There ’s a saying,‘There ’s n ’ought as queer as folk!’ And certainly, from where I sit, conducting live interviews every week on air for Premier Christian Radio in London, that ’s true. Just recently I met two men. Both had had their world turned around, upside down and inside out. They ’re affectionately called the millionaire and the junky - Martin Clark and Tommy Jituboh. Their stories are very different but in some ways quite similar. So join me now and I ’ll take you through their extraordinary stories.
JF: Tommy - you ’ve had a miserable life …22 years in prison …a drug addict …where did it all start?
TJ: My father used to beat me every day for no reason at all …he would sit me down in front of him to read and because of the beatings, I couldn ’t read, I was so scared. It ’s only since I ’ve been a Christian, during the past 8 1 /2 years,that I ’ve learnt to read and write. I went to Bible College and I got the first grade in my life at the age of 43!
JF: So in the last 8 years you ’ve made up 40 years! Tell me about your 22 years in prison.
TJ: There were times when they would lock me down because I was trying to break out. I was fighting with the officers and they would put me in ‘seg ’, in a unit on my own, for 23 -24 hours a day. I would just sit on my bed and look at the ceiling, because I couldn ’t read or write. It felt like I was doing ‘double bird ’. But today I know God ’s hand was on my life.
JF: But you didn’t know then.
TJ: I didn ’t. I really believed then I had evil spirits in me, because of things that I ’d done and the violence I ’d shown,and the robberies; I knew something demonic controlled my life.
JF: And the drugs?
TJ: The drug addiction started when I was 33. I ’d experimented with all sorts of drugs from the age of 9, including heroin and pep pills. But at the age of 33 I took cocaine and I became addicted. It was a high class drug. I was an under cover drug taker because my desire was to be a gangster. I grew up around the Kray twins and I thought they had lovely cars and clothes, and lots of money, and I wanted the same. But I spent so much time in prison.
JF: Tommy,what used to go through your mind when you were locked up in your prison cell? Did you ever think about the future?
TJ: There was no future Julia. I knew that when I left prison I was going to go back to thieving. So much bitterness was in my heart. The future was bleak, it was dark. I knew I would either die on the streets of Kings Cross or in prison. Each time I was released I would get more deeply involved in thieving and in drugs then one day the heroin took control of my life. I became a heroin addict. And one day I ’d had enough. I worked out a plan to kill myself. The only person I worried about was my mum - I loved her. I loved my father even though he used to beat me. He ’s dead now and he never told me why he ’d done that. I also had brothers and a sister, and my three children.When I thought about them I would start crying; but I was really only feeling sorry for myself.
JF: But you wanted to die?
TJ: I wanted to die;it seemed the only way out. Then one day, on the streets of Kings Cross, a man came to talk to me. He told me he was from America, an ex Mafia member. But God had come into his life. He was Art Blajos. And in the midst of that jungle he shared Jesus.
JF: Martin, unlike Tommy you had a good education, you went to a Catholic school..
MC: Yes, I was born in Chelsea and my father was a caretaker for a block of flats in a place they call Chelsea Green now. I was educated at the Brompton Oratory School where I served the Latin Mass every day for 10 years.
JF: You were working for Taylor Woodrow but decided you wanted your own business..
MC: Yes, I was always a month overdrawn and I tried to persuade my bank manager that I was born a month too soon! I qualified as a Chartered Surveyor when I was 22 and I started my own business at 25.
JF: And you were soon a millionaire.
MC: Within 5 years - I was very fortunate;I just hit it.
JF: You could have put your feet up and retired?
MC: By the time I was 32 I worked out that I could have retired. By then I was married and owned a house in St John ’s Wood. I had the chauffeur and the gardeners and the cooks and the bottle washers!
JF: But your marriage ended.
MC: Yes. She came home one night and told me she ’d found someone else and wanted a divorce. I was devastated and that night I left the house and checked into a hotel. I decided that rather than hit the drink or the drugs I would go off to China. I had business connections in the Far East and main land China was opening up for business. So I arrived in Beijing a hurt man. I met two English men in the hotel the first day I arrived and asked if I could share their office. And I soon found myself in the wine business.
JF: You eventually came back from China, why?
