Ex-Hells Angel feels little remorse after 46 violent years

First aired on The Current (08/05/13)

After Lorne Campbell and his wife broke up, he burnt down the house she shared with their eight-year-old daughter. When a man refused to get him a drink at a party, Campbell and his buddies hung him for several minutes, letting him down before he could die. When another man refused to pony up his drug debts, Campbell broke the man's fingers on one hand with a hammer.

Those are just some of the violent incidents Toronto Star crime and justice reporter Peter Edwards covers in his new book Unrepentent, which tells the life story of former Hells Angel biker Campbell.

Campbell spent 46 years total as a biker first with Satan's Choice -- he was their youngest member, only 16-years-old when the group formed -- and then the Angels.

"I live a different life now. I refuse to look in the rearview mirror ... I refuse to look at it with a bad thought," Campbell told CBC's Anna Maria Tremonti in a recent interview on The Current.

Though, he admitted he regrets taking a lighter to the drapes in his ex-wife's house and a few things about his relationship with his daughter.

Campbell asked Edwards to write the book, which he says is an honest depiction of how he became a part of that lifestyle.

The 64-year-old grandfather said his rough childhood forced him to seek the familial bonds of a motorcycle club. His father physically abused him and his mother, he said. At the age of five, his father also enrolled him in a boxing club, frequently placing him in the ring against opponents four or five years his senior.

unrepentent-125.jpgThere were two things his father taught him: loyalty and to confront problems right away. Campbell said both of these things made him a great motorcycle club member.

He said he does not support the idea of innocent bystanders being hurt by inter-club violence, like the time he says he accidentally broke a woman's leg when fighting her husband who had pulled a gun on a club member.

"I just cringe when I hear about drive by shootings or somebody being hurt when they shouldn't have been hurt," he said.

While he may not feel regret for hurting drug debtors, reading his life story did make Campbell emotional.

"I'm not beyond emotion. Couple of things I read now  after it's all over -- put a tear in my eye," he said.

Related links: