Prayer Before Dawn author is back in jail in the UK

Billy Moore from Walton is a former drug addict who spent time in the famous Bangkok Prison, wrote a book about his experiences which is now being made into a film

Man whose book about life in Thai jail is now a film to miss premiere – because he is back in prison

A Prayer Before Dawn author Billy Moore jailed after burgling neighbour’s home

A Liverpool boxer, whose autobiographical novel about his time in Thai prisons has been made into a major film, is to miss its premiere – because he was jailed again today.

Billy Moore wrote “A Prayer Before Dawn” which has been transferred to the screen by Hurricane Films and played at the prestigious Cannes Festival.

It tells how while in prison in Thailand he was allowed to take part in the Muay Thai boxing tournaments into which “he throws himself to preserve his life and regain his freedom.”

But 45-year-old Moore, who has battled addiction demons for years, is now back behind bars after admitting burgling a neighbour’s home – three times on the same day – and stealing items including jewellery.

As a “third strike” burglar a judge told Moore that the law meant that he faced a minimum term and sentenced him to two years, five months.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that on September 3 last year he broke into a shed of a neighbour’s home in Woolhope Road, Walton while the female occupant was away on holiday and stole flipflops and spirits.

Christopher Hopkins, prosecuting, said he then broke into the rear of the house via a window which set off the burglar alarm.

He left but a neighbour, alerted by the alarm, suggested they should investigate and they went in through the front of the premises and Moore then went upstairs and stole jewellery.

The court heard that his previous convictions include burglary and drugs offences and spending time in Thai jails.

Moore, now of Dyson Street, Walton, pleaded guilty to three burglaries.

His lawyer, Rachel Oakdene, urged the judge to suspend the inevitable prison sentence but Judge Jonathan Foster, QC, told the defendant, “I can see no reason why it should be suspended.”

A Prayer Before Dawn - Billy Moore turns book about his time in Bangkok prison into film
A Prayer Before Dawn – Billy Moore turns book about his time in Bangkok prison into film

He said, “Drug use leads to crime and that is what happened with this burglary. These were your next door neighbours for three years and you must have known they had gone away and you took advantage of that taking items of some value.”

Miss Oakdene described Moore as being in a “Jekyll and Hyde situation” and described it as “an unusual case” and urged the judge to take “an unusual course.”

She said that when he last appeared in February and admitted his guilt he actually brought a box along containing the stolen jewellery, although the court heard that the victim says that it was not all the stolen items.

She added: “He has struggled with addictions for many years and if not back on drugs these offences would not have happened.”

Miss Oakdene explained that Moore had reverted to drug abuse after being diagnosed with cancer which led to “an intense episode of drug misuse.”

A Prayer Before Dawn - Billy Moore turns book about his time in Bangkok prison into film Billy Moore thai boxing
A Prayer Before Dawn – Billy Moore turns book about his time in Bangkok prison into film Billy Moore thai boxing

She added: “He has a wretched background and relapsed after being told he had cancer. He is now in remission and off drugs and attending Narcotics Anonymous.

“He worked for Mersey Care as drug and alcohol advisor using his experience to try and assist others but has been suspended since his last conviction for possessing a bladed article.

“He has been doing voluntary work including boxing activities in the community.

“He describes himself as, in his early 30s, a drain on society but now at 45 he is a very different person.”

She told the court that the Irish premiere of the film, “A Prayer Before Dawn” which stars Joe Cole and briefly features Moore as his own father, is on March 3 and will be released in mainland cinemas later this summer. The film is to be released in the USA in April.

Miss Oakdene told the court that the film producer had taken time to write a letter on Moore’s behalf as had his “broken-hearted” mum.

She added: “His case is a tragic example of the damage and difficulties that can be caused by the use of Class A drugs. He now lives in supported accommodation and has a partner.”

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