Sunday, 20 November 2011

The Ghost Writers


With the benefit of hindsight and a great deal of solid evidence we now know there was no ghost; indeed, we know that Farrant himself was the only "ghost" making an appearance at Highgate Cemetery in early 1970.

The following letters to the editor of the Hampstead & Highgate Express appeared immediately in the wake of Farrant's own letter claiming three sightings of a ghost-like figure at London's Highgate Cemetery. The first is written by Kenny Frewin, complete with Frewin's genuine address at the time. 

Kenny Frewin was and remains a close personal friend of David Farrant and often acted as his "minder" throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He also collaborated in further stories manufactured by Farrant in the press, but changed his name to "Kenny French" (on Farrant's advice) for that purpose. 

The second is also written by a close friend of Farrant. He knew both Audrey and her husband Michael Connely, the latter joining him and his first wife, Mary, whom he married in August 1967, on drunken forays with others to Highgate Cemetery after the pubs closed. Farrant altered her married status from "Mrs" to "Miss" when he came to write the letter using her name and address.   

The third letter is written by someone by the name of R Docherty who was also an acquaintance of Farrant. Docherty allowed his name and address to be used. There were others, Yossel Baker being one, who did not give permission for their name and address to be used. Farrant used it anyway.

The fourth counterfeit letter to the local newspaper is attributed to "Nava Arieli" who, in fact, is Nava Grunberg (later to become Nava Jehans) who was undoubtedly Farrant's closest friend (and occasional girlfriend) at the time. The address is not hers. She lived in Hampstead Lane, and still does. The next couple of fake letters are no less interesting. Yossel Baker often drank in the Prince of Wales pub where Farrant was present with a couple of mutual friends, including Tony Hill. Baker's real name and address was used on the fraudulent correspondence without his knowledge. Farrant assumed that Baker would not be especially bothered about his identity being used in this way. 

Finally, we come to a bogus letter written by a certain J McKennar of Muswell Hill Road, N10. By a curious coincidence that is David Farrant's current address where he has resided for decades; indeed, ever since his parole release from prison in 1976. When Farrant wrote his original hoax letter of 6 February 1970 he resided in Tony Hill's coal bunker in a communal cellar belonging to 9 Priestwood Mansions, 294 Archway Road, N6. Tony Hill, his wife and mutual acquaintances such as Audrey and Michael Connely, was well and truly in on the hoax. Hill offers the following testimony: