FOR FAKES SAKE !!!!!!! PROSPECTIVE BUYERS , AUCTION HOUSES AND PRIVATE INVESTORS, PLEASE DO BEWARE OF THE SHEER MASS OF FAKE KRAYS AND CHARLES BRONSON MEMORABILIA OUT THERE IN THE MARKET PLACE ….

The Crime Through Time Collection here at Littledean Jail has recently confiscated a mass of astonishingly pathetic so say Kray and Bronson memorabilia as seen here in the gallery below .

Sadly a middle aged gentleman had been duped out of many thousands of hard earned pounds, now known to be one of a great many in a similar situation . 

These were all purchased from and through an alleged former fellow inmate and exceptionally close friend of Reg Kray whilst being his personal golpher in HMP Wayland, .This conman and forger trades under the name “Clive ” …In fact this man has never even met Reg Kray . 

He apparently has personally persuaded several so say reputable auction houses up and down the country to sell a great many of these fake items. Many of these auctions have featured in both local and national press (see HERE ) which has aided him to authenticate these paintings and other memorabilia items . The likes of which he has referred all his buyers and collectors to for reference for at least the last 5 years or so . ….. 

Despite having been informed by reputable collectors and indeed Kray and Bronson family and friends that these items are not genuine and are definitely fake , many auction houses have flagrantly dismissed all advises and proceeded to sell these items which have allegedly  totalled many tens of thousands of pounds over the years .

WE BELIEVE IT IS ONLY RIGHT AND PROPER, THAT ALL THESE  SEEMINGLY UNSCRUPULOUS  AUCTION HOUSES, WHO WE FEEL ARE AS EQUALLY FRAUDULENT AS THIS CONMAN “CLIVE” ….. REIMBURSE ALL DUPED BUYERS OF THIS ABSOLUTELY  WORTHLESS PILE OF CRAP …..

HOPEFULLY THIS SKY NEWS ARTICLE  LINK HERE AND  SOME OF THESE IMAGES BELOW WILL NOW ACT AS A REFERENCE LIBRARY IN PROVIDING SOME EXAMPLES OF THE SHEER SCALE OF FAKE KRAY AND BRONSON MEMORABILIA ITEMS THAT HAVE BEEN SOLD.

HERE ARE SOME LINKS TO SOME  AUCTIONS THAT SOLD FAKE KRAY PAINTINGS IN RECENT YEARS ….. 

BATEMANS AUCTION HOUSE , LINCOLNSHIRE    …. HERE

JAMES AND SONS AUCTIONEERS , FAKENHAM … HERE

LAIDLAWS AUCTIONEERS  ….. HERE

AND MANY OTHERS…… BUYERS BEWARE

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FLANAGAN, FORMER MODEL, “GODMOTHER” AND PEACE-MAKER TO MANY OF BRITAIN’S MOST HARDENED AND FEARED GANGLAND FIGURES.

BELOW: HERE IS A BRIEF PICTORIAL GALLERY AT THE LAUNCH PARTY FOR FLANAGAN’S NEW AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL BOOK ….. “ONE OF THE FAMILY  … 10 YEARS WITH THE KRAYS ” AT THE BLIND BEGGAR PUB , WHITECHAPEL RD , LONDON

FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE

FOR VIDEO CLICK HERE

FLANAGAN’s life started in 1941 as Hitler was bombing London. She had to be evacuated & she had to be evacuated to Hemel Hempsted but later returned to her home town of Islington.

Convent educated in Holloway Rd, North London, she grew up with a younger brother & sister, along with a little English mother & a devastatingly handsome Irish father.

Her christian name was Maureen & she started work in a hairdressers at 15 years old when her father died. She was spotted by a photographer aged 18 at a hairdressers convention where she’d been asked to model. He took some photos & showed them to an agent who suggested she model on the catwalk. Maureen worked for all the top fashion houses & stores, everything she tried on sold out in hours.

At 20 years old she married a local lad, Patrick Flanagan & for 3 years they lived in Camden, North London. Her agent sent her up to the BBC where she appeared on shows including Benny Hill, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Dave Allen Show, The Likely Lads & Only Fools & Horses. She also filmed ‘Dracula 72’ alongside Christopher Lee.

At 26 years old she was known as the most photographed model in Britain & her legs were insured for £25,000 which was unheard of in the 60’s! She went to Germany to advertise cars & was then flown to Amsterdam, where she was photographed covered in diamonds, then New York to model ‘Hot Pants’.

She became great friends with George Best, Malcolm Allison & Barbara Windsor & filmed with Tony Curtis, Roger Moore & Charlton Heston, while taking up using the one name – Flanagan. It worked wonders!

She had become Violet Kray’s hairdresser & on meeting The Twins & ….elder brother Charlie, became a regular visitor to Vallance Rd & is now considered an expert on all Kray memorabilia, being called upon to examine items belonging to all 3 brothers at auctions. She visited The Twins regularly until they died & arranged all 3 funerals, seating everyone in the church at them all.