MC: Well in 1991-2 the UK was going through a major recession. So whilst in China I just kept things ticking over here. But when things started to pick up I came back to London but kept my business in China as well! I had a beautiful apartment on Bond Street. I had money in my pocket; but I was a very unhappy man - I was never fulfilled. I was horse racing; I was playing roulette; I was sleeping around, but I was never happy. Then one Friday night I was walking down Bond Street and decided to stop for a cigarette and a cup of coffee. I sat down in a café and met a man who was a very famous fashion photographer and had a problem with his landord. I managed to sort it out for him and we became friends. Over the following 6 months we saw each other every day. Then one night he asked if I felt like a curry and we drove over to a restaurant in Southall. We parked his Rolls Royce outside the Salvation Army citadel. We walked across to the restaurant and this beautiful Indian girl ushered us to our seats and we found ourselves in the middle of a Christian meeting! We were both utterly amazed!
JF: Did you leave?
MC: No we stayed. But three weeks later Terence hung himself in his studio in Hanwell. And it was after that the beautiful Indian girl, with two other men, came to see me in my office. They said they would like to pray for me because I needed Jesus in my life. And I said,“Does Jesus do business, because I ’m only interested in business.” They talked to me about Jeremiah 29 …. “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
JF: Were you ready to hear this?
MC: I was ready yes. Like a lot of business men, I was wearing a mask. I was crying out underneath, but I had reached that stage of being willing to take the mask off.
JF: They were quite audacious in their courage to speak to you like that.
MC: They were very persistent! I ’ve met a lot of salesmen in my business life, but these people were selling something that at first I didn ’t want. But they kept coming! There was a love in their faces that I was drawn to. The girl had a pretty face but she had more beauty within her. It was like touching china, she was so fragile and I was very very respectful.
JF: So Tommy you were a drug addict on the streets of King Cross …you met Art Blajos and he started to tell you about Jesus.
TJ: At first I didn ’t believe he was a Christian, I thought he was a drug smuggler because of the way he looked. And he looked like a hit man …which he used to be. But gradually I came to realise he was genuine. He would just be there for me. He would visit me every day and buy me coffee. He became my friend … my only friend. One Sunday morning I asked him if Jesus was real. He said, “Tommy,he ’s real.” This was the day I planned to kill myself. I sat on my bed and drank a quantity of methadone. I injected heroin and cocaine into my veins. I knew I had taken enough to kill me. But I woke up two hours later and I found myself sitting by my front door. I phoned my sister and she said, “Let ’s go back to the church.” And on the way there I bought a case of beer. I drank, but I couldn ’t get drunk. Art came to meet me as I went in to the church.I told them I didn ’t want to be a junkie but I didn ’t want Jesus either.
JF: What was it about Jesus that you didn ’t like?
TJ: I didn ’t believe he was real. They told me that was no problem. They told me they were going to pray for me then take me to a Christian home where Jesus was going to heal me. I thought they were mad. And I was only doing this to please my sister. I even said Amen to the salvation prayer! But I was still a junkie. I knew I was going to be sick in the morning. But they took me to this home. I decided I would stay there just one night, and then go back to Kings Cross. They prayed for me again and took me to a room. And there was a little Indian man there. He used to be an alcoholic. He asked if he could pray for me. I said, “No you can’t. I want to go to sleep because I ’m going to be sick soon.” So he sat on his bed, next to mine, and he prayed all night, in tongues. Two or three hours passed and I felt a presence in the room; such a warmth, a safety net around me. I said, “Jesus, if you ’re real and you can do what they’re telling me, I ’ll serve you for the rest of my life.” Then morning came. I got up and went downstairs and ate a big greasy cooked breakfast –eggs,bacon,porridge – I ate everything, and as a drug addict you normally can’t eat. Then the director said, “Take Tommy for a walk.” We were out for about 2 hours. I felt fine. I wasn’t sick. That was nine and half years ago and I ’m still waiting to be sick!
JF: You came off drugs overnight?
TJ: God honoured my word.
JF: Tommy and Martin, you now go around the country together telling your story.
MC: Tommy and I are both members of Holy Trinity, Brompton. I married the beautiful Indian lady, Shanene, who led me to the Lord. Tommy and I talk to business men … men who are in prisons of debt, pornography, whatever …we ’re known as the millionaire and the junky! Tommy came to my office recently and he seemed to know his way round. I said, ‘Tommy you seem to know you ’re way round .. you know where the Board room is, you know where the meeting rooms are, you know where the toilets are. And he said, ‘Yes Martin,I ’m sorry to have to tell you, but I burgled this place 6 years ago!’
JF: And Tommy, you ’re also going back into prison and sharing your story with the inmates ..
TJ: It ’s just fantastic … it ’s just God, God, God. I thank God for a second chance.
JF: Martin, you ’re working with the homeless as well as running your business.
MC: Yes,in Victoria,and we visit Holloway prison as well. I just feel fabulous. Life is beautiful with Jesus.