London, England; My happy place, the best place in the world, the place with the coolest pubs and the best fish and chips, the place I have been trying to convince my husband to move to for the past five years, although my attempts have been unsuccessful. I’ll wear him down one day. London is known for a lot of great things; Buckingham Palace, Big Ben (no, not the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback), Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, The Shard, Hyde Park, Wembley Stadium, and so much more. I could go on and on about how amazing London is but that’s not what you guys are here for.
With the good comes the bad and London has had its fair share of that as well. In the 1920s London had Charles “Derby” Sabini, in the 1930s it had Jack “Spot” Comer, in the 1940’s it had Frankie Fraser, and in the 1950s it had what is still considered the most ruthless of them all Ronald & Reginald Kray. While Bonnie & Clyde are my favorite outlaw couple the Kray’s are my favorite outlaw siblings. At some point, you must have heard about the Kray twins, even if they were brought up in a casual conversation. Oh, wait, am I the only person who has casual conversations about gangsters?
You might have seen the movie “Legend” which is based on their lives and criminal history. The movie gave them too much credit in my opinion since they cast Tom Hardy to play both of them. Let’s face it they’re about 2,000 notches below Hardy in the looks department. You might also have heard the popular 2012 Kanye West & Jay-Z song “N****s in Paris” (please note that I do not use that term at all and am using it in quotations and for this article) and the even more popular line “that shit c(k)ray. While some believe the spelling of the word is ‘cray’ and is used simply as a shortened version of the word crazy, others believe it’s spelled ‘kray’ which is a nod to the reckless, and highly unstable twins. The same debate has also gone around about the slang term ‘oh, you c(k)ray c(k)ray?’ I personally believe in the latter when it comes to both. At the end of this article, you can decide for yourself what Kanye & Jay-Z truly meant when they dropped that epic phrase.
Identical twins Ronald “Ronnie” and Reginald “Reggie” Kray were born on October 24, 1933, in Haggerston, East London, England to Charles David Kray and Violet Annie Lee. They had an older brother, Charles James Kray, and an older sister Violet who died in infancy. Ronald was considered the baby of the family since Reginald was born 10 minutes before him. But he was always seen as the more dominant of the two. The twins first attended Wood Close School (now known as William Davis Primary School) in Brick Lane before transferring to Daniel Street School. During the second world war, the Kray family (minus the father) was evacuated to East House in Hadleigh, Suffolk. They lived there for one year with the owners Dr. and Mrs. Styles before moving back to East London.
While living in Hadleigh the brothers attended Bridge Street Boys School. During a 1989 interview while the twins were in Broadmoor Hospital Ronnie told reporters that Hadleigh had been their first time living in the countryside and stated that; What appealed to the twins was the “quietness, the peacefulness of it, the fresh air, nice scenery, nice countryside – different from London. We used to go to a big ‘ill called Constitution Hill and used to go sledging there in the wintertime.” So, would East London have been a safer play if the Kray’s had stayed in Hadleigh? Since they were so happy and peaceful there.
The twins took up amateur boxing after being influenced by their maternal grandfather Jimmy “Cannonball” Lee, who himself was a southpaw boxer. Southpaw’s rule! Southpaws for life! In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a southpaw too. At that time boxing was a popular pastime for working-class boys living in the East End of London. From what I’ve read and heard Reggie and Ronnie were very good boxers and both turned pro at the age of 19. Reggie eventually perfected what is called the “cigarette punch” and was able to break a person’s jaw with a single swing.
When executing a “cigarette punch” the assailant will offer the victim a cigarette (making it seem like a friendly encounter) using the left hand to hold the box once the victim is occupied looking for a lighter in their pockets, lighting the cigarette, or bringing it to their mouth. the assailant hits them with a deadly right hook. In a southpaw’s case, the cigarette box is held in the right hand and a deadly left hook is thrown. The person’s jaw breaks and you’ve proven your point, whatever it may be. I’m still perfecting my left hook but I’m not an aggressive person so nobody has to worry about getting a broken jaw while talking to me. The first time I heard about a “cigarette punch” is when I was researching the Kray twins. Hey, the more you know I guess.
