Gerry Tobin led Bible studies in his Calgary home, prayer meetings at work and dreamed of becoming a missionary before moving to England with his wife. Nine years later, he was a tattooed member of the Hells Angels, the world's most notorious biker gang, and the victim of a daring murder when he was shot off his motorcycle on a busy UK motorway. I revealed the unusual past of the beloved Hells Angels for the National Post in an exclusive investigation in 2007.
Security camera footage caught Tobin and two prospecting members of the Hells Angels filling up their Harley-Davidson motorcycles at a gas station on Aug. 12, 2007, after leaving the Bulldog Bash, an annual biker festival hosted by the Hells Angels near Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of Shakespeare. It was taken just minutes before he was shot off his bike on the M40 motorway, struck by a bullet that hit him just under his helmet.
The video shows a relaxed and unhurried man, wearing his Hells Angels colours on his back as he refuels his beloved Harley-Davidson. At one point he looks up at the camera as he walks past it and flashes the broad smile that friends say was his trademark, even as a child. The video does not seem to show a man in fear.
"The [closed-circuit television] images show him looking relaxed," said Warwickshire Police Detective Superintendent Ken Lawrence, who lead the investigation into the shooting. “He certainly does not look like a man who feels under any imminent threat of danger… From what we know so far the attackers were clearly focusing on him," he said.
At one point Tobin looks up at the camera as he walks past it and flashes the broad smile that friends say was his trademark even as a child.
Tobin, 35, left Canada in 1999 and joined the Hells Angels’ London chapter where he was a popular member.
Investigation soon focused on the Warwickshire chapter of The Outlaws. As shown in court, the Outlaws decided to kill a Hells Angel that day, any Hells Angel. That explains why the killers drove their car past the two probationary members, who had not yet earned the right to wear the Angels’ death’s head patch, and aimed at Tobin, who had.
Seven members of the Outlaws motorcycle gang were sentenced to life in prison at Birmingham court in November 2008. It was the entire membership of the Outlaw’s Warwickshire chapter. Sean Creighton, 44, of Coventry, pleaded guilty to murder and firearms charges before the trial started. Simon Turner, 41, of Nuneaton, Dane Garside, 42, Dean Taylor, 47, Malcolm Bull, 53, Karl Garside, 45, and Ian Cameron, 46, all of Coventry, were all found guilty by a jury at trial.
Police believe the shooting had its roots in the long-standing feud between the Hells Angels and the Outlaws and was likely approved by the Outlaws senior leadership.