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Boy in Blue


Based on the true story of PC John Higgins - a "pretty policeman" whose evidence convicted twelve ordinary men for what was a victimless crime. He gained their trust and was invited to their private party. On Higgin's evidence they felt the full weight of the law and were treated worse than murderers.  

    But was he really undercover, or was it just a cover-up? To bury deep and shameful desires and protect the Police's reputation? 

    By modern standards they did nothing wrong , but in 1897 the 12 were were tried at West Riding Assizes trial. Had Higgins not gained their trust and obtained an invite to the party there would have been no case.

    These men didn’t entertain London society like Wilde, they didn’t crack codes to win the war like Turing—they were amongst the 49,000 ordinary men who counted for nothing. At their first hearing in Dewsbury, an angry mob of several thousands gathered and had to be held back by the police such was the public anger and disgust at the offences. Their punishment was heavy. The outcome was never in doubt. Even one of the defence lawyers, when appealing to the jury to view the case dispassionately acknowledged: “that in cases of a horrible nature such as this, it is almost impossible for any human being to escape having a strong feeling of repulsion and disgust towards anyone so charged.”

    The prisoners, undefended or badly defended, received sentences of up to six years penal servitude (Oscar Wilde had just finished a 2 year sentence, in a much less harsh regime). The judge praised the actions of PC Higgins and hoped to bring his conduct to the notice of his superiors. (He was promoted to sergeant soon after.)


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