“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.

1. Reverend Paul Flowers, chairman of the Co-operative Bank during the most disastrous period of its history, has had an unfortunate few months.

Following a painful performance in front of MPs in which he appeared to know little about banking, Flowers was exposed by the Mail on Sunday as a crystal meth user who regularly used rent boys.

Since then he has gone to ground, been subject to new kiss-and-tells and has been suspended by the methodist church.

2. Things took an even strange turn last week when he apparently opened a Twitter account, posting messages about his plans to write an autobiography.

Im up early and feeling refreshed, im back writing my tell all book it's part autobiographical part whistle blower, it will shock & amaze.

— Paul Flowers (@PaulFlowersRvd)

7. The @PaulFlowersRvd account followed some unusual accounts.

…and was itself mainly followed by journalists.

8. Last Monday the Daily Mail ran a story apparently confirming that the account was real.

“Although Flowers did not respond to requests to confirm that he was behind the account on the social networking sites, sources close to the minister said that it was genuine,” the paper wrote.

9. Today the Mail on Sunday ran a follow-up story across most of page nine, detailing more of the confessional tweets sent by @PaulFlowersRvd.

10. 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.

11. 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.

Me & my alter ego @badboysmcr as seen in todays @MailOnline @DAlLYMAlL & as seen on the Andrew Marr programme today.

— Paul Flowers (@PaulFlowersRvd)

12. Cody told BuzzFeed he set up the account in order to expose media hypocrisy following his arrest on suspicion of intimidating the escorts in the Paul Flowers case.

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.

13. He says this footage shows his arrest.

14. Cody said the media have been taking a close interest in him.

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.

Me & my dad Stephen Charlesworth who I have just found after 27 years, who is on page 27 of the sun paper today.

— C.C Lachey (@badboysmcr)

16. But he is particularly critical of the level of fact-checking undertaken by the newspapers.

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.

17. Cody also claims connections to Manchester’s notorious Noonan crime family and appeared in a 2012 documentary about them.

18. In addition, he has previously been investigated over Twitter death threats made to the footballer James McClean.

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.

19. And he also appeared in a BBC Newsnight piece produced by Donal MacIntyre in 2011, dealing with the aftermath of the Manchester riots.

Following this broadcast it was alleged that he had over-played his army credentials.

20. Cody says he has applied to be on the next series of Big Brother and lists previous media appearances.

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.

My letter from serial killer Dennis Nilsen signed by him #DennisNilsen

— C.C Lachey (@badboysmcr)

22. He says he can’t believe that the Paul Flowers account hoaxed people.

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.

23. 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.

25. But Cody says it’s not worth Flowers suing him and claims he is at risk of losing his home due to the government’s “bedroom tax” policy.

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.

26. 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.

Rev Paul Flowers' Twitter account is FAKE, his lawyer tells me. 'Anyone who believes that is real needs psychiatric attention'

— Julian Druker (@Julian5News)

Rev Flowers' lawyer tells me the fake Twitter account is 'at best mischief; at worst a perversion of the course of justice'

— Julian Druker (@Julian5News)

29. For now, Cody – who is well known to newspaper newsdesks – seems happy to gloat about his success in hoodwinking the media .

Buy my book "Journalism for dummies" written by @badboysmcr starring the formerly respected @DailyMailUK @MailOnline #hooklineandsinker

— Paul Flowers (@PaulFlowersRvd)

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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