"Paul Flowers" Twitter Account Is The Work Of A Man On Bail For Alleged Threats To Escorts
A Twitter account purporting to belong to the drug-taking former Co-op Bank chairman appears to have fooled established news outlets. Here's what the hoaxer has to say about it.
Reverend Paul Flowers, chairman of the Co-operative Bank during the most disastrous period of its history, has had an unfortunate few months.
Things took an even strange turn last week when he apparently opened a Twitter account, posting messages about his plans to write an autobiography.
The @PaulFlowersRvd account followed some unusual accounts.
Last Monday the Daily Mail ran a story apparently confirming that the account was real.
Today the Mail on Sunday ran a follow-up story across most of page nine, detailing more of the confessional tweets sent by @PaulFlowersRvd.
But a man from Manchester named Cody Lachey – who has also gone under the name Craig Langley and tweets as @badboysmcr – claims he set up the account to fool the media.
Cody – who describes himself as an "uneducated street criminal" – has since posted a picture of himself with today's Mail on Sunday on the @PaulFlowersRvd account.
I was arrested on the 23rd November at my home in Radcliffe, north Manchester. They raided my flat with riot gear on and now I'm on bail for conspiracy to kidnap the two escorts in the Paul Flowers case. I've been arrested over firearms, witness intimidation, false imprisonment. But this interview with CID was one of the most relentless in-depth things in my life. I know the escorts and I was introduced to Paul through the escorts – I was running the door in the gay village and at the time Paul was a regular.I'm quite a serious criminal to be honest. My bail conditions are that I'm not allowed to contact the said parties, not allowed to go to Stockport, or go to the gay village. As a result I can't work. I've pretty much lost my security contract as a result of this Paul Flowers thing and I'm facing eviction.
He says this footage shows his arrest.
Over the past week I have had media outside, cards through me door, they've looked through my bins. They were buzzing the buzzers, looking through my letterbox.I tweeted that I would be in Leeds crown court to see my dad sentenced and I was snapped going into court and on the way out. [My dad] was in for stealing his dead dad's pension. It was on p27 of The Sun yesterday.
The Mail says it spoke to sources close to the reverend who confirmed that this account was true. I believe that to be a lie. My agenda was to expose the papers, the police, the government and the MPs. They all piss in the same pot and the government are covering up for the police with the [Mark] Duggan case. The whole temple is diseased and corrupt and I want to bring it down. I am not trying to make a gain from this - I'm not trying to besmudge Paul's character because it's already besmudged.Everyone in the media has an agenda and tries to make people look bad. Having been on the receiving end of that attention I wanted to make the media look bad. There's people who had 50,000 followers interacting with me as though I'm Paul Flowers. But the thing is, the grammar is all in the wrong place because I wasn't good in school. This silly little criminal in Manchester has fooled a national newspaper.
Cody also claims connections to Manchester's notorious Noonan crime family and appeared in a 2012 documentary about them.
I'm a former British army soldier and was arrested for death threats on Twitter. This footballer James McLean, I was arrested for sending pictures of live bullets to him and I was arrested for threats to kill. It was back in November 2012. So like I say I get in trouble because I say things without thinking.
And he also appeared in a BBC Newsnight piece produced by Donal MacIntyre in 2011, dealing with the aftermath of the Manchester riots.
I'm involved in crime, there's a picture on my Facebook of a letter from serial killer Dennis Nielson, I'm a colourful character, I've applied for Big Brother 2014.
To be honest I didn't think it would go as big as it has. I am ashamed and embarrassed that a reputable national paper has printed this. The Daily Mail is very reputable – it's not up there with The Times for politics and stock markets but I class it as a serious publication.I'd read in the media that Paul had set up a Facebook account. He added me but I didn't want to get journalists to see me on there. So I set it up [the Twitter account] with the same profile picture and the same gay pride picture. People have fallen hook, line and sinker.I just wanted to show that this uneducated street criminal could embarrass the national press.
And he was particularly amazed to see it discussed on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show this morning.
This Andrew Marr Show seems to be a Sunday morning must if you're into politics but they just read out what was in the papers, no factchecking.
Paul's at rock bottom, the only way is up. But if he wants to bring a libel case against me then I will declare myself as bankrupt.
BuzzFeed repeatedly tried to contact Andy Hollis, Paul Flowers' lawyer, but did not receive a response.
Earlier he spoke to Channel 5 reporter Julian Druker, the first journalist to confirm that Cody was behind the account.