In March of 1952, the Kray twins were called up to do National Service in the British Army. The brothers reported to the depot of the Royal Fusiliers at the Tower of London but attempted to leave a few short minutes later. When the corporal tried to stop them from leaving Ronnie punched him in the jaw, seriously injuring him. The twins walked back to their East End home where they were arrested by the police the next morning and handed over to the army. In September of that same year the twins went AWOL (absent without leave) when a police constable found and tried to arrest them, they jointly assaulted the officer. The twins were sent to the Tower of London, making them some of the last prisoners to be held at the tower jail before being transferred Shepton Mallet military prison in Somerset for a month while waiting for court-martial.
After they were convicted, they were sent to Buffs’ Home Counties Brigade Depot jail in Canterbury, Kent. Once they realized they had been dishonorably discharged the twin’s behavior became worse. Well, what the hell did they was going to happen? They took over the exercise areas outside their one-man cells, threw tantrums, emptied a latrine bucket (pretty sure that’s a poo poo and pee pee bucket) over a sergeant, dumped a canteen full of hot tea on another guard, handcuffed a guard to their prison bars with a pair of stolen cuffs and set their bedding on fire. Damn, Ronnie and Reggie, ya’ll are wild. They were eventually moved to a communal cell which turned out to be a horrible idea because they assaulted a guard and escaped. They were shortly recaptured and transferred to a civilian prison to serve the remainder of their sentences.
Their criminal records and dishonorable discharges from the Royal Fusiliers ended their boxing careers, causing the brothers to turn to crime as a full-time occupation. What they needed to turn to was a cosmetologist so they could get those damn caterpillars on their foreheads waxed. They should be ashamed of themselves walking around with identical unibrows. They purchased the run-down snooker club in Mile End. And as the drinks and good times started flowing so did several protection rackets.
By the end of the 1950s, the twins linked up with Jay Murray in Liverpool where they did odd jobs for him. By odd jobs, I mean hijackings, armed robbery, and arson. These crimes allowed them to pave the way to acquiring more clubs and other properties. In 1960 Ronald Kray was sent to prison for 18 months running a protection racket and other related threats. While his brother was in prison Reginald Kray bought another nightclub, Esmeralda’s Barn, from Peter Rachman, the head of a landlord operation.
Around this time the twins adopted a new normal in which anyone who failed to show due respect would be severely punished. The twins notoriously laundered money through dog and horse tracks as well as through businesses which led to several others being investigated during the mid-1960s. They were assisted by banker, Alan Cooper, in exchange for protection against the Kray’s rival, brothers Eddie and Charlie Richardson who were based in South London.
In the 1960s the Kray’s made a name for themselves in the media as prosperous and charming celebrity nightclub owners who were part of the Swinging London scene. A large part of this was due to their non-criminal activities as popular figures on the celebrity circuit, being photographed on more than one occasion and socializing with lords, MPs, and celebrities, including George Raft, Frank Sinatra, Peter Sellers, Judy Garland, Diana Dors, Shirley Bassey, Liza Minnelli, Cliff Richard, Jayne Mansfield, Danny La Rue, and Barbara Windsor. Ronnie Kray describes how he felt during this time in his autobiography titled ‘My Story’. “They were the best years of our lives. They called them the swinging sixties. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones were rulers of pop music, Carnaby Street ruled the fashion world… and me and my brother ruled London. We were f untouchable…”
In July 1964, The Krays became huge headline news when a tabloid the ‘Sunday Mirror’ insinuated that Ronnie had a sexual relationship with politician Lord Boothby. At this time sexual relations between men were a criminal offense in the United Kingdom. The fact that a law like that was ever in place is absolutely disgusting to me. The twins went on to threaten all journalists involved with the article and Lord Boothby threatened to sue the company. In the wake of all this, the newspaper backed down, sacking its editor, printing an apology, and paying Boothby £40,000 in an out-of-court settlement. Other newspapers were soon unwilling to expose the Krays’ connections and criminal activities.
