I owe this to one fellow prisoner
who took the time to talk to me in my darkest hour. He literally introduced me to a new way of life
and for that I will be forever grateful. We are still close friends and will be for the rest of our lives.
I have met some truly extraordinary people due to 12 step and never get tired of hearing and
carrying the message to others. I can never repair the damage I have caused to my victims but I
can influence the future. My best amends is to live crime free and to help other Offenders find the
serenity I have found in my own life.
Second Chance Mentoring can and will make a difference and I am proud to be involved with such
a worthwhile project. Thank you for reading my story. A new chapter is about to begin…