Flanagan was called up to The Sun newspaper’s head office by the Editor & it worked. As she was leaving she was asked her age & replied with a smile “21”, which they duly printed. In fact she was 30 & just getting divorced!

She married again in 1976, having found the East London years before through the Kray brothers & had a son, JJ, who is a DJ. Sadly her 2nd husband, Terry Cox, died after a heart transplant & Flanagan never left the East End. Flanagan now has 3 grandaughters.

She’s currently organising the ‘Biggest Kray Memorabilia Night’ & experts to enthusiasts from all over the country will attend the event, being held at The Blind Beggar Pub in Whitechapel (Please see the ‘Events’ page).

Flanagan has a thousand stories to tell.

MURFLAN

flanFLANAGAN THE MODEL IN HER PRIME

Maureen Flanagan, best known by her stage name Flanagan, was an early tabloid model. She later became known as a most trusted inner-circle “Godmother” and peace-maker  to many of the most hardened and feared British  gangland figures of the 1960’s era to the present day, including The Kray Twins (she was also the family’s personal hairdresser and friend ) and a great many others . She has been one of the key organisers behind many of the gangland funerals and to this day remains one of the inner circles most trusted  confidents

flaANOTHER IMAGE OF FLANAGAN AS A MODEL BACK IN THE LATE 1960’S

She had an acting career in the late sixties/early seventies, mainly in bit parts on The Benny Hill ShowMonty Python’s Flying Circus, and several British sex comedies. She also played the lead role in the Danish film The Loves of Cynthia (a.k.a. Cynthia’s Sister) in 1971.

After her acting career ended, Flanagan continued to remain in the public eye, owing to her association with the Kray Twins and her efforts to secure their release She also wrote the book “Intimate Secrets of an Escort Girl” (Everest books, 1974). The book was serialized in the magazine Tit-Bits, accompanied by a blurb which said “Britain’s most photographed model lays bare the facts of her working life in the sauciest story of the year

In 1997, Flanagan made a one-off return to nude modeling as a mature woman, posing fully nude in the magazine Men’s World. In the accompanying interview she said her second husband had recently died after a heart transplant operation, and that she was busy raising a then-16 year old son

BELOW ARE SOME PHOTO’S AND FEATURE’S OF FLANAGAN IN HER PRIME IMG_1425 IMG_1426 IMG_1427 IMG_1428 IMG_1429 IMG_1430

flanaFLANAGAN AND ANDY JONES AT THE FUNERAL OF GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY MASTERMIND – BRUCE REYNOLDS …

below is a link to Flanagan’s new website which is presently under construction , with more to be added

http://www.flanagan-model.com/

LONDON UNDERWORLD GANGLAND BOSS – CHARLIE RICHARDSON ( 1934 – 2012)

Charlie Richardson: Shrewd and ruthless leading figure of London’s 1960s criminal scene

BELOW IS PICTURE OF ANDY JONES FROM THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION WITH LONDON UNDERWORLD CRIME BOSS AND LONG STANDING ACQUAINTANCE  – CHARLIE RICHARDSON AT ONE OF THE PAST EVENTS TOGETHER

CHARLIE HAD KINDLY INTRODUCED ANDY TO A NUMBER OF FELLOW ASSOCIATES WHO IN TURN HAVE PERSONALLY CONTRIBUTED VARIOUS ITEMS TO THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION NOW ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL

Charlie Richardson was among the shrewdest of the serious crime figures who populated London’s post war underworld. “He was a genius, not like a professor who might know about art and paintings, but as a money maker,” Frank Fraser said of him.

He was born in Camberwell, south-east London in 1934; his brother Eddie was born in 1936, the youngest sibling Alan in 1940. Charlie and Eddie were brought up in a traditional south London working-class family, and like their east London counterparts, the Kray twins, they endured a wartime childhood, enjoyed the vibrant street life of working-class London and developed as talented young boxers and prominent street fighters.

According to folklore, the Richardsons were the south London nemesis of the Krays. However, unlike the twins, Charlie and Eddie had a penchant for hard work, and made good money from the post-war scrap metal trade, plundering the remnants of abandoned wartime airfields.

With a merchant seaman father who was often missing from home, the teenage Charlie exhibited an entrepreneurial zeal. He moved into a number of areas, including wholesale chemists and mineral mining, as well as extortion and, notably, long firm fraud. This involved an apparently legitimate wholesaling business being set up, initially paying for goods on time. When their credit limit was reached, they sold up and disappeared.

Richardson surrounded himself with long firm specialists, men described to me by Eddie Richardson as “plausible rogues”, and a number were sent to Milan to place orders with manufacturers for stockings on behalf of a company called Central Supplies. On arrival in London the stockings were sold by mail order, but with money and goods leaking from the business, and with the Italians pressing, Central Supplies burnt down. Richardson then set up a new company, LR Gray, based in Mitre St in the City. A number of Richardson associates were beaten for stealing from the long firms, before LR Grey also “had a fire”.