The police investigated the Kray’s multiple times but never got far because the twin’s reputation for violence made witnesses unwilling to step forward in a court of law. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that their older brother, Charlie, was involved with the Kray’s gang known as the firm but never gained the same fame and recognition as Ronnie and Reginald since he was relatively quiet and remained in the background. However, Charlie was sentenced to 12 years in prison at the age of 70 for smuggling approximately £40 million worth of cocaine.
On March 9, 1966, Ronald Kray shot and killed George Cornell, a member of the Richardson gang, at the Blind Beggar pub in White Chapel. This has been noted as being the first murder committed by either Kray twin. Who knows if that’s true though? The day before the men had been involved in a shootout in front of a nightclub in Catford called Mr. Smith’s. During the shootout, a member of the Richardson gang gunned down Richard Hart, an associate of the Kray’s. The very public shootout would result in the arrest of many Richardson gang members.
However, Geroge Cornell was not present at the shootout and was not taken into custody. The next night after checking up on friends at a local hospital Cornell randomly decided to get a pint at the Blind Beggar pub, which was only a mile down the road from where the Kray’s lived. Ronnie who only grew more unstable and volatile after the murder of his friend was having a drink at another pub in the area when he learned about Cornell’s whereabouts.
He went to the Blind Beggar accompanied by his driver John “Scotch Jack” Dickson and associate Ian Barrie. Has anyone else noticed that gangster names are so ridiculous? I’ll be watching a documentary and it will be like Joe “The Toe” Moretti and Mac “The Hack” Benson got into a fistfight. But Ben “The Hen” broke it up. I don’t know, I just find the names hysterical. Some sources claim that Ronnie killed Cornell because he referred to him as a “fat poof” (a derogatory term for gay men) during a confrontation between the rival gangs on Christmas day 1965. Do you guys really have to fight on Christmas? Give it a rest for a happy holiday! Richardson gang member Frankie Fraser was tried for the murder of Richard Hart but was acquitted of all charges. Richardson gang member Ray “the Belgian” Cullinane testified that he saw Cornell kicking Hart not shoot him and witnesses were not willing to co-operate with the police in the murder case due to intimidation. Duh, that’s usually how it works when it comes to these kinds of cases.
On December 12, 1966, the Krays help Frank “the Mad Axeman” also dubbed “Britain’s most violent convict” Mitchell escape from Dartmoor Prison. Ronnie had befriended Mitchell when they were both serving time at Wandsworth Prison. Mitchell felt that his sentence needed to be reviewed by authorities and they of course disagreed. So, as a favor to him, Ronnie and Reggie helped break him out believing that he could get high attention in the media (and he did) which would force authorities to act. Once out of Dartmoor the twins held Mitchell at a friend’s flat (condo/apartment) in Barking Road, East Ham.
Mitchell wrote a letter to several national newspapers defending his plea to be set a release date from prison. The papers printed the letter but Home Secretary Roy Jenkins would not review his status until he was back in custody. Although Mitchell was only 6 feet tall, he was a large stocky man who physically dominated most of his friends and enemies. His physical strength and hot temper (brought on by a mental disorder) made him very hard to control. Mitchell was unwilling to give himself up and was not allowed to leave the flat in case he was recognized by authorities or the public. Mitchell felt that he had exchanged one prison cell or another, and got sick of it rather quickly. He quickly became a big problem for the twins.
