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Michael Groce

Michael Groce is a poet, community worker and former criminal. His mother, Cherry Groce, was shot by police during a dawn raid on her home, starting the Brixton riots of 1985, in LondonEngland.


He is now a published poet, having won the Cheltenham Poetry Prize, and actively engages with young people to inform them of his own experiences.

Michael Groce was brought up in Brixton Railton Road (Frontline)  as a young boy, his month then moved to the notorious Tinworth House, on a rough housing estate in Vauxhall, London. Much of his life from age six was spent in residential care.

Once he left the children home in Sussex, after a torrid experience he still doesn't talk about, returning to London, he was involved with street gangs, and had been exposed to guns during his childhood.


He spent time in and out of prison; throughout his life, he accrued 50 convictions and 15 different spells in prison

Early biography

Role in the riots

A few days before the riots, Michael Groce was involved in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend during which he fired a gun. Shortly afterwards, he heard a knocking on the door, and went down to answer it, believing it to be a neighbour complaining about the gunshot. Instead, he found a police officer, enquiring if he was Michael Groce. Groce attempted to close the door, but the police officer would not let him, and only left after Groce put the gun into the officer's mouth.

Following this incident, Groce fled his mother's house, and took up residence with his sister. After three days of hiding, when he turned on the television, he was presented with a picture of his mother accompanying a news story about her shooting and subsequent paralysis from the waist down. She had been shot in a police raid in search of him.

Her shooting triggered the riots. Groce handed himself in to the police shortly afterwards.

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