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Reformed drug dealer warns pupils away from a life of crime





Chipping Campden School students David Musgrave, aged 14, Noah Booker, 13, Henrietta Nichols, 14, and Jacob Matthews, 14, had a taste of American prison life courtesy Shaun Attwood, left. Photo: Mark Williamson
Chipping Campden School students David Musgrave, aged 14, Noah Booker, 13, Henrietta Nichols, 14, and Jacob Matthews, 14, had a taste of American prison life courtesy Shaun Attwood, left. Photo: Mark Williamson

A reformed drug dealer who spent years in one of America’s toughest jails spoke to students at Chipping Camden School this month to drive home his hard-hitting anti-drugs message.

Shaun Attwood, 47, was a stock market millionaire in the states before becoming an ecstasy supplier.

Originally from Widnes in Cheshire, Shaun was an avid raver in Manchester in the late 80s and continued his love of dance music in America where he threw raves and imported ecstasy.

After moving to America he became a wealthy stockbroker, though in the end his criminal behaviour caught up with him.

In 2002 a police SWAT team swooped on Shaun’s house and he was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years in Arizona’s notorious Maricopa County Jail.

Since his release in 2007 Shaun has turned his life around, becoming an award winning author and guest speaker at schools and colleges.

The talk at Chipping Camden School saw Shaun talk to pupils about the horrors he experienced in prison and show slides about what it was like inside.

The presentation drives home the message that drug dealing is not glamorous and that there are harsh consequences if you pursue such a path in life.

Shaun was sponsored to speak at the school by Chipping Camden Rotary Club, who spotted him when he appeared at last year’s Chipping Camden Literary Festival.

Shaun said: “I thought I was cool, the man and I was above the law. In the end I had to pay the price and on May 16 2002 a SWAT team smashed my door down and I ended up in this jail that had the highest rate of deaths in America.

“I thought drugs were fun and cool because I’d heard about the celebrity addicts, seen the movies, seen the music videos but I didn’t know what it led to properly and once I was in the jail and I’d seen the horror of what the drug use led to, 90% of prisoners shooting up heroin, two thirds with hepatitis C slowly killing them, it made me ashamed of putting people on that road of drug use.

“I knew I couldn’t change my past but I resolved to go out and share my story with young people and hope they wouldn’t make the same stupid mistakes that I did.

“This is my second time at Chipping Camden School and it’s been such an amazing reception both times, when I finished and I asked the kids if they had any questions almost 200 hands went up. To see all this interest and the broad range of questions that they asked just makes me feel really honoured that they are so interested in my story.”

Student Henrietta Nichols, 14, said: “Shaun’s talk was very, very honest. It was really enlightening, these are not things that people of our age hear much about and it was very useful to me.

Jacob Matthews, 14, added: “I thought it was very interesting, quite hard hitting, but he really got his message across.”



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