Frank Mitchell became upset with the twins when both Ronnie and Reggie only visited him at the flat once and would not allow him to visit with his parents even though they lived close by. He soon became so agitated he began making threats towards the Krays. Which as we all know by now is a horrible idea. To placate Mitchell, they brought a woman to the flat: Liza Prescott, a blonde nightclub hostess, who was known by firm member Tommy Cowley. He soon became enamored with the blonde complicating the situation even more. Ronnie and Reggie decided that the only logical solution was to kill Mitchell. On December 24, 1966 (again with the holidays, take a break guys!) he was led into the back of a van by associate Albert Donoghue, thinking he was going to be moved to a safe house in the countryside where he would meet up with Ronald Kray.
Spoiler alert, he wasn’t going to a safe house. When Mitchell realized that Liza was not being taken to the safe house with him he became argumentative. Donoghue convinced Mitchell that it would be safer for her to follow later on. Waiting in the van were several men armed with revolvers. On the van was started and in motion the men opened fire, killing Frank Mitchell, who was 37 years old.
Albert Donoghue believed about 12 shots were fired before Mitchell finally passed away. Frank Mitchell’s body was never found. Freddie Foreman, one of the men inside the van, later revealed that Mitchell’s body was bound with chicken wire, weighed down, and dumped in the English Channel. Reginald Kray would later tell people that springing Frank Mitchell out of jail was one of the biggest mistakes he ever made. The twins were eventually acquitted of the murder.
The Krays continued to hide most of their criminal activity behind their celebrity status and seemingly legitimate businesses. In October 1967, just 4 months after his wife, Frances, committed suicide, Reggie Kray was allegedly encouraged by his brother to kill Jack “The Hat” McVitie (see again with the funny names).
Jack McVitie was a minor member of the Firm who failed to fulfill a £1,000 contract, to kill their financial advisor, Leslie Payne. £500 was paid to McVitie in advance and the twins were frosted that they lost their money. Instead of sucking it up, going back to the twins, telling them he failed, and returning the money; McVitie decided to turn his back on the gang and keep it for himself.
It is believed that Ronald talked Reginald into committing the murder as a show of loyalty. Kind of like I did my murder now it’s your turn to do yours type of thing. McVitie was lured to a basement flat in Evering Road, Stoke Newington believing he was going to attend a party. Because who doesn’t want to go to a bomb-ass basement party? Once inside Jack McVitie saw Ronald Kray sitting in the chair near the entrance. It was at this moment that Jack realized he had f* up. Ronnie approached him and began firing verbally abusive words at him all while cutting him with a piece of broken glass. According to witnesses, a heated argument began between McVitie and the twins. Well, no shit, bitch you just cut him with glass. As the argument progressed Reggie pulled a gun, pointing it at Jack McVities head. Reggie pulled the trigger twice but the gun failed to fire. The twin’s cousin, Ronnie Hart, grabbed McVitie, holding him in a tight grip. Well isn’t this murder just a damn family affair? Reggie was handed a carving knife. He stabbed McVitie in the face, stomach, and neck. When he stabbed McVitie in the neck he twisted the blade as it punctured him. Reggie stabbed Jack McVitie repeatedly, not even stopping one the man hit the floor dying.
While both twins were unstable it was believed that Ronnie was the more volatile one of the two and Reggie was the more charming, logical one. I guess that was the wrong assumption to make. It was like the very first stab brought out his hidden rage. Reginald Kray had just committed a very public murder (much like his brother had in the past) against a man that many people in the Firm felt didn’t deserve to die for his actions. In an interview in 2000, shortly after Reggie’s death (another spoiler alert both twins are dead), Freddie Foreman revealed that McVitie had a reputation for leaving carnage behind him due to his constant consumption of drugs and alcohol, and his having threatened to harm the twins and their family.
