Monday, 6 October 2014

The student armed robber - by Jack Hill

Student, Robber, Musician and Vlogger
"Who am I?"
by Jack Hill

My name is Jack Hill, I was incarcerated for just over 14 months in UK Prisons at the age of 25 whilst studying for a BSc Degree in Professional Sound and Video Technology at Salford University. I am starting to write blogs and I do Youtube video blogs (vlogs) on my experiences and observations from my time spent inside and amongst the criminal underworld of the UK.

Why am I starting a blog, its simple, people seem to be entertained by my stories and I believe that I have had an interesting life so far and may have a unique perspective on some things. I also like to try and help and inspire people as much as I can. I think the people and the internet deserve the truth as well.

How did a student, facing his own destruction find himself incarcerated for Armed (knife) Robbery? I made a very, very big mistake whilst I was in a deep state of depression and a less than sober mind.

Bare in mind, none of this or any of my vlogs are excusing what I did, let me make that very clear. I did something hurtful to others, to my family, friends, to the victims of my crime and to everyone who had ever met me. It shames me every time I think about it, it upsets me deeply sometimes to know that I had been so lost that I had acted so unlike "myself", hidden away in a corner of the world away from all of my loved ones because of the biggest mistake I have ever made. I have had a lot of time to feel sorry for myself and bad for what I did, but eventually you have to close that chapter of your life and move on. There is no point regretting the past so much that you miss or mess up the present.

So all I can do is try to be the best man I can be now, regardless of the mistakes I made, I've paid for them ( at least in accordance with the law of the land) and I can only try and be a good man for the future.

So what was I like before I went to Prison? I was apparently a "lovely child" my mother tells me, always playing and very well behaved and polite. I still feel like this child inside and remember massively how I felt at the age of 7, I am still that boy inside in many ways. I never lost my child like sense of wonder about the world or my love of "playing out" - ie running around outdoors, climbing, exploring and getting covered in mud and sweat. I had an fantastic child hood with my 3 siblings, two sisters and an older, and of course my parents.

So lets skip to 6 months before I was arrested.....

I had grown into a man. I was at university and had a long term girl friend. I had been using drugs and alcohol quite heavily during my university years which partly influenced the relationships demise. I also couldn't sleep very well and would often obsess over some things and couldn't sleep without figuring something out. I was in the midst of a depression, partly caused by a bit of a rough relationship - it wasn't physically abusive, but it felt very emotionally abusive to me, it was up and down and I just put up with it all.

So she broke up with me. It was the first person I thought I loved ( I definitely cared about her deeply) and it crushed me. I remember the break up was hours of us talking and just crying. One of the most painful moments of my life ( at the time), little did I know that my own stupidity had a little surprise in store for me and that this was nothing compared to the pain yet to come.

I went into a deep depression, I had been struggling with my mental health before this moment but things seriously went down hill for me at this point.

I tried to avoid everyone I could, I tried to recover on some days, but I was high a lot of the time and couldn't form an "escape plan" to my situation. The emotional damage that I had been bottling from my past and the damage that the end of my first long term relationship had caused had become an infection in my emotions and I couldn't seem to resolve them. I woke up crying and was deeply depressed.

A few other things happened that caused my situation to worsen, I had a good job setting up stages with a few friends and had done regular work on the Liverpool Echo Arena for the likes of Usher and Justin Beiber, to mention a few. The work for this company stopped coming in and I no longer had work to go to.

I also was working full time for 3 months in order to pay for my tuition fee's, being told that the loan was just delayed and would materialise in semester 2. I got to semester 2, after a really hard 3 months.... and the loan failed to materialise. I distinctly remember a phone call from the university saying that if I didn't pay all of my loan by the next day, I would be kicked off the course.

All of the above plus a lot of debt chasing me that I simply wasn't dealing with caused me to go into a hiding place where all of my problems just piled on top of me until eventually I had to get out of that house.

In this period, I rarely saw anyone else, I didn't eat that much at all, I hardly slept at all and my mental state snow balled into dangerous state that lead me to feel like I was on the precipous of my own destruction and I had to get out of my current situation. Though it was more of an inner sense of fear and running away than a reasoned thought process.

Unlike Andy Dufresne (picture above from the classic Shawshank Redemption) - I was guilty and deserving of Prison. 

