Kray twins

British criminal duo during 1950s and 1960s

Ronald "Ronnie" Kray (24 October 1933 – 17 March 1995) and Reginald "Reggie" Kray (24 October 1933 – 1 October 2000), were identical twin brothers, gangsters and convicted criminals from Haggerston. They led organised crime from Bethnal Green in the East End of London, from the late 1950s to 1967.

Ronnie and Reggie Kray
Reggie Kray, second left
Born(1933-10-24)24 October 1933
Haggerston, London, England
OccupationGangsters, nightclub owners
OrganizationThe Firm
  • Reggie:
    Frances Shea
    (m. 1965; died 1967)

    Roberta Jones (m. 1997)
  • Ronnie:
    Elaine Mildener
    (m. 1985; div. 1989)
    Kate Howard
    (m. 1989; div. 1994)
RelativesCharlie Kray (brother)

Their gang, "the Firm", committed murder, armed robbery, arson, protection rackets and assaults.

The Krays, who were homosexual, were protected by two leading homosexuals in Parliament: Robert Boothby (later Lord Boothby), a leading Conservative member, and Tom Driberg, a leading Labour Party member.[4] This was at a time when sex between men was still a criminal offence in the UK. The facts were printed in the Sunday Mirror.[5]

Although no names were printed, the twins threatened investigating journalists. Boothby threatened to sue the newspaper with the help of Labour Party leader Harold Wilson's solicitor, Arnold Goodman. In the face of this, the Sunday Mirror backed down, sacking its editor, printing an apology and paying Boothby £40,000 in an out-of-court settlement.[6]

Because of this, other newspapers were unwilling to expose the Krays' connections and criminal activities. Decades later, Channel 4 established the truth of the allegations and released a documentary on the subject called The Gangster and the Pervert Peer (2009).[7]

Eventually, Scotland Yard decided to arrest the Krays, hoping other witnesses would speak once the Krays were in custody. On 8 May 1968, the Krays and 15 other members of the Firm were arrested.[8]

It was the longest murder hearing in the history of British criminal justice. Justice Melford Stevenson said of the sentences "I recommend [they] should not be less than thirty years".[9][10] In March 1969, both were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 30 years for the murders.

References change

  1. Watson-Smyth, Kate (15 July 1997). "Flowers, but no champagne at Reggie Kray's wedding". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 1 July 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  2. Clydesdale, Lindsay (13 October 2009). "Roberta Kray on her life as a gangster's widow". Daily Record. Scotland. Archived from the original on 17 February 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2011.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hobbs, Dick (18 March 1995). "OBITUARY: Ron Kray". The Independent. London. Retrieved 6 December 2011.[dead link]
  4. Barrett, David (26 July 2009). "Letters shed new light on Kray twins scandal". Sunday Telegraph. Archived from the original on 29 July 2009.
  5. Barrett, David (26 July 2009). "Letters shed new light on Kray twins scandal". The Sunday Telegraph. Archived from the original on 29 July 2009.
  6. "Obituary of Reggie Kray". BBC News. 1 October 2000. Archived from the original on 17 January 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  7. "The Gangster and the Pervert Peer (Episode Guide)". Channel 4. 2009. Archived from the original on 28 October 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  8. "1968: Krays held on suspicion of murder". BBC News. 8 May 1968. Archived from the original on 3 March 2008. Retrieved 4 April 2010.
  9. "Krays will be sentenced for murder today". The Guardian. 5 March 1969. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  10. Jenks, Chris; Lorentzen, Justin J. (August 1997). "The Kray Fascination". Theory, Culture & Society. 14 (3): 87–107. doi:10.1177/026327697014003004. ISSN 0263-2764. S2CID 144735791.