An Evening with Pinchbeck and Baker
Simon Pinchbeck was a 'copper', who had a career change & became a criminal, then had a life change, & became a Christian. After 23 yrs in the Metropolitan Police, Simon left after receiving a 'not guilty' verdict on an assault charge. He then became obsessed with money and material things, so entered into a life of crime, but after being 'ripped off' for a large amount of money by his new found colleagues, he was left the lowest he had been in his life, facing prison, or even death. That was when God threw him a lifeline in the shape of fellow Tough Talk member Bryn Robertson. Seeing the change that faith had brought to Bryn, Simon made the choice to invite Jesus into his life, and embark on a personal relationship with him made real through the Christian Course of Alpha.
Simon is also available for talks with his good friend Renton Baker. The pair first know each other in the 1980's when Simon was a policeman at Arsenal, (and was nicknamed "The Walrus"), and Renton was an Arsenal football hooligan, with both of them clashing violently on the terraces at Highbury. They met up again 6 years ago, this time both as Christians, and they deliver a powerful message of how God's love can break down any barriers.
Renton Baker led a double life. At home he was a loving father and husband, but outside he was a violent aggressive hooligan. That was until at a funeral he realised that unless he changed his attitudes and views he was on a collision course with Hell.
“I learnt that my acts of violence were cowardly and love was the way forward – and the real tough guys were those who stood up for their belief and love for Jesus Christ” says Renton.
Renton’s life initially spiralled out of control when his father, an ex-boxer and soldier, died when Renton was just 14 years old which made him bitter and angry. He married at 20, and within four years he was the father of three sons.
Despite this, his violence outside the home escalated, causing mental and physical harm to many of his victims using such weapons as baseball bats, knuckle-dusters and ammonia to temporary blind his victims.
It all reached crisis point when he planned to kill a man for landing his son in hospital, with the intention of ambushing the man, with the help of a friend of his. However Renton was saved from murdering his intended victim, as his friend let the victim to a way of escape. This made Renton think, and for the first time something inside him was telling him that he did not want to be angry any more.
The turning point for Renton was at the funeral of his wife’s grandfather, a former Church minister. Renton’s wife Wendy, had turned back to God six months earlier, and was praying for Renton’s change of heart. Renton says “I walked into the church feeling naked and exposed as everyone knew about the things I had done”. Listening to the minister who said “If you cannot be affected by this man’s life (Wendy’s grandfather) you must be so cold and hard-hearted that you might as well walk into hell now”
Renton began a life changing path, but a year later his youngest son asked him for help to retrieve £2,000 inheritance money that he had lent to a cocaine addict. The police were already at the scene when Renton, armed with a knife to fight for his sons rights, was arrested and charged with attempted murder of both a policeman and his intended victim.
Renton recalls - “The charged were built up on some very dangerous and false statements and they were eventually dropped to lesser charges at the beginning of my crown court trial”.
Renton was so disappointed with himself for his failure in his faith, that sitting in a prison cell after his arrest, he promised God he would never do anything like this again. During the trial, the judge ordered a two year suspended prison sentence, rather than sending Renton to jail.
Today Renton is a man with a huge heart for God. He travels to prisons, schools and meeting across the UK and all over the world sharing his story.