The story of Fred Wensley, a Somerset gardener who joined the Metropolitan Police in 1888 and retired, forty-one years later as Chief Constable of the CID, is an extraordinary one. After an abortive attempt to catch 'Jack the Ripper' by nailing strips of bicycle tyres to the soles of his boots, Wensley got stuck into arresting the ne'er-do-wells of Whitechapel, where he would spend twenty-five years of his service. Within months of joining the CID, Wensley, while off duty, arrested a double murderer.
He smashed the murderous Bessarabian and Odessa gangs, brought the Vendetta gang to book when, brandishing revolvers they tried to storm a police court, played a decisive part in the Siege of Sidney Street and created the Flying Squad. Wensley's career was dogged with controversy; when Stinie Morrison was convicted of murder, was he, as he claimed, framed by Wensley? And was Edith Thompson, hanged for the murder of her husband, as Wensley stated, 'a cold-blooded murderess' or, as her defence counsel claimed, 'a fanciful dreamer'? The first King's Police Medal was awarded to Wensley; he was appointed OBE and commended on many of occasions. Retired Flying Squad officer, turned author, Dick Kirby has dug deep to paint a fascinating portrait of the man dubbed, 'The Greatest Detective of all Time'.