Charlie Richardson had first encountered the Kray twins in Shepton Mallet military prison, where all were awaiting a dishonorable discharge from National Service. The honeypot of the West End brought them back into contact, and though the east London firm claimed to be preparing for warfare, there is little to suggest the Richardson firm took them seriously. The Richardsons could boast among their associates some of London’s most feared men, including one of the “Chainsaw Robbers” Jimmy Moody, as well as George Cornell, an East Ender who had clashed with the youthful Krays, and Frank Fraser, whose affiliation to the Richardsons was described by Mickey Bloom, an associate of the Nash Brothers, as “like China getting the atom bomb.”

Fraser summed up the firm’s attitude to the Krays: “Using racing terms, there would be no race… The Richardsons were miles in front, brain power, everything.” In their dotage Charlie and Eddie expressed contempt for the Kray firm, and although skirmishes and casualties were not unknown while the Krays, in particular Ronnie, fantasised over Chicago-style gang wars, the Richardons diversified into long firms, gaming machines, pornography, scrap metal yards, a perlite mine in South Africa, control over car parking at Heathrow, and more.

Charlie had become increasingly fascinated by South Africa, in particular the opportunities in the country’s mineral industry. He became embroiled with the South African security services, who dangled the carrot of mining licences in front of him in exchange for Charlie arranging to have the telephones tapped of Amnesty International and Harold Wilson.

In 1966, in a shooting at Mr Smiths Club in Catford, an associate of the Krays was killed and five men were wounded. Eddie Richardson and Frank Fraser were arrested, Fraser for murder. The following night Ronnie Kray murdered George Cornell.

Richardson’s penchant for attacking fellow fraudsters who he suspected of stealing from his long firms resulted in the infamous “torture trial” in 1967, which featured allegations of the use of pliers to remove teeth and fingernails, and the attachment of electrodes to genitals. Alleged victims of the Richardsons were granted immunity from prosecution if they “turned Queen’s Evidence”, and a distinct lack of physical evidence did not deter the judge, Mr Justice Lawton. Eddie was sentenced to 10 years with another five for the Mr Smith incident, and Frank Fraser received five years for affray and 10 years for some deviant dental practices at the Richardsons’ Peckham scrapyard. Charlie received 25 years: “I was charged with a bit of long firm fraud and five counts of grievous bodily harm. Nobody was dead, maimed or even bloody scarred.”

The sentencing policy was undoubtably savage, and whether this was due to a fear of American-style “organised crime” or was linked to Richardson’s relationship with the South African Secret Service remains, over 40 years later, difficult to unpack. Files have been sunk deep into the long grass of British officialdom. Charlie Richardson was arrested on 30 July 1966; in 1980 he escaped from an open prison and remained free for just under a year. In 1984 he was finally released.

Charlie Richardson was the epitome of the tough working class self-made man who cut corners, and while violence was at the core of his success, his relationship with corrupt police officers was probably more significant. He did not play at being a gangster, and in his prime he was the real deal, shrewd and manipulative and quick to dole out violence to fellow underworld residents. But he was also well-read, articulate, extremely funny, and addicted to business. One of his last ventures was a scheme to take some control over the “true crime” genre, and to the end he loved doing deals, with film-makers, writers and a range of disparate individuals. However, along with his wife Veronica and his familyy, mining was his passion.

Nobody could swear quite like Charlie Richardson, and he reserved his most heartfelt oaths for the ex-business associates and members of the Establishment who, he insisted to his death (of complications from peritonitis), had conspired to deprive him of his liberty for 18 years.

NOTORIOUS LONDON GANGLAND FIGUREHEAD – “MAD” FRANKIE FRASER

 TRUE CRIME, GANGLAND,MAFIA, MURDERABILIA AND BEYOND…. IT’S ALL HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL 

HERE’S AN INTERACTIVE INSIGHT INTO THE MAD AND VIOLENT WORLD OF MAD FRANKIE FRASER

HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION WE FEATURE AND INCLUDE A GREAT MANY GANGLAND FIGURES INCLUDING “MAD” FRANKIE FRASER AS PART OF OUR TRUE CRIME AND GANGLAND  COLLECTIONS.

ALSO BELOW ARE SOME MORE INTERACTIVE BACKGROUND VIDEO FOOTAGE RELATING TO THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THIS NOTORIOUS CRIMINAL AND FORMER MEMBER OF THE RICHARDSON GANG WHO RULED THE LONDON GANGLAND SCENE IN THE 1960’S ALONG WITH THEIR RIVALS – THE KRAY TWINS .

 ABOVE IS ONE OF THE MANY PERSONALLY SIGNED GANGLAND MEMORABILIA ITEMS ON DISPLAY AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL .

Early life

Born in Lambeth, south London, Fraser was a deserter during World War II, on several occasions escaping from his barracks. It was during the war that Fraser first became involved in serious crime, with the blackout and rationing, combined with the lack of professional policemen due to conscription, providing ample opportunities for criminal activities. In 1941, he was sent to Borstal for breaking into a Waterloo hosiery store and was then given a 15-month prison sentence at Wandsworth Prison for shopbreaking. Such were the criminal opportunities during the war, Fraser later joked in a television interview that he had never forgiven the Germans for surrendering.

