UK’s most dangerous is turned to tears
Once known as one of the most dangerous prisoners in the UK, Shane Taylor went on a 17-year rampage of violence, theft and drugs until a dramatic encounter turned him to tears and showed him God was real. Sandie Shirley reports.
At the age of 19, Shane was arrested after two attempted murders. Then, after a number of incidents at HMP Holme House, near Middlesbrough, he was put in segregation. The Home Office came to know him as one of the six most dangerous prisoners in the country.
“In prison I went wild. I lost hope, I lost love and I did not care if I got ‘life’ since I lost all my inhibitions. But now I know God is real and he can change your life,” Shane told an Alpha supper hosted by Christ Community Church in Attleborough, a couple of weeks ago.
Today he is a doting father with a strong Christian faith who works with ex-offenders. “I meet them at the prison gates, mentor them and bring God into their lives because I know God is going to change them, he changed me,” he said.
As a teenager he took on society and authority after he was bullied at school. “I was determined no-one would pick on me again,” Shane told the packed audience during the Alpha course, which explores Christianity.
“I would steal anything in my path,” said Shane. He was soon mixing with the wrong crowd and he made daring daylight burglaries while the occupants were at home.
His role model was an uncle who had a reputation for fighting. “I carried a full set of knives around my waist. When I pulled out a knife I intended to hurt someone.
“I did not have any morals. I became a feared drug dealer. Life was about my reputation, I showed everyone that they should not cross me.”
Soon he was on the run for kidnapping and attempted murder. After landing in gaol he fought the system, rebelling with violent attacks on inmates and stabbing two prison officers with broken glass when he could not use the gym, causing a riot.
Shane was moved to a variety of maximum security prisons. “They were full of mafia hit men and serial killers,” he says. There were long stretches of segregation and six or seven officers used riot shields as they opened his cell door, he explains.
When Shane moved to Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight he met a lifer who threw down the faith gauntlet. “Jesus loves you, open your heart,” he said. “I thought he was mad but I could not forget him telling me that he had been in prison for years and would never be released but he was free.”
After moving to another prison, Shane responded to an Alpha invite because of the biscuits and debates.
Eventually he made a desperate plea to God. “If you are real come into my life - I hate who I am; I hate who I have become.”
Suddenly Shane could not stop sobbing. “I could feel a weight being lifted from me. In a split second I knew God was real and Jesus had touched me.
“We all deserve to go to hell. According to the Bible all of us are sinful and miss the mark. That is why the Bible is called the Good News – if you accept Jesus Christ you go to heaven.”
Weeks later, Shane’s changed behaviour meant a trusted job with the prison chaplaincy instead of permanent segregation. Almost a year after that Alpha day he was freed from prison.
“God has spoken to me and done things that only he could have done for me. I am now married with four beautiful children and I do Bible studies at night. He has changed the path of my family and changed the next generation,” says Shane who tells prison inmates about the Saviour who gave him new life and purpose.
Pictured above is Shane Taylor, whose life was touched by God.