Woman dubbed ‘Britain’s most dangerous’ after Ilford robbery talks of turning life around
In 1997, after terrorising an Ilford street with an antique gun and taking four police bullets in the process, tabloids dubbed a young mother the most dangerous female criminal in Britain.
Then 31, Jane Lee was about to serve the first of three prison sentences.
A robbery in Perth Road, Gants Hill had gone wrong and now, chasing her target past Valentines Park in a Transit van, she was screaming at pedestrians to “get down”, gun in hand.
Two operations, 350 stitches and a blood transfusion later, she woke up in King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes, her right arm torn apart by gunshot wounds. Doctors told her she should have been dead.
An armed robber at the age of 14 and a mother four years later, Jane grew up fast and was a dab hand with a samurai sword and a sawn-off shotgun when the law caught up with her.
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She often cited her “gipsy blood” – inherited from her father – as the source of her pluck and resilience.
Fifteen years on, Jane is now a volunteer with rehabilitation service Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI).
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Nicknamed “the Gran” in her youth, she now really is a grandmother and has written a book about her life.
“Now I’m doing my work with the CRI I’ve got a goal,” she said.
“I’m doing that three days a week, and whenever else they need me. I’m really enjoying helping people turn their lives around.”
Jane, now 45 and of Tuck Road, Rainham, added: “I started it [the book] when I thought I was going to die and finished it when I came out of prison,” she said.
“I was in a very dark place,” she added. “But I’m out of that world now and I want to help other people who’ve had it hard.
“I’ve gone straight for 10 years. It was only because of the betrayals I had a breakdown,” she said. “But this time I’ve got a grandson. Life is for living and crime’s not nice.”
• Jane Lee’s autobiography Gypsy Jane is out now, published by John Blake. It is available on Amazon and from bookshops. Price �7.99.