Fraser confirms in his book ‘Mad Frank & Friends’ that his grandmother was a Canadian Red Indian.[4]

[edit]Post-war

After the war, Fraser was involved in a smash-and-grab raid on a jeweller’s for which he received a two-year prison sentence, served largely at Pentonville Prison. It was during this sentence that he was first certified insane and was sent to the Cane Hill Hospital, London, before being released in 1949. During the 1950s his main occupation was as bodyguard to well-known gangster Billy Hill. He took part in more bank robberies and spent more time in prison. He was again certified insane while at Durham Prison and this time sent to Broadmoor. Aware of the punishments for bad behaviour in that institution, Fraser stayed out of trouble and was released in 1955. In 1956, the British mobster Jack Spot and wife Rita were attacked, on Hill’s say-so, by Fraser, Bobby Warren and at least half a dozen other men. Both Fraser and Warren were given seven years for their acts of violence.[5]

[edit]The Richardson Gang

It was in the early 1960s that he first met Charlie and Eddie Richardson, members of the notorious Richardson Gang and rivals to the Kray twins.[6] One member of the criminal fraternity was quoted as saying that “Mad Frank joining the Richardson’s Gang was like China getting the atom bomb”.[citation needed] According to Fraser, it was they who helped him avoid arrest for the Great Train Robbery by bribing a policeman. Together they set up the Atlantic Machines fruit machines enterprise, which acted as a front for the criminal activities of the gang.[7] In 1966 Fraser was charged with the murder of Richard Hart who was shot at Mr Smiths’s club in Catford while other members including Jimmy Moody were charged with affray. The witness changed his testimonyand the charges were eventually dropped, though he still received a five year sentence for affray. Fraser has always maintained that, while he fought with Hart, he did not shoot him. He was also implicated in the so-called ‘Torture trial’, in which members of the gang were charged with burning, electrocuting and whipping those found guilty of disloyalty by a kangaroo court. Fraser himself was accused of pulling out the teeth of victims with a pair of pliers. In the trial at the Old Bailey in 1967 he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.[8]

[edit]Violence

Fraser’s 42 years served in over 20 different prisons in the UK were often coloured by violence.[9] He was involved in riots and frequently fought with prison officers and fellow inmates as well as attacking various governors. He was one of the ringleaders of the major Parkhurst Prison riot in 1969, spending the following six weeks in the prison hospital, owing to his injuries. Involvement in such activities often led to his sentences being extended. Whilst in Strangeways, Manchester in 1980 Fraser was ‘excused boots’ as he claimed he had problems with his feet so he was allowed to wear slippers. He was released from prison in 1985, where he was met by his son in a Rolls Royce.[10]

In 1991 Fraser was shot in the head from close range in an apparent murder attempt outside the Turnmills Club in Clerkenwell, London. He has always maintained that a policeman was responsible.

[edit]Later life

Fraser has become something of a celebrity, appearing on television shows such as Operation Good Guys,[11] Shooting Stars,[12] and the satirical show Brass Eye,[13] where he said Noel Edmonds should be shot for killing Clive Anderson (an incident invented by the show’s producers), and writing an autobiography. In 1999 he appeared at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London in a one man show, ‘An Evening with Mad Frankie Fraser’ (directed by Patrick Newley), which subsequently toured the UK.

He also appeared as East End crime boss Pops Den in the feature film Hard Men, a forerunner of British gangster movies such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and had a documentary made of his life Mad Frank which was released as part of the DVD The Ultimate Gangster DVD (2003 Gangster Videos), which featured crime figures Charles BronsonJohn McVicar, Paddy Joe Hill, Albert Reading, Dave CourtneyRoy ShawNorman Parker, Marilyn Wisbey and axe victim Eric Mason. This programme was also shown on The Crime & Investigation Channel & Biography Channel in the UK and was directed by Liam Galvin.

He now gives gangland tours around London, where he highlights infamous criminal locations such as the Blind Beggar pub. He lives in the Walworth area of London.

Fraser is also a big Arsenal fan, and his grandson Tommy Fraser is a professional footballer,[14] and formerly captain of League Two side Port Vale. According to legend, when he was at Brighton, Tommy was asked by a local reporter if his grandfather ever came to watch him play. “No,” came the reply. “But he reads your reports and he was unhappy you only gave me six out of 10 last week.” Tommy never got less than seven again.[citation needed] Another of Fraser’s grandsons, James Fraser, also spent a short time with Bristol Rovers. Another grandson, Anthony Fraser, was being sought by police in February 2011 for his alleged involvement in alleged £5million cannabis smuggling ring.[15]

[edit]Books

  • Fraser, Frank & Morton, James (2000). Mad Frank’s Diary: A Chronicle of the Life of Britain’s Most Notorious Villain. Virgin Books. ISBN 1-85227-874-9.
  • Fraser, Frank & Morton, James (1995). Mad Frank: Memoirs of a Life of Crime. Time Warner Paperbacks. ISBN 0-7515-1137-4.

