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Summary

At 8.00 a.m. on Monday 18th June 2001, Danielle Jones left home dressed in her schoolgirl uniform - and promptly vanished.

The 15-year old’s body was never recovered, but Danielle’s parents soon learned that her ‘Uncle Stuart’, a close family friend, had concealed a decades-long history of sexual violence against teenage girls. Despite the absence of a body, Stuart Campbell was sentenced to life in prison for Danielle’s abduction and murder. But what set him on his path as a violent sexual predator? And how do you come to terms with his actions if he’s your own flesh and blood?

In My Brother the Killer, Stuart’s older brother, Alix Sharkey, chronicles the violent childhood and troubled teens that helped shape a bright and handsome little boy into one of Britain’s most notorious killers and led to one of the UK’s most unusual murder trials. Sharkey also poses several terrifying questions: what happens when you discover a deadly sexual predator in your family? Is it possible to trace the root of his heinous crimes? And with the clock ticking towards his possible parole, can Stuart Campbell be convinced to reveal the location of Danielle’s remains?

A devastating hybrid of true crime and family memoir, My Brother the Killer examines the true cost of keeping dark family secrets.

©2021 Alix Sharkey (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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True Crime with Real Feeling

If you’ve been aware of U.K. news during the last twenty years, you’ll likely know how this book ends, even before you pick it up. But I urge you to listen to the author, Alix Sharkey, narrating the horrific story of how his brother, Stuart Campbell, abducted and murdered his niece, Danielle Jones, on her way to her Essex school in 2001.

The book was written as an analysis of how two Tilbury brothers, growing up in a violent home, became so very different : Alix becoming one of the world’s coolest international journalists, and Stuart becoming a serial sex predator, his victims being invariably little girls whom he dressed and photographed as he posed as a fashion photographer.

But the book has a second aim - it is a love letter to Stuart, though Sharkey would not see it that way. It speaks with ultimate tenderness of this beautiful little boy who fought against his father - and the world - to protect his family. The love letter however becomes a plea to Stuart finally to admit the murder of which he was convicted and tell her family where Danielle’s body can be found.

Only someone who has loved so deeply as Sharkey could be so ultimately shocked and horrified at Campbell’s continued silence and refusal to grant Danielle’s grieving parents this release.

The story unfolds through the sixties and seventies in the docklands town of Tilbury, Essex, where you can be beaten up for nudging an elbow in a pub or for having hooded eyes. Alix Sharkey, seemingly destined to go the way of his friends, escapes the town partly because he is spurred into another world by teacher Pete and his journalist wife, Viv, who appreciate his enormous wit and intellect and spot his potential as an artist and writer. Alix is, and always was, special to them.

So while Alix goes off to the drug fuelled world of art college, and from there moves into fashion and music journalism, Stuart mines the darkness of pornography and crime, the two only meeting through Visiting Orders and swift exits to avoid the clutches of the Law.

The book is a great read, and a fabulous listen. Sharkey creates this underworld vividly and expressively, tracking through the decades and leading to this moment, when Campbell must face the ultimate Either/Or decision, to reveal or not to reveal where Danielle’s remains are hidden, before he is finally released on parole.

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Painful, honest and raw journey...

Answers are not always simple and understanding often multi-layered...hard. The story of how people are raised in the same home but take such opposite paths is a subject researched by many but Alix lived and lives it and shares his own mixed feelings while sharing the family journey. It is a brave, personal story that, in many ways, won't have a real ending but a story with so many lessons on how children absorb and reflect dysfunction they grow up within.....thanks for sharing and i hope he gives up the location....