Tom’s Beatles pictures go for a song at drug auction

Tom Murrey with  his book of the Beatles pictures the drug dealer invested in.
Picture Mark Westley
Tom Murrey with his book of the Beatles pictures the drug dealer invested in. Picture Mark Westley
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Tom Murray is not surprised to see his photographs turning up on the internet but they are not usually connected with major drugs dealers.

Bury St Edmunds town councillor Tom was a photographer with the Sunday Times Magazine in the 1960s, photographing many stars and top people, including The Beatles.

It seems a collectors set of his 1968 Mad Day Out colour prints of the fab four had appealed to an Irish drug dealer, who had been arrested with 60kg of cocaine so the pictures were auctioned last week in Belfast with other illgotten gains including luxury cars, Rolex watches, horses and Gucci shoes.

Tom said: “I don’t know whether to be flattered or what! He obviously had good taste. He had a complete artist’s proof set, number 11 of 19.”

Tom says individual prints like this have gone for £3,000 to £8,000 but the auction raised about £10,000 for the set of 23.

“If someone was clever they should have bought the whole set – you’d never get a set for that now.”

What makes the prints unusual is that they were in colour. Tom recalls that The Beatles had asked for top war photographer Don McCullin to photograph them for the Sunday Times and he asked 25-year-old Tom to drive him.

“As we left he said ‘grab your camera, you might get some snaps’ and for some reason I picked up colour film. Don’s pictures were black and white.”

Tom has sold some prints of the pictures for charity, raising millions of pounds with them, and published a complete set as a limited edition book for $100.