Firm members Tony and Chris Lambrianou and Ronnie Bender helped clear up the evidence of the murder. They were probably too scared to not help, if someone brutally murdered a man right in front of me shit, I’m helping you clean everything. I’m not stupid and neither were these two guys. They also attempted to assist with the disposable of the body. Again, if you crazy mother f need my help with dumping the victim you got it. But they had a problem, McVitie’s body was too big to fit in the trunk of their car. So, they wrapped the body in an eiderdown blanket and shoved it in the backseat of the car. Tony Lambrianou drove the car with the body while Chris Lambrianou and Ronnie Bender followed behind. Why are so many of these people named Ronnie? Ok, I’m being dramatic, only 3 of them are named Ronnie. As they passed through the Blackwall tunnel Chris lost track of his brother’s car and spent up to 15 minutes driving around the Rotherhithe area looking for him. The two men finally ran into Tony outside of St. Mary’s church where he ran out of gas with the body still inside the vehicle. With no other choice but to dump the corpse in the churchyard, and attempt to frame a gang south of the River Thames, the body was left in the car and the three gangsters returned home. Did I say the guys weren’t stupid? Because they were most definitely stupid.
Once back home Ronnie Bender called Charlie Kray, the twins older brother telling him that the situation had been handle. Um, no the f*** it didn’t! However, once the Krays found out where the body truly was, they were livid. They desperately phoned Freddie Foreman, who was then running a pub in Southwark, to see if he could dispose of the body. As dawn was breaking, Foreman found the car, broke into it, and drove the body to Newhaven where, with the help of a trawlerman, the body was bound with chicken wire and dumped in the English Channel. They sure do like doing that to dead people. This ordeal started turning many people against the Krays, and some were prepared to testify to Scotland Yard about the murder, fearing that what happened to McVitie could easily happen to them.
Detective Chief Superintendent Leonard “Nipper” Read of Scotland Yard had recently been promoted to the Murder Squad and his first assignment was to bring down the Kray twins. Do you think they ever called him Nips or Nipples instead of Nipper? Because I sure would’ve. Although watching around saying “Good morning, Superintendent Nipples” would probably have gotten me fired. Read was already familiar with the brothers since he began following their activities and collecting evidence against them in 1964. but publicity and official denials of Ron’s relationship with Boothby his mission ended up being futile.
Read started going after the twins again in 1967 filled with new confidence even though he was often met with the East End “wall of silence”. People were not willing to talk to him in any way, shape, or form. Nevertheless, by the end of 1967, Leonard Read had collected enough evidence against the Krays to take them into custody. After much persistence and determination Read found witnesses who were willing to talk and it was their statements that incriminated Ronald & Reginald Kray, as did other evidence, but none made a convincing case on any one charge.
In early 1968, the Krays teamed up with Alan Bruce Cooper who sent Paul Elvey to Glasgow to buy explosives for a car bomb. Elvey was the radio engineer who put Radio Sutch on the air in 1964, later renamed Radio City. After police detained Elvey in Scotland, he confessed to being involved in three murder attempts. Oh, you little snitch! The confession was weakened by Alan Cooper, who claimed that he was an agent for the US Treasury Department investigating links between the American Mafia and the Kray gang and the botched murders were his attempt at blaming the Krays. Now, my buddy Cooper here was being pretty truthful. Cooper was employed as a source by one of Read’s superior officers, and Read tried using him as a trap for the Krays.
Scotland Yard eventually decided to say f*** it arrested the Krays based on the evidence already collected, in the hope that other witnesses would be forthcoming once the Krays were in custody. On May 8, 1968, the Krays and 15 other members of the Firm were arrested. Severe measures were put in place to stop any possible cooperation between any of the accused. Superintendent Read then secretly interviewed each of the arrested, offering each member of the Firm a deal if they testified against the others. While sitting in prison, the Krays came up with a plan, which included having John Dickson confess to the murder of George Cornell, Ronnie Hart to take the Jack McVitie murder, and Albert Donoghue to stand for Frank Mitchell. Donoghue straight told the twins that he was not prepared to be talked into pleading guilty, much to the anger of the Krays. Donoghue then got a hold of Read and told him that he was ready to cooperate. Reed set up a secret interview and Albert Donoghue spilled his guts. He told Read anything and everything he wanted to know.
