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I Didn't Belong: A Promise To God

…The only way I knew how to behave in Doncaster was to be a member of my family and therefore a crook…

Despite his very best intentions Ronnie Cook finds it very hard to lead a law-abiding life.

Ronnie’s story of his journey from darkness to redemption, I Didn’t Belong, has received world-wide publicity. You can buy a copy from www.amazon.co.uk Type Ronnie’s name in the Amazon search box.

I moved to a place called Crewekerne for a short while where, like everywhere else, because of my skin colour and my illness people thought I was either a drunk or a junkie. But it wasn’t long before I became involved with drugs again.

At least I wasn’t alone. I had a job at the local nickel foundry and tried to keep my head down, but I just happened to notice that the night security used to go for a jaunt between two and four a.m. So on one of my nights off myself and a lad, Mick, decided to borrow his dad’s pick-up and help ourselves to a load of top quality nickel to earn ourselves a few quid bonus.

After a while I went to Colne in Lancashire for no other reason than they had a blues festival each year and I knew that I could get lost in music. I ended up staying for a short while - a year to be exact. It was the time when the two policewomen drug squad officers were the main dealers in cannabis. Fortunately they were caught.

It was then that I kept seeing little snippets about our Frank.
Apparently he had found a sudden ability to do sculpturing. What a load of tosh. He used to do it as a child at school. There is a photograph of him somewhere. He always said he would make a name for himself; he was even practising his signature for when he was famous. As usual he manipulated every situation for his own needs. However, I am proud of his achievements, but not at the way he did it. He has since gone on to do other things, including getting himself back into gaol. But that isn’t surprising - it’s just him being him.

It was at this time I decided to get in touch with my family, brothers Frank and Vincent, and cousins William and John. I ended up in Doncaster. What a big mistake! I was straight back into crime of all sorts. I know I could have moved and not got involved, but the only way I knew how to behave in Doncaster was to be a member of my family and therefore a crook.

However, it did eventually turn my life around. I became involved with counterfeit money. Although, I wasn’t caught with any, when it came to discharge from the police station one note ended up in my wallet. So I was arrested, as I agreed that it was the same as the notes they had shown me, and therefore it was a forgery. I knew there wasn’t any use in denying it, as I would be convicted anyway as I was a Cook.

I ended up remanded in various probation hostels. Some wouldn’t accept me as I had been painted as a violent criminal, but things worked out OK in the end. I ended up in Sheffield Crown Court, where I was sentenced to a new thing called a Combination Order along with a suspended sentence.

I reported to the probation service as required, but had nowhere to live. So, I ended up squatting in an empty flat in the Norfolk Park district of Sheffield, with my probation officer’s full knowledge, (all on record). I then had to go to a place called Nomad, an organisation I would recommend to anybody that is homeless.

I ended up sharing a house with a chap called Arthur. He was one of those drunks that thought that he could come it with me. I kept telling him he was making a mistake. One day we were watching the news on Calendar and a story came up about a prostitute that had been found murdered. Well, Arthur decided to declare that she deserved it, as she was only a slag prostitute. I said she may have been on the game, but she was someone’s daughter and probably had children of her own and didn’t deserve to die no matter what she had done.

But Arthur said, “You’re not in Doncaster now and you haven’t got your family or your guns to defend you, so don’t start with me!”

With this he grabbed me by the throat, to which of course I retaliated, but mainly because of what he had said. But I went a bit to far, and thought I had killed him. I won’t repeat what I was thinking but I ended up phoning the police and telling them what I had done. They came and arrested me and held me for days, I suppose waiting to see what the outcome of the battering I had given him would be before they charged me.

And, believe me, this time I sat in my cell and prayed like I have never prayed before. I remember my prayer was, “If you are really up there, do me a favour and help me out.” I promised that if He did I would be a good man and help others. I would even go to church regularly.

Eventually, they put me before the court, which was a stipendiary court; my solicitor spoke on my behalf very eloquently. The magistrate started thumping the bench, shouting, “Never in my 25 years of magistracy have I ever been forced to give someone bail for such an horrendous crime of violence towards another person.”

I couldn’t believe it! Back to the probation hostels for a couple of months. Eventually they came up with a hostel that would accept me, in Upperthorpe, Sheffield, but I was soon moved to a bedsit in Abbeydale Road. I applied for housing through the City Council, eventually; I was given a flat on the Kelvin. Talk about ‘out of the frying pan into the fire.’ It was a dumping ground. There were in fact some very nice people living on the complex, but there were quite a few unsavoury characters as well.

So here I was again on my own, confused and not knowing
Anybody. They say moving house is a stressful thing. Well it is. I decided to get involved with the local tenants’ association, at the time being run by Anthony Rodgers. By doing so I would be able to meet people and have company when I needed it.

But, because somebody recognized me as Ronnie Cook and thought I was the same as them, I always had a bunch of drug addicts thinking I would get them drugs because of my family and past associates, or drunkards knocking at my door wanting me to go for a drink with them to make themselves look good or give them a couple of bob for a bottle of plonk.

I suppose they felt safe with me, once again because of my friends and family connections. They would turn up with bits of tat thinking it was worth something, when in fact all it was worth was six month in gaol as they had stolen it. This of cause became a classic case of guilt by association. I used have the odd drink with them or the odd smoke (draw), along with other drug habits. I was slowly becoming that mad man again.

I don’t know if you have ever realised, but people like that
always think they have a great friend cause you spend a little time with them. This of cause is something that seldom happens, but when it does they always try to drag you down to their level or try to take advantage of you as they think you are an idiot or something.

I managed to keep a healthy balance, but eventually it got on top of me and my head started to go. I honestly used to pray each night asking God to give me strength to carry on and do well and keep out of trouble like I promised Him.

But, I eventually gave in to people’s demands and started selling wizz (amphetamine). I was doing alright, what with that and a bit of debt collecting for a few dealers on the complex.

Then one day there was a chap who thought it was great not to
pay me a tenner he owed me and go around the complex telling people he had ripped me off. Well, we couldn’t have that could we? So I had to punish him in what I thought was in defence of my pride and honour. I must have thought of myself as Raffles or someone of that ilk; I honestly thought I did it in self defence.


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