Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ex-Con buys his old cell

An Ex-prisoner liked his old cell at Melbourne's Pentridge prison so much that he is buying it back.

Graeme Alford, who spent several years in the former Pentridge prison at Coburg, in Melbourne's north, after being convicted of embezzlement and later armed robbery in the 1970s, will buy cell number 43 in the jail's old D Division.

The former prison is being redeveloped into a residential and commercial complex.

Mr Alford's cell, which is in the same section where Ronald Ryan became the last man hanged in Australia, is in a part of the former prison which will be redeveloped into a wine block that will eventually house $50 million worth of rare wines.

Mr Alford, who was educated at Trinity Grammar and Melbourne University, became a barrister.

But his love of gambling and drinking eventually led to his downfall. He got into debt with bookmakers, so he stole money from his clients' trust funds and was jailed for 16 months in the early 1970s. A short time after his release from Pentridge prison, Mr Alford took a sawn-off shotgun and attempted to rob the National Bank in Chapel Street, Prahran.

He was sentenced to another stint in jail, this time for seven years.

After leaving prison in 1980, Mr Alford turned his life around, swearing off the booze, writing books and starting a career as a motivational speaker with the help of businessman Bob Ansett.

Mr Alford will sign the sale contract tonight in Melbourne.

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