The Unusual Suspect: The Rise and Fall of a Modern-Day Outlaw
Ben Machell (Author)
Pre-Order Ships Jan 19, 2021
DescriptionThe remarkable true story of a modern-day Robin Hood: a British college student who started robbing banks as the financial crisis unfolded. Stephen Jackley was a young British college student when the global financial crisis began in 2007. Overwhelmed by the growing indifference towards economic equality, he became obsessed with the idea of taking on the role of Robin Hood. With no prior experience, he resolved to become a bank robber. He would steal from the rich and give to the poor. Against all likelihood, his plan actually worked. Jackley used disguises, elaborate escape routes, and fake guns to successfully hold up a string of banks, making away with thousands of pounds. He attempted ten robberies in southwest England over a six-month period. Banknotes marked with "RH"--"Robin Hood"--began finding their way into the hands of the homeless. Motivated by a belief that global capitalism was ruining lives and driving the planet toward ecological disaster, he dreamed of changing the world for the better through his crimes. The police, despite their concerted efforts, had no idea what was going on or who was responsible. That is, until Jackley's ambition got the better of him. This is his story. Acclaimed journalist Ben Machell had full and direct access to Stephen Jackley, who in turn shared his complete set of diaries, selections of which are included throughout the narrative. The result lends an intense intimacy and urgency to Jackley's daring and disturbing tale, shedding light on his mental state and the challenges he faced in his own mind and beyond. It wasn't until Jackley was held in custody that he underwent a psychiatric evaluation, resulting in a diagnosis of Asperger's syndrome. Behind the simple act of bank robbery lies a complex and emotionally wrought story of an individual whose struggles led him to create a world in which he would succeed against all odds. Until he didn't.
January 19, 2021
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About the Author
Ben Machell is a feature writer for The Times and The Times Magazine and a contributor to publications including VICE and Esquire. He has been shortlisted for Feature Writer of the Year at the British Press Awards. Ben has full and exclusive access to Stephen Jackley and his surviving diaries, as well as access to law enforcement and the key characters involved in Jackley's story on both sides of the Atlantic.