Episode 09 Mark “Chopper” Read Part 2: Going Van Gogh to Leave H Division

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Every week Blood on the Sand brings you some of the Darkest True Crime set in some of the Most Beautiful Locations. Hosts Bob Keen, Andre Hashem, and Michael Johnson are here to serve you a Mai Tai with a side of bad guys

“I lost part of my spleen most of my gall bladder so many feet of stomach tubing so many feet of bowel part of the colon. I got the ice pick in the back of the neck which nearly severed the spine”
-Chopper after his mate Jimmy tried to murder him

“Don’t worry jimmy. I’m not going to hurt you. Your own life will destroy you.”
Jimmy replied “Yeah I know it will”

That’s right, Chopper is going to prison in this episode, and not just any prison H Division of Pentridge Prison. H Division was for “High security, discipline and protection” Now H Division to my knowledge isn’t the best place in the world, so Chopper always the inventive type came up with a fool proof plan, he was going to cut off his hands! After he was talked down from that ledge, he came up with the next best thing, his ears! While this was all going down he formed his own little prison gang, who were commonly known as the Van Gogh Club, isn’t that nice, wonder why? Chopper loses a lot of body parts in this episode, but the thing that hurt him the most was probably what his mate Jimmy did to him, but you’ll have to listen to the full episode to learn about that one! We’ll just leave you with what Chopper felt about the whole thing:

“To be stabbed by the same bloke that i tried to get out of jail is a good lesson….but a hard way to learn.”

So, to remind you where we are. It’s January 1978, Chopper was let out of jail after a failed escape attempt, during which time he shot at least one person, maybe 5, and his crazy peaks in a botched kidnapping attempt where he walked into sitting court and pointed a shotgun at a judge, got kicked in the nuts and subdued by security. So, needless to say, this time, he’s going to stay in jail for a while. Not forever though, thankfully for us, not so much for at least 2 people.

Chopper is placed in H Division of Pentridge Prison. H Division was for “High security, discipline and protection”, so essentially one of the most dangerous blocks in jail. The only one worse was B Division, which was for guys with long sentences and exhibiting bad behavior. He’s not alone though, because once in jail he’s reunited with old pals Jimmy Loughnan and Ned Clonan, but also some of the guys he held hostage for ransom. So Chopper, tough guy that he is, is afraid for his life.

So he starts scheming on how to get out. Starts with wanting to slit his wrists but that’s for puffs. “Eureka! If I chop off my hand, they’ll think I’m insane (when I’m really not hush hush between you and me and the bricks here) and transfer me to the psychiatric wing, and I’ll be out of danger. They’ll give me a hook for a hand and then no one in their right will mess with me” It honestly doesn’t seem like a positive or even lateral move, but Chopper is fucking crazy, as we’ll see. One of the boys, Ned or Jimmy says, “they’re not going to give you a hook or prosthesis in jail you dummy” and chopper is like “yeah good point. What else can I cut off to prove that I’m crazy? I know, my ears!”

He gets another inmate, Kevin James Taylor, who was doing time for shooting Pat Shannon. Kevin somehow had a razorblade (how do you get razor blades in jail? Your ass? How do you get them out? I guess double bag the condom?). The guy wraps the handle in toilet paper, Chopper sits in front of him, and dude starts sawing. Now, the sawing is painful, and Chopper starts yelling at him to just do it quickly, in one motion, instead of sawing. I’m surprised he didn’t take the razor blade and just do it himself. So his head is bleeding like crazy, he takes a cold shower to stop the bleeding but it won’t stop. Everyone corroborates that Chopper did this to himself to a) keep to the crazy story and also b) not get Kevin in trouble. Who wants that?

Listen to the entire episode to learn more!

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