[edit]Film

London-based production company Classic Media Entertainment has secured the film rights to Mad Frankie’s life. A feature film production is currently in development and the production has Fraser’s endorsement[16].

[edit]External links

[edit]References

LINDA CALVEY…”THE BLACK WIDOW”… NOTORIOUS FORMER ARMED ROBBER, GANGSTER & ALLEGED MURDERER WHO SERVED 18 YEARS IN PRISON FOR A CRIME SHE HAS ALWAYS DENIED COMMITTING …

TRUE CRIME AND MUCH MORE HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL 

LINDA CALVEY “THE BLACK WIDOW”  ….. BACK BEHIND BARS  EXHIBITION 

52fcffe080e02_14f27widowABOVE … LINDA CALVEY -THE BLACK WIDOW LEAVES COURT IN A HIGH SECURITY  POLICE VEHICLE DURING HER TRIAL AT THE OLD BAILEY , LONDON IN NOVEMBER 1991 . SHE SERVED 18 YEARS IN VARIOUS WOMEN’S HIGH SECURITY PRISONS FOR A MURDER THAT SHE HAS CONSISTENTLY DENIED COMMITTING. 

SHE WAS OFFERED A LESSER PRISON SENTENCE BY THE HOME OFFICE IF SHE CONFESSED TO THE MURDER AFTER BEING GIVEN A LIFE SENTENCE. .SHE SUBSEQUENTLY  REFUSED THIS OFFER OUTRIGHT AS SHE HAS ALWAYS MAINTAINED HER INNOCENCE AND THAT SHE HAD BEEN SET-UP ….. HENCE AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE SERVED THE FULL 18 YEAR PRISON TERM . 

LINDA CALVEY WITH ANDY JONES OF THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION  PRESENTING A HANDMADE CUSHION ACQUIRED FROM NOTORIOUS BRITISH SERIAL KILLER ROSE WEST WHILST IMPRISONED TOGETHER AT HMP DURHAM IN 1994 …. NOW ON DISPLAY AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL ALONG WITH LOTS MORE TRUE CRIME MEMORABILIA AND MURDERABILIA 

YOU AS VISITORS DECIDE FOR YOURSELVES WHETHER LINDA CALVEY IS GUILTY OR NOT ? ….. 

SHE VEHEMENTLY DENIES KILLING HER FORMER LOVER RON COOK WHO WAS SHOT AT POINT BLANK RANGE WITH A SHOTGUN AT THE HOME OF LINDA CALVEY, THE CRIME FOR WHICH SHE SERVED A TOTAL OF 18 YEARS IN PRISON .

 SHE CLAIMS SHE WAS AFFORDED THE OPPORTUNITY BY THE HOME OFFICE AUTHORITIES  TO SERVE A LESSER SENTENCE OF 7 YEARS IF SHE CONFESSED TO THIS CRIME .

SHE REFUSED THIS OFFER CLAIMING THAT…. WHY SHOULD SHE CONFESS TO A CRIME SHE NEVER COMMITTED?

 INSTEAD THE HOME OFFICE INCREASED THE TARIFF ON TWO OCCASIONS  TO A TOTAL  18 YEAR LIFE SENTENCE WHICH SHE SERVED IN FULL AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE .

COME VISIT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION AND SEE FOR YOURSELVES WHAT LINDA CALVEY HAS TO SAY IN HER OWN WORDS …

Linda Calvey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Linda Calvey is a female murderer and armed robber jailed for killing her lover Ronnie Cook in 1990. She was known as the “Black Widow” because all of her lovers ended up either dead or in prison.[1]

Previous criminal career

Calvey began her criminal career as a lookout, later becoming a getaway driver and eventually wielding guns herself during robberies.[2]

Murder of Cook

She paid a hitman Daniel Reece £10,000 to kill Cook. However he lost his nerve at the last minute and Calvey picked up the gun herself shooting the victim at point blank range whilst he kneeled in front of her.[3]

At the time of her release Calvey was Britain‘s longest serving female prisoner. She spent 18 and a half years in prison for the murder of Cook and had also previously served three and a half years for an earlier robbery.[4]

In 2002 a book by Kate Kray detailing Calvey’s life and crimes was published

BELOW ARE A NUMBER OF IMAGES OF SOME OF THE PERSONAL EXHIBIT ITEMS BELONGING TO LINDA CALVEY ON DISPLAY HERE AT THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , IMAGES OF LINDA PICTURED HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL AND AT VARIOUS EVENTS ETC ETC 

Black Widow in freedom bid

Evening Standard   Last updated at 00:00am on 07.10.03

 Add your view

A woman known as the Black Widow who was jailed for life for shooting dead her lover at point-blank range launched a new High Court bid for freedom today.

Lawyers for Linda Calvey asked a judge for permission to challenge Home Secretary David Blunkett’s failure to refer her case to the Parole Board.

