‘Bad LSD trip turned me into a preacher’

Dave Clarke
Dave Clarke

AS a drug-fuelled criminal in the swinging 60s, David Clarke thought he was living life to the full.

Well known to the police, he and his brother Michael were notorious in Aylesbury, stealing cars and burgling homes around the Vale.

How Mr Clarke's crimes were reported in the Bucks Herald in 1971

How Mr Clarke's crimes were reported in the Bucks Herald in 1971

But David saw the error of his ways and converted to Christianity after a terrifying acid trip.

His unlikely tale is told in Converted on LSD Trip, a new book which takes its name from a 1971 Bucks Herald article about his turnaround.

“I know the aimlessness of people who get involved with criminality these days, like those in the London riots,” said David.

“My objective is to help the people who can be helped. I have been there and bought the T-shirt and want to help people out.”

The brothers’ life of crime started in 1963 when his family moved into a new house in Bedgrove.

Some boys took David’s moped so he told Michael, who attacked one of the boys with a knuckle duster he made at school and was sent to borstal.

Michael spent the rest of his teenage years in and out of borstal.

David began stealing bikes with a friend and was eventually given probation for stealing a motorbike.

“I started to mix with the wrong sort of people. I lived in my brother’s sunlight as he was so notorious around Aylesbury,” said David.

“As a 15-year-old you are only interested in girls, money and music.”

He and Michael continued their criminal endeavours, stealing cars and chloroforming people in Aylesbury’s Grosvenor nightclub.

But the brothers were sent back to jail for malicious wounding after shooting a woman with an air rifle.

“We thought it was a joke, shooting some bird in the arse to make her scream,” said David.

“When I got out of borstal I was determined to live life to the full and while inside I’d learned how to get away with a life of crime.”

For the next three years David went about stealing cars, mechanical equipment and anything else he needed.

But his epiphany came on January 16, 1970, when he had a terrifying LSD trip and thought he was going crazy.

As he sat petrified in a shed he heard Jesus speak to him.

“He told me that what I was going through was nothing compared to hell,” said David.

From that night on he lived as a Christian and even returned some of the items he had stolen, including a trolley he had taken from a garage near the Broad Leys pub.

David’s previous crimes caught up with him though when police arrested him after recovering a TV he had stolen from a house in Winslow.

He confessed to 24 crimes but was given a conditional discharge.

David went on to live a religious life, becoming a preacher in Bierton and teaching engineering at Luton Higher College.

However Michael continued his life of crime and in 1996 was sentenced to 16 years in jail in the Philippines for promoting child prostitution.

He found God in 1999 and the brothers then turned their focus to helping other criminals go straight by teaching them about Christianity.

Michael died of tuberculosis in jail in 2005 and David is still fighting to clear his name.

To buy Converted on LSD Trip for £12.89 or for more information on David’s mission, go to convertedonLSDtrip.com