On the night of my crime I believe that if I hadn't have done my stupid crime, I would have done something equal or greater in stupidity and killed myself. I remember the feeling, I had tunnel vision and no real sense of the world, I was a shell of my former self. When I was caught, I new something was changing and even though at the time I knew it was going to be bad, I didn't have any feelings of care for my own well being. I only felt really bad for the "ex-friends" that I had just scared the shit out of. It took a few hours to sink in properly and then I was in more pain again with the level of regret and shame I was experiencing.

They put me on suicide watch on the first night I was inside, fearing that I would self harm or attempt suicide. Understandably so, because I was crying loudly, shouting and punching walls for most of the night. That was the darkest night of my life.

But my family and friends followed me into the dark place, the place I had put myself in, just to see me and to hold out a hand and support me through it.

Without the people who supported me, I believe there was a good chance of me killing myself inside. I can't express in words the gratitude for their kindness, and the hope in humanity and life that they gave me over the next 6 weeks or so.

So I decided to try and stay alive and survive my prison time and that maybe on the outside there might be something good for me in the future. They made me believe that life could be good again.

I will be talking more on lots of different topics, possibly a weekly blog, but I usually do a weekly vlog if you want to check out my youtube channel as well or follow me on twitter for updates and an open dialogue :) 

or follow me on twitter : @avpstudios09

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed :)  


  1. Very moving, Mr Hill. It's good to see your new blog.

    Your post does give an insight into the circumstances behind what got you into prison. I'm very glad that you've come out of the other side and are now building a successful professional career. I'm also glad we're getting to know each other as well and may even end up working on a project together!

  2. I'm glad you have started a blog. I forget to turn down the volume on my phone for your vlogs on the train to work, now I can read your stories in silence.

  3. Well done for making this blog and regaining your life!

    There are people out there that have made mistakes and really need to hear these experiences.

    I hope that you keep writing now; many blogs just fade away! I'll be checking in to see!

    All the best

    Sasson Hann

  4. Very Inspirational to me. Keep up the good work.

  5. Outstanding - few spellos though ;)
    Bare in mind should be Bear in mind (as in bearing a burden)
    child hood >> childhood - Unless you meant the hood you grew up in?
    I new something was changing >> I knew something was changing.
    No big deal though - call me a pedant.
    Nice guitar work too.

  6. love your stuff, you deserve so much more attention.

  7. Glad to see you are working on yourself in a creative aspect Mr Hill. Very few people will turn this into something positive and I respect you for this. I will be sure to follow your blog and vlog and look forward to many more interesting write ups. Thank you for sharing your story of incarceration. Keep moving forward.

    Eliseo Weinstein @ JR's Bail Bonds

  8. Methadone and Mephedrone are two very different drugs. Don't speak about drugs on your "vlogs" whwn you clearly have no clue, it can be dangerous if some people take what you are saying as "the truth".

  9. My partner is in jail atm, i didnt know a thing about prisons, then stumbled on your you tube site which has really helped me understand prison better, so thanks Jack.........hes in for stealing my car crashing it !! My friends say im mad supporting him but we all have to make our own choices..

  10. Great work and keep it up... Really helped me to understand what my partner was going through in Prison. Haven't seen one in a while though..

  11. Just saw you speaking on C4 news Jack - incredibly impressed with your balanced, insightful comments about prison and prisoners. I'm just about to start coaching young offenders and your words gave me additional inspiration. As you said, if the prison environment is the worst, prisoner self esteem and behaviour will follow suit. First thing to change is the appalling environment and challenge the miserably low expectations the system has for those incarcerated - and to remember, that could be any of us. Will read your blog with great interest - keep up the good work Jack.

  12. Was impressed with your articulate and eloquent interview on Channel 4 news, not everyone is able to share their experiences so well. I agree with your point that people are sent to prison as punishment, not to be punished. But for reform too - this worked for you. Hope you manage to stay off the drugs and alcohol and have a successful career as writer and speaker, perhaps mentor.

  13. I have a lot of respect for you Jack, I had no idea about your past. Keep up the good work!

  14. Hi Jack, I've loved your prison series, have you ever thought about prison reform? Maybe from an activist perspective. I think the logical place to start would be to just to give prisoners free tobacco (at a minimum), as this would prevent the possibility of extortion while in prison, and would end up lowering the rate of re-offending. Just an idea.

  15. also, the way you look in your photos absolutely reeks of prison. lol.

  16. Oh, besides, I've never been to prison, e me if you'd like but you mentioned in one of your vids that you'd like to get into farming. That might be something i could help you with. Email is:, message me if you'd like a chat. Cheers.