Her counsel Alan Newman QC accused Mr Blunkett of acting unlawfully and in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Calvey, 53, who was in court to hear her case argued, has served 12 years of her life sentence and is currently held at Highpoint Prison, Suffolk.

She was convicted in November 1991 of the murder of Ronald Cook.

At her Old Bailey trial the jury was told that Calvey originally hired a hit man, Daniel Reece, for £10,000 to carry out the murder in November 1990.

But he had lost his nerve at the last minute, and she forced Cook to kneel in front of her before carrying out the killing.

Both Calvey and Reece, who was also jailed for life, denied murdering Cook at Calvey’s home in Plaistow, east London, in November 1990.

The trial jury was told Calvey was nicknamed the Black Widow because of her habit of dressing in black after her husband Mickey was shot dead by police in 1978 as he was carrying out an armed robbery.

Today Mr Newman told the court that the trial judge set the minimum period she must serve for retribution and deterrence at seven years – but the then Home Secretary more than doubled the tariff to 15 years in 1993. The tariff was reviewed and reset in 1998.

In November last year, the House of Lords ruled in the case of Anderson that it was incompatible with human rights laws for the Home Secretary to set tariffs for mandatory lifers.

Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights required minimum periods in custody to be set by “an independent and impartial tribunal”.

Following that ruling Ms Calvey asked the Home Office to refer her case to the Parole Board as a matter of urgency, but her request was turned down.

Mr Newman told Mr Justice Jackson, sitting in London, that the Home Secretary’s failure to do so was unreasonable and breached Article 5 of the convention, which guaranteed a prisoner’s right to have their case reassessed if the basis for his or her detention changed.

He said it was “irrelevant” that the Lord Chief Justice had also concluded that the tariff should be 15 years.

Mr Blunkett had taken the view that Ms Calvey would have to wait until she could take advantage of new legislation passing through Parliament dealing with the position of lifers’ tariffs.

But by then she would probably have served the full 15-year tariff, and this would amount to a “cruel punishment” contrary to the 1688 Bill of Rights, said Mr Newman.

He told the judge that the case could affect many other murderers serving life sentences.

Seeking leave to apply for judicial review, he said: “The present application raises important and difficult points of law. Whatever may be the eventual outcome, even if at the end of the day the Secretary of State’s view prevails, this case clearly should be allowed to proceed to a full hearing.”

Would you marry the black widow? Ex-gangster Linda Calvey finds a new fiance

She’s a notorious gangster’s moll and every man who’s fallen for her has ended up dead or in jail. Now she’s finished a 28-year stretch for murder – and found a rich fiance. Has he got more money than sense?

Potentially lethal things, cars. Linda Calvey had a close call with an exploding spark
plug the other day. It left her a little shaken.

‘Afterwards, the guy in the garage told me that I was very lucky the engine did not go up, because I’d have been a gonner,’ she explains, breezy as you like.

Taking a chance: Linda Calvey and husband-to-be George Ceasar, who trusts her implicitly

Taking a chance: Linda Calvey and husband-to-be George Ceasar, who trusts her implicitly

‘I was telling my friend and she said: “Oh goodness, Linda. It could have been even worse. What if George had been driving and he’d been blown to pieces? You’d have been back inside in no time.” She was right, too. I can see the headlines now: The Black Widow Strikes Again.’

For some reason she seems to find this funny. Even more curiously, George, the man she will marry next year, is rocking with laughter too, tears collecting in his eyes.

Why the hilarity? Surely no sane person — or, at the very least, no lawabiding person — would regard it as funny to be so closely associated with Linda Calvey, behind the wheel or not.

Linda is the stuff of legends

For Linda is the stuff of legends — East End gangster legends, mostly.

In notoriety terms, she is up there with the Krays (indeed, Reggie Kray once proposed to her, which kind of says it all). So did ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser. In glamour terms, she is in a league of her own.

For most of her adult life she has gone by the name of the Black Widow, dubbed so ever since one police officer with whom she’d had dealings pondered the fact that ‘every man she has ever been involved with is either in prison or dead’.

When Myra Hindley died a few years back, Linda — her prison hairdresser, oddly enough — assumed the title of the longest-serving female prisoner in the country.

That 18-year stint was for blasting a former lover to death with a shotgun. Another lover was her co-defendant in the case, and was sent down, too.

They later married behind bars, although — as is so often the way with Linda — it didn’t last.

Her first husband Micky (the one who taught her to be a career criminal — armed robbery to be precise) met a violent end, too, although this was at the hands of the police, who confronted him mid hold-up. That is quite some history to be trailing up the aisle with poor George, who seems like ever such a nice man.

George’s past is squeaky clean

They will marry in the spring with seven — count them! — bridesmaids in tow. Isn’t that a tad excessive for a 60-year-old grandmother getting hitched for the third time? Perhaps.

But then nothing about Linda Calvey was ever understated.

Four months ago, she was released from prison and into the arms of her new love, whom she met while she was on day release.