Ronnie Hart had initially not been arrested and was not wanted by the police. When Donoghue started to talk, Hart was hunted down, found, and arrested. Reed offered the same terms as the others arrested and Hart too began spilling his guts. He told Read everything that had happened during McVitie’s murder, although he did not know anything about what happened to the body. That was the first time police knew who was directly involved in the murder and it gave them a solid case to prosecute the Kray twins. Although Read knew for a fact that Ronald Kray murdered George Cornell at the Blind Beggar no witnesses were willing to testify against the twins.
Once John Dickson found out that the twins were going to try and talk him into confessing to George Cornell’s murder, he turned on the Krays as well. He told Read everything he knew about the murder. Although Dickson wasn’t a witness to the actual murder, he was an accessory, having driven Ronnie Kray and Ian Barrie to the pub. The police still needed a witness to the actual murder so they decided to try and track down the barmaid that was working that nice. They ended up finding her. Authorities gave her a secret identity (much like going into the witness protection program) and she testified to seeing Ronald Kray kill George Cornell.
Frank Mitchell’s escape and disappearance were much harder to obtain evidence for since the majority of those arrested were not involved. Read decided to have a separate trial for Mitchell’s murder once the twins had been convicted for Cornell’s and McVitie’s. In March 1969 Ronald and Reginald Kray were sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 30 years for the murders of George Cornell and Jack McVitie. Their brother, Charlie Kray, was sentenced to 10 years for his part in the murders. Ronnie and Reggie Kray were allowed, under heavy police guard, to attend the funeral service of their mother Violet on August 11, 1982, following her death from cancer a week earlier. Is this normal protocol? I feel like this is some kind of special treatment for the double R&R twins. However, they were not allowed to attend her in the burial Kray family plot at Chingford Mount Cemetery. To avoid the publicity that had taken over their mother’s funeral. When their father passed away in March 1983 neither brother asked for permission to attend his funeral.
Ronald Kray was considered a category A prisoner. He was denied almost all liberties and not allowed to mix with other prisoners. He was eventually certified insane, his paranoid schizophrenia being tempered with constant medication and in 1979 he was committed at Broadmoor Hospital in Crowthorne, Berkshire, where he would live out the remainder of his life. Reginald Kray was locked up in Maidstone Prison for 8 years. There he was considered a category B prisoner. He was denied parole time and time again. In 1997, he was transferred to Category C Wayland Prison in Norfolk. The was the first time since Ronnie served his first stint in jail that the two brother had been separated. Ronnie once said that being separated from Reggie was the worst punishment he had ever received.
In 1985, staff at Broadmoor Hospital discovered a business card of Ronnie’s that proved that the twins, from separate institutions, were operating Krayleigh Enterprise. You guys just don’t know when to quit. Do you? Also, you had f business cards made? Krayleigh (not gonna lie, I’m kind of feeling that name) was a lucrative bodyguard and protection business for Hollywood celebrities. Their older brother Charlie was a part of the business as well as an accomplice of the Krays. One of their most famous clients was Frank Sinatra, who hired 18 bodyguards from Krayleigh Enterprises while attending the 1985 Wimbledon Championships. Although officials were concerned about the business they found no legal reason to shut it down. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL SHIT? I bet you they were getting paid a cut of the profits.
Let’s quickly dive into each of the twin’s personal lives for a moment. Now that we wrapped up all that is known of their criminal activity. I bet you they killed many more people than the ones the police knew about. Why else would be so feared in East London? Well, they did regularly beat the shit out of people so that could be why. I want nothing to do with a man that could break my jaw with one punch. I want nothing to do with a man who could break my jaw period. Although, I would probably just egg them on because I have a smart-ass mouth that doesn’t know when to stop running, and I’m kray kray for real. See what I did there? Just ask my mom about the smart-mouth thing, she has been victim to it many times over as well as my hard-headed attitude and mood swings. I mean what? I was a model child that was always on my best behavior. Yeah, best behavior, that’s it.
