Cockney Kids Are Innocent

Album: That's Life (reissue) (1978)

Songfacts®:

  • This Jimmy Pursey/Dave Parsons composition had an embarrassing inspiration. Although not in the same league as the Kray Twins - they of "Profession Of Violence" fame - George Davis was an East End villain. In March 1975 he stood in the dock at the Central Criminal Court accused of participating in an armed robbery during which a police officer was shot in the leg; he received a 20 year sentence. Davis was convicted on the basis of identification evidence, but many were unconvinced, and a campaign was started which saw the slogan "G. DAVIS IS INNOCENT OK" and variants daubed on walls the length and breadth of the country.

    This campaign attracted some high-profile support including from Roger Daltrey of The Who, and resulted in a group of activists digging up the cricket pitch at Headingley, Leeds in August of that year.

    His appeal against conviction was rejected in December, but in May 1976, Home Secretary Roy Jenkins recommended he be pardoned, and Davis was released.

    That should have been the end of the matter, but Davis had been back on the street for little more than a year when he was arrested for armed robbery again, this time on the Bank of Cyprus, in September 1977. Although he pleaded guilty, there can be little doubt if any that this robbery was staged by a police agent provocateur.

    Regardless of that, this B-side of "Angels With Dirty Faces" was shortly renamed "Cockney Kids Are Innocent."

    Davis continued his life of crime, but in February 2011, his conviction for the first bank robbery was finally quashed by the Court of Appeal. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England

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