George Ceasar is a businessman and a part-time ski instructor, and ‘the farthest thing in the world from a gangster’, according to his future wife, who seems almost surprised by this. He drives a red Rolls-Royce (‘bought rather than nicked,’ she grins). His past is squeaky clean, literally. He used to run a successful bleach factory.

‘We were the first people to put bleach in bottles,’ he tells me, proudly.

He should really be the sort of man who would run a mile from Linda Calvey and the criminal underworld she epitomises.

So why, then, is he gazing adoringly at her and bemoaning the peculiarities of the British parole system, in the way that most men of his background would tut-tut at how you can never find a Post Office when you need one.

kray
Ex-gangster

Gangster Reggie Kray and “Mad” Frankie Fraser both proposed to Linda Calvey

‘Can’t you poison someone in daylight hours?’

George simply cannot believe that his bride-to-be is still subject to ‘barmy’ parole conditions, which mean she cannot spend the night at his — or their, as it is now — home.

‘They have this mad idea that I am in some danger because of her,’ he says, appalled.

‘The prison officers took me aside when I went to visit her, saying: “Be careful.”

‘They implied she might try to kill me, which is nonsense. Even if it were true, do the authorities really think that they are protecting me by allowing her to be here with me only during the day. Can’t you poison someone in daylight hours?

‘It’s just ludicrous, from all angles. Does she seem dangerous to you?’

Erm, well, no. But then, didn’t Harold Shipman’s patients think he was a darling? I pitch up at George’s sprawling 13-room period house in the Kent countryside, hoping to talk to Britain’s most notorious female gangster, and am taken aback by what I find.

Her demeanour — warm, sparky, surprisingly vulnerable, endlessly entertaining — sets the tone for what will be a truly surreal interview.

‘It is the first time I’ve had a Christmas tree in 18 years. Every year I had Christmas
inside, all I could think of was: “I want my own tree.” George wanted to get an artificial one. I said: “No, George — it has to be real. That’s what I’ve dreamed of.” He said: “Well, whatever you want, my dear, you will have.”’

George was smitten from the start

While I try to get the interview under way — remember that the subject matter is murder, armed robbery and organised crime — they bicker about who will make the tea and whether they are going to see Barry Manilow that evening. She wants to go, but he doesn’t.

I feel as though I have stepped into a rather uneasy cross between a Guy Ritchie film and an Ealing comedy. So, how clever is the woman who has been billed as Britain’s most notorious female gangster? On this evidence, extremely. The other inmates called her Ma in prison, and you can see why.

She is attractive. A little brassy, yes — the lead character in Lynda La Plante’s Widows was apparently based on her — but not overly so. She is tactile, engaging and endearing.

George was smitten from the very start. They met in a Medway town when she was on day release from prison two years ago.

‘I was in a restaurant and it was very busy, so she and her friend shared the table with me. We got chatting, and I thought to myself: “Well, this is a lovely lady here”,’ says George.

‘She said she was on a day out. I said: “Oh, an outing?”

‘She said: “No, a day out from prison.”

‘I said: “Blimey. What did you do? It obviously wasn’t something that bad if you’re in an
open prison.”

‘She said: “The thing I went down for was bad, but the point is I didn’t do it. I am innocent.”’

‘She said she didn’t do it, and I believe her’

George — in his mid-Seventies — has had troubles of his own. He tells me that he, too, has been married twice and that his second wife ‘robbed him blind’.

‘You don’t have to be murdered by a woman to be done over by her,’ he says at one
point. He has grown-up children who he never sees. It sounds as though he was lonely when this captivating creature came into his life. Despite the horrific charge list, he brushes over the gangster stuff — even the bits Linda has admitted to.

‘Yes, she was a naughty girl, but haven’t you done anything wrong?’ he asks disingenuously.

He also claims she is the kindest person he has ever met. They decide between themselves that she’s a much nicer person than he is on the grounds that she once gave a cold stranger her own gloves, while such a thing would never occur to George.

Linda was the longest serving female prisoner in the country

Linda was the longest serving female prisoner in the country

It almost seems churlish to bring up more bloody matters and he sighs when I do so.

‘We’ve talked about it all,’ says George. ‘She’s told me what she did do and what she didn’t do. Yes, she did make mistakes, but she told me that on the big one — killing Ron — she didn’t do it, and I believe her. She was stitched up.

‘She has been completely honest with me. After we’d been out on our first date, I sat her down in the living room and said: “I want the truth. I don’t care whether you did
it or not, but I want to know the truth.” She swore she didn’t, and I believe her.’

Linda has always maintained that she did not kill Ronald Cook. She points out that had she professed some guilt she would have been out of jail years ago.

‘They kept me in because I refused to say I did it. But I’ve always held my hands up to what I’ve done. Armed robbery, yes. I’ve done terrible things, things so bad I can hardly believe it myself. But I did not kill Ron, and I will go to my grave saying it.’

‘Men close to me end up dead or in prison… it’s not my fault’

However, in November 1991, a jury decided that she did, and the evidence presented in court was as chilling as Linda’s current set-up is cosy.

