MONEY, murder and violence was all part of the lifestyle chosen by a stock market millionaire turned drug dealer when he moved to Arizona.
But now 50-year-old Shaun Attwood is using his experience in the last 30 years to teach youngsters the dangers of becoming involved with drugs.
He said ‘I abandoned my slow and steady progress in the stock market and greed took over and because of that decision, I lost absolutely everything.’
‘Drugs were telling me I was Mr Cool Guy but when I look back from a sober perspective I’m thinking I’m lucky to be alive.’
Students at Hayling College were treated to an eye-opening and extremely honest presentation by Shaun, who talked about his double life as an Ecstasy distributor smuggling $4m worth of drugs and how it all came crashing down when a SWAT team knocked on his door in 2002 and he was arrested.
He explained: ‘In prison I had to get used to the sounds of heads getting bashed against toilets, bodies being thrown around, prisoners shooting up heroin, guards smuggling drugs in and having prisoners fight each other and bet on who was going to win.
‘It was complete netherworld of intravenous drug use, gang mayhem and violence.’
Shaun was originally given a 200-year sentence for his crimes but after a legal battle served six of the nine-and-a-half years prison sentence he was given.
The former Liverpool University graduate added: ‘I had a perfectly normal loving upbringing.
‘It was really heartbreaking what I put them through’
When in prison Shaun wrote Jon’s Jail Journey featuring his own experience and the stories of other prisoners.
He said: ‘I started to write about the conditions and I started to write about the prisoners’ stories and I put those online and the prisoners started to get pen pals and books were sent to them and it became like a lifeline to the outside world for me and them.
‘These kind people were filling the library up with books like a real Shawshank Redemeption.’
Since he has published ten books, all aiming to teach people about his life, the mistakes he made and how he is turning his life around.
Shaun added: ‘As a young person you might feel invincible but coming here today I can see the looks in these kids’ eyes that my story made them think what could possibly happen down that road.’
Chloe Tame was one of the Year 10 pupils invited to listen to Shaun’s story and ask questions.
The 14-year-old said: ‘It made us realise what is really like and that is not the glitz and glam lifestyle everyone thinks it will be.
‘I think it will help a lot of people.’
Jim Wells is an ex police officer and head of welfare at the college.
He added: ‘All the kids will gain an insight into that world and see it is alright to talk about drugs but not to take them and I think the honesty of Shaun has helped to reinforce that message.’