When Laurie Manifold, born in 1928, was making his way as a journalist during the 1950s, the People’s Duncan Webb, a man dubbed ‘the greatest crime reporter of our time’, was setting the standard for daring, down and dirty investigative journalism. Most famously, in 1950, he had exposed the Maltese Messina brothers as the people behind prostitution rackets in Soho – or as his exposé put it, ‘four debased men with an empire of vice which is a disgrace to London’. Webb, it seemed, would do everything he could to get the big scoop, or so his legend made it appear. As Time magazine profile put it in 1955, Webb, then just 37, had been ‘slugged, kicked, lunged at with knives, shot at, knuckledusted and was once the target of a speeding automobile that raced on to the side-walk of a narrow Soho street and tried to smash him against a building’.
History makers: Laurie Manifold
As the phone-hacking trial rumbles on, we recall the exploits of a journalist not averse to employing the dark arts of deception and subterfuge in pursuit of a story.
comments powered by Disqus