Ron had been her lover for several years, but when he went to prison, she turned to several of his friends — also gangsters — for comfort.

Things got complicated, in the sexual and financial sense.

The court heard that, on Ron’s release, Linda was terrified that he would discover she had been unfaithful and had spent the heist money he had stashed away. She allegedly asked another lover, Daniel Reece, to kill him.

An agreement was put in place. Linda collected Ron from prison and drove him to the home they shared. Reece was waiting, but lost his nerve at the crucial moment, leaving Linda to take the shotgun off him and finish the task herself.

Surreally enough, we find ourselves in George’s kitchen when this horrific chapter is broached.

Both are standing as Linda tells her version, effectively re-enacting aspects of that day as she describes how she cowered in a corner as a gunman — the real killer, she says — fired at pointblank range.

The pair of them talk, quite matter-of-factly, about it as Linda puts the kettle on, saying that the Black Widow tag is quite unfair.

‘OK, men close to me came a cropper, but that’s because I associated with gangsters. They end up dead or in prison. That’s life. It’s not my fault.’

‘I liked the lifestyle’

What she fails to do, however, is convey any real sense of remorse — even for the fact that a man she professed to love died in such a manner. Cold-blooded? Barking mad? Or has she just been removed from law-abiding society for so long that she finds such complete moral detachment easy?

What’s interesting is that the only man she talks about with genuine affection is her first husband, Micky — shot dead by armed officers in a botched robbery.

‘I was from a respectable family, no hint of trouble there,’ she says of their meeting.

‘Micky was trouble, but oh so charming with it. Even my mother said: “I can see why you have fallen for him.” He worshipped me, my Micky. He gave me the world. I
didn’t know — honest I didn’t — that most of it was nicked.’

Micky robbed at gunpoint. His team’s jobs were mostly planned in their kitchen, with her making tea and sandwiches, listening in. Learning. She maintains that she got involved in the hard stuff only when Micky died.

‘I kind of just slid in. I started doing some of the driving, then getting more involved. I had children to feed. I liked the lifestyle. Yes. I wasn’t evil, though. I wasn’t.’

She even insists, after a moment’s hesitation, that the guns she carried weren’t even loaded.

Linda Calvey poses for a photo at a Holloway prison partyLinda Calvey poses for a photo at a Holloway prison party

Tougher than the rest

She clearly hates the police and blames The Establishment, whatever that is, for the death of Micky. But she isn’t nearly as bitter as you might expect about her time in prison.

Again she talks dispassionately about how she survived: it seems to have boiled down to being tougher than all the rest, but never appearing to be tough. Black humour stalks every sentence.

‘When I went to Durham, I said I wouldn’t talk to anyone who had killed a child. The wardens said: “Well, you’ll not be talking to many people here then. They are all
murderers.” ’

She struck up a bizarre relationship with Myra Hindley. She says they weren’t friends, but they were close enough that Linda dyed Hindley’s hair regularly. She clearly
doesn’t put herself in the same criminal, morally deficient class, though.

‘Myra never regretted what she had done. I was often shocked by her. I remember when I was working in the prison library she came in and asked to order a book, but she wanted me to put it in the name of another girl, who never came into the library. I asked what book. It was The Devil And His Works. She got it, too.

George looks on — fascinated rather than horrified — as she chats away about somehow finding herself in the same prison wing as one of the most notorious female killers of our time.

‘I missed seeing my grandchildren grow up’

Is there remorse on her part? Yes, undoubtedly so — although mostly for herself and her loved ones.

‘I did not kill Ron and should not have done that sentence, but I know full well that it was my lifestyle that put me in prison for that murder, and that is a terrible thing to live with.

‘All my grandchildren were born when I was inside. I haven’t seen any of them grow up, and they never had a granny.

‘One day, one of them had to write in school about what they did at the weekend. My granddaughter wrote: “We went to see Granny and I got tickled by the policeman and
then we went swimming.” She meant she’d been frisked coming to the prison to see me. That floors you, you know.’

‘Mate, she saw you coming’

She seems close to tears. George pats her arm and talks about how they could put another Christmas tree in the hallway, if she wants.

I wonder if her realizes that most people will look at him and conclude that George, with his red Rolls-Royce, his big empty house and his ability to see the best in people and conclude: ‘Mate, she saw you coming.’

Have they considered a prenuptial agreement?

‘I’ve said I would sign one,’ Linda says sharply, but George shakes his head in distaste.

‘You can’t go into a marriage thinking like that. You have to trust people. Life’s a gamble, but if you lose trust, what have you got? So, she might kill me. Well, hell, I’ll
take the chance.’

Next spring — “If I last that long,” quips George — those wedding bells will ring. Linda is already thinking about flowers and cakes.

As I leave, she skips off to fetch me some of the cake decorations she learned to make in prison.

They are truly remarkable: tiny flowers, berries and leaves, made out of icing, but impossible to tell from the real thing, even up close.

The woman has a rare, impressive — and deeply disturbing — talent for leaving you wondering what is real and what is fake.