LESSONS to kill were booked at Milton Keynes College by a man convicted of armed robbery and touting illegal weapons.
Ex-con Leon Whittlesea hired rooms at the Bletchley campus for a series of his £350 weekend defence courses to teach people “lethal” moves to slay potential violent attackers.
It was only when the Citizen investigated that the college cancelled, confessing it had been “a little naive” to accept the booking.
But this week Leon insisted his ultimate self defence courses were no cause for alarm.
He said: “I’ve spent a total of seven and a half years in jail so I understand criminals, now I want to give something back to the public.”
Leon’s advertising flyers appeared in gyms and other city venues in the wake of last month’s gangland-style shooting on Fishermead.
They refer people to the website of his company Direct UK Defence, which offers training in“lethal and un-lethal violence”.
Leon had booked the college in advance for one weekend every month starting from July 9.
The final session was due to be held in December.
Leon, aged 39, said: “I chose Milton Keynes because of its high presence of knife and gun crime. The world is getting more dangerous and I want to make it a safer place for all of us.”
Police, who disagree the city is unsafe, are now investigating Leon’s courses to check they are legitimate and legal.
The Direct UK Defence website claims to teach the general public secret tactics used by international and military police, security operatives and government officials.
Leon, who aims to be the UK’s number one self defence trainer, dismisses standard martial arts as a “competition that does not work when dealing with real-life fights”.
He said his courses train people to defend themselves using violence in a situation when it is unavoidable, for example when faced with a knife or a gun.
“The technique focuses on disengaging the brain from the body by attacking the central nervous system. This is done by damaging the spinal reflexes.
“It’s a US Navy Seals method which is currently used by soldiers in Afghanistan.
“I know it sounds controversial but when you look at CCTV of real violence, the ones who fight back are usually the ones who survive. If criminals knew of my methods maybe they would think twice before attacking people.”
Leon himself served five years for armed robbery in the 1990s. Then in 2006 he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison after possessing 11 stun guns and trying to sell them on eBay.
Today he has changed his views on stun guns, which temporarily disable people with an electric shock.
“I wouldn’t advise anyone to have them as they are not good in many situations,” he said.
Superintendent Nikki Ross, commander of Milton Keynes, said: “Although I would advocate people taking steps to raise their awareness in defence measures if it makes them feel more confident, these measures must be focused on defence and not attack.
“I would urge members of the public that the use of anything other than reasonable force in any given situation could result in action being taken against the individual concerned.
“We will investigate to make sure the courses are legitimate and that the content is legal and appropriate”.
Meanwhile Milton Keynes College performed a sudden U-turn on Wednesday morning and announced the courses were cancelled.
Vice principal, Rob Jones, told the Citizen: “We were a little naïve about the way the booking was handled.”
Leon added: “I’m not saying you should use my methods if someone spills a drink on you in a pub. These are tactics to defend yourself in life and death situations when someone has a knife to your throat or a gun to your head.If Milton Keynes College won’t have me then I will find space elsewhere. Milton Keynes needs to know what I have to teach.”
Anyone willing to hire out premises can contact Leon via his website www.directdefence.com