Murray Edwards College will host the 2021 Ormiston Families Annual LectureCmglee/Wikimedia Commons

Christopher Walsh Atkins, a BAFTA-nominated documentary film-maker and a former prisoner, will deliver the Ormiston Families annual lecture at Murray Edwards College on the 17th November.

Mr Atkins was jailed in July 2016, for a film tax scam worth £2.2 million. At the time The Guardian reported that Atkins, alongside his accomplice Christina Slater, inflated invoices to capitalise on tax breaks in two independent film projects. The pair falsely claimed to have spent £5.7 million on Starsuckers and Mercedes the Movie, which reportedly allowed investors to claim back £40,000 in tax relief for every £20,000 invested.

Invited by Ormiston Families, a charity dedicated to improving opportunities for children in East England, Mr Atkins will head the charity’s annual lecture in the year when the organisation celebrates 40 years of its existence. 

Atkins detailed his experiences at HMP Wandsworth, where he served the first nine months of a two-and-a-half year term, in his critically-acclaimed memoir A Bit of a Stretch: The Diaries of a Prisoner


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Since his release Atkins has campaigned for prison reform, creating a podcast series featuring interviews with over twenty former inmates, and launching a prison literacy campaign, “Bang Up Books”, in which he persuaded publishers to donate tens of thousands of books to prison libraries.

“I saw firsthand the appalling effect incarceration had on children and families, so I’m delighted to be helping Ormiston Families in their vital work in this area,” he said. 

Allan Myatt, Chief Executive of Ormiston Families, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Chris as our guest for the evening, and to have him host his powerful lecture about time spent in prison, and in campaigning for reform [...] his story is a fascinating one.”