Ronald Kray’s sexuality had been highly debated over the years and in his book ‘My Story’ and comment to writer Robin McGibbon on ‘The Kray Tapes’, he cleared everything up. He stated: “I’m bisexual, not homosexual. Bisexual.” In the 1960s he made plans to marry a woman simply known as Monica whom he had been dating for approximately 3 years. Ronnie called her “the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.” A claim that Reggie backed up in one of his own books. Ronnie was arrested before the two of them had the chance to marry and although she went on to marry his ex-boyfriend (oh, this is some juicy stuff) Ronnie wrote 59 letters sent to her between May and December 1968 when he was imprisoned, detailing that he still had feelings for her, he made his love for her very clear. The letters were auctioned off in 2010. A letter Ronnie sent to his mother from prison in 1968 also refers to Monica, stating: “if they let me see Monica and put me with Reg, I could not ask for more.” In the same letter, he also stated: “Monica is the only girl I have liked in my life. She is a luvely [lovely] little person as you know. When you see her, tell her I am in luve [love] with her more than ever.”
Ronnie did go on to marry twice, marrying Elaine Mildener in 1985 at Broadmoor chapel before the couple divorced in 1989 and Kate Howard, whom he divorced in 1994. So about 5 years is a solid time frame for a married to Ronnie. In an interview with author John Pearson, Ronnie stated that he identified with the 19th-century soldier Charles George Gordon: “Gordon was like me, homosexual, and he met his death like a man. When it’s time for me to go, I hope I do the same.” Wait, didn’t Ronnie say he was bisexual and not homosexual? Eh, whatever, not a big deal either way. Ronald Kray died on March 17, 1995 at the age of 61 at Wexham Park Hospital in Slough, Berkshire. After suffering a heart attack at Broadmoor Hospital two days earlier. I’m not trying to say karma, but karma. Reggie was allowed out of prison in handcuffs to attend his brother’s funeral. Again, is this normal prison protocol? I seriously don’t know.
Reginald Kray isn’t nearly as exciting as his twin Or I just couldn’t find as much information on his personal life. Who knows? Reggie married Frances Shea in 1965; she died by suicide two years later. Reggie married Roberta Jones, whom he met while still in prison. She was helping to publicize a film she was making about Ronnie, who had died two years earlier. During his incarceration, Reggie Kray became a born-again Christian. He was released from Wayland on August 26, 2000, on compassionate grounds, ordered by Home Secretary, Jack Straw, following a terminal bladder cancer diagnosis. Again, I’m not trying to say karma, but karma. The last weeks of his life were spent with his wife Roberta in a suite at the Townhouse Hotel in Norwich. Reginald Kray passed away in his sleep on October 1, 2000. If you ask me passing away in his sleep was too good for him. 10 days after his death he was buried beside Ronnie in Chingford Mount Cemetery. There has been much speculation that Reggie too was a schizophrenic and bisexual, but neither claims have been confirmed.
There we have the Kray twins, some of the best to ever do it. They are wildly popular today. Being referenced in movies, T.V shows, songs, and books. Countless documentaries have also been made about the two. I watched a pretty good one the other day on the docuseries ‘Natural Born Outlaws’. Check it out if you get the chance. Love them or hate them they have solidified their spot as legends in the London East End underworld. I don’t think their names will be forgotten any time soon or most likely ever.
‘Kray Twins’ -Wikipedia
‘Secrets of The Krays’ – Buzzfeed
‘Natural Born Outlaws’ – Discovery
‘The Kray Twins’ – YouTube
Awesome article. I had no idea these guys ruled east London in the 60s. Bad bad boys.
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