BERT “BATTLE” ROSSI…. BRITAIN’S OLDEST LIVING FORMER LONDON GANGLAND BOSS. THE UK’S EQUIVALENT TO AMERICA’S MAFIA “BOSS OF BOSSES” AL CAPONE . HE WAS ALSO THE MENTOR AND TRUSTED FRIEND TO THE KRAY TWINS …

BRITAIN’S OLDEST FORMER GANGSTER  REVEALS ALL…. AGED 93

AS EXPECTED THIS STORY , FORTHCOMING BOOK AND INEVITABLE FORTHCOMING DOCUMENTARY AND POTENTIAL FILM WILL GO GLOBAL…..

BELOW DOUBLE PAGE ARTICLE AS FEATURED IN THE SUNDAY PEOPLE NEWSPAPER TODAY .

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BRITAIN’S REAL LIFE EQUIVALENT TO AMERICA’S GANGLAND BOSS  ” AL CAPONE”  WHO WAS ACTIVE DURING THE 1950’S  AND BEYOND.

KNOWN TO MANY AS THE “GENERAL OF CLERKENWELL” , LONDON ,  ALSO TRUSTED FRIEND  AND MENTOR TO THE KRAY TWINS …  “BERT “BATTLE” ROSSI ”

HE WAS CLOSE FAMILY FRIEND AND ASSOCIATE TO THE ITALIAN MAFIA ORGANISATION  … THE GAMBINO CRIME FAMILY , WHO ARE OF COURSE WELL KNOWN AND FEARED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD, EVEN TODAY….

Bert_with_pic__8

ABOVE : A RECENT MEET UP BETWEEN BERT ROSSI AND ANDY JONES OF THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION , LITTLEDEAN JAIL , WHEREBY BERT PRESENTS ANDY WITH HIS OWN  PERSONAL  PAUL LAKE LIMITED EDITION PRINT SIGNED BY RON AND REG KRAY . THIS FOR DISPLAY AT THE JAIL WITH A FORTHCOMING BRIEF EXHIBITION ON HIMSELF …..  THIS TO COINCIDE WITH THE RELEASE OF HIS FORTHCOMING BOOK ….. WATCH THIS SPACE FOR FURTHER DETAILS …… BELOW IS THE SIGNED PRINT ON DISPLAY AT THE JAIL

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COMING SOON …. THE UNTOLD STORY OF BERT ROSSI ,WHO IS TODAY , AT THE GRAND OLD AGE OF 92 , THE UK’S  OLDEST LIVING GANGSTER

FOR ALL THOSE WHO ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE NAME …. MORE INTIMATE DETAILS OF HIS INCREDIBLE LIFE AND TIMES ARE TO BE PUBLISHED FOR THE FIRST TIME OVER THE NEXT FEW MONTHS …..

A BRIEF MEMO FROM BERT …..  FOR ALL THOSE INTERESTED IN THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BERT “BATTLE” ROSSI …. AND FOR THE RECORD …. BERT AT THE GRAND OLD AGE OF 92 HAS INFORMED ME THAT HE HAS NOW ENTERED THE DIGITAL SOCIAL NETWORK ERA AND IS HIMSELF NOW ACTIVLY INVOLVED AND IN CONTROL OF HIS OWN FACEBBOK PAGE  HE PERSONALLY READS ALL THE COMMENTS AND AGAIN PERSONALLY INFORMS HIS FAMILY AS TO WHAT TO REPLY  FOR AND ON HIS BEHALF … FOR HIS FACEBOOK PAGE  (SEE HERE) .

PLEASE DO NOTE HE IS NOT ACTIVELY ON THIS SITE 24/7 AS HE HAS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT COMMITMENTS ELSEWHERE ….. INCLUDING HIS SOON TO BE RELEASED BOOK ENTITLED “THE GENERAL OF CLERKENWELL”  , WHICH IS HOPEFULLY DUE TO BE RELEASED IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS 2015, ALONG WITH  A DOCUMENTARY WITH TITLE ” BOMP” …. FOR WHICH VARIOUS TASTERS ARE NOW  AVAILABLE  BOTH ON OUR SITE HERE AND ON YOUTUBE . ALL AS HAS BEEN PERSONALLY AUTHORISED BY BERT HIMSELF.

INCONJUNCTION WITH THE FORTHCOMING BOOK LAUNCH AND DOCUMENTARY …. THE CRIME THROUGH TIME COLLECTION HERE AT LITTLEDEAN JAIL WILL BE STAGING A BRIEF ,BUT PERMANENT EXHIBITION ON THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BERT “BATTLE” ROSSI , IN AND AMONGST OTHER UK AND AMERICAN GANGLAND FIGURES …… WHICH WILL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC FOR THE 2016 TOURISM SEASON .

THERE HAS BEEN AND CONTINUES TO BE AN EVER INCREASING MEDIA INTEREST IN BERT’S STORY … PARTICULARLY AS HE IS THE OLDEST LIVING FORMER GANGLAND BOSS ….. MOST RECENTLY FEATURED IN THE ONLINE NATIONAL CRIME SYNDICATION MAGAZINE BLOG ( SEE HERE )

Reggie Kray-Boxer Buller Ward-Bert Rossi-Red Faced Tommy-Ronnie Kray WITH TYPE

Capturebert

 

HERE BELOW IS A RECENT (AUGUST 2015 ) , VERY BRIEF INSIGHT VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH THE NOW 92 YEAR OLD FORMER LONDON MAFIA BOSS AND MENTOR TO THE KRAY TWINS

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HERE BELOW ARE A FEW VINTAGE IMAGES OF BERT ROSSI WITH VARIOUS FACES FROM THE PAST

BERT ROSSI AGED 92

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BERT ROSSI

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BERT ROSSI

On a recent visit to the Bookies

On a recent visit to the Bookies

Alex Steene-Jersesey Joe Walcott

Alex Steene-Jersey Joe Walcott

Bert and Big Albert Dimes bw

Bert and Big Albert Dimes

Bert Rosi Billy Hill Ruby Sparks and Frank Fraser

Bert Rossi ,billy Hill , Ruby Sparks and Frank Fraser

Bert_with_pic only in new background

Bert with picture

Bert-Albert and Lord and Lady Docker

Bert , Albert and Lord and lady Docker

Bert-Billy Hill and Lady Docker

Bert , Billy Hill and Lady Docker

krays-boxing-pose-1953

Krays boxing -pose -1953

Willie Pep

Willie Pep

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Bert “Battle ” Rossi aged 92 , July 2015

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Andy Jones of the Crime Through Time Collection with Bert “Battle” Rossi at a recent get together

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/

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.

INTRIGUING DOCUMENTARY INSIGHT INTO THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THE NOTORIOUS KRAYS

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RONNIE AND REGGIE KRAY

Kray twins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kray Twins:
Ronald & Reginald Kray

The Kray twins, Reginald (left) and Ronald (right), photographed by David Bailey
Born 24 October 1933 (both)
Hoxton, London, England
Died Ronnie:
17 March 1995 (aged 61)
Broadmoor Hospital, Slough, England
Reggie:
1 October 2000 (aged 66)
Norwich, Norfolk, England
Alias(es) Ronnie & Reggie
Charge(s) Murders of George Cornell and Jack “The Hat” McVitie
Penalty In 1969 both were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of thirty years.
Status Both deceased
Occupation Gangsters and club owners
Spouse Reggie:
Frances Shea (m. 1965–1967)
(her death)
Roberta Jones (m. 1997–2000)
(his death)[1][2]
Ronnie:
Elaine Mildener (m. 1985–1989)
(divorced)[3]
Kate Howard (m. 1989–1994)
(divorced)[4]
Parents Charles Kray and Violet Lee-Kray

Reginald “Reggie” Kray (24 October 1933 – 1 October 2000) and his twin brother Ronald “Ronnie” Kray (24 October 1933 – 17 March 1995) were the foremost perpetrators of organised crime in London’s East End during the 1950s and 1960s. Ronald, commonly referred to as Ron or Ronnie, most likely suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.[5] The Krays were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, violent assaults including tortureand the murders of Jack “The Hat” McVitie and George Cornell. As West End nightclub owners, they mixed with prominent entertainers including Diana DorsFrank SinatraJudy Garland and politicians. The Krays were highly feared within their social environment, and in the 1960s they became celebrities in their own right, being photographed by David Bailey and interviewed on television. They were arrested on 9 May 1968 and convicted in 1969 by the efforts of a squad of detectives led by Detective Superintendent Leonard “Nipper” Read, and were both sentenced to life imprisonment.

Ronnie remained in Broadmoor Hospital until his death on 17 March 1995, but Reggie was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000, eight weeks before his death in October from cancer.

Ronnie and Reggie Kray were born on 24 October 1933 in Hoxton, East London, to Charles David “Charlie” Kray, Sr, (10 March 1907 – 8 March 1983), a scrap gold dealer, and Violet Lee (5 August 1909 – 4 August 1982).[6] Reggie was born roughly 10 minutes before twin Ronnie. Charlie and Violet already had a six-year old son, Charlie Jr, (9 July 1926 – 4 Apr 2000).[7] A sister, Violet, born 1929, died in infancy. When the twins were three years old, they were struck down with diphtheria and recovered. Ron almost died from a head injury suffered in a fight with his twin brother in 1942.[edit]Early life

In 1938, having previously lived in Stene Street, Hoxton, the Kray family moved to 178 Vallance Road, Bethnal Green. At the start of the Second World War, Charlie Kray Senior was called up into the army, but went into hiding travelling the country as a trader and avoiding the law.

The twins first attended Wood Close School in Brick Lane and then Daniel Street School.[8] They were always trouble; people who knew them were too scared to say anything.

The influence of their grandfather, Jimmy “Cannonball” Lee,[9] led both boys into amateur boxing, which was at that time a popular pursuit for working-class boys in the East End. An element of rivalry between them spurred them on, and they achieved some success. They are said never to have lost a bout before turning professional at the age of 19.

[edit]National Service

The Kray twins became famous locally for their gang and the mayhem they caused. They narrowly avoided prison several times and in early 1952 they were called up for National Service with the Royal Fusiliers. They deserted several times, each time being recaptured.

While absent without leave, the twins assaulted a police officer who had spotted them and was trying to arrest them. They were initially held at the Tower of London (they were among the very last prisoners ever kept there) before being sent to Shepton Mallet military prison in Somerset and gaoled for a month awaiting court-martial. They ended up being gaoled in the Home Counties Brigade Depot gaol in Canterbury, Kent. Their behaviour there was so bad that in the end they were given a dishonourable discharge from the service; for the last few weeks of their imprisonment, when their fate was a certainty anyway, they tried to dominate the exercise area immediately outside their one man cells. They threw tantrums, upended their latrine bucket over a sergeant, similarly dumped a dixie (a large camp kettle[10]) full of hot tea on a guard, handcuffed another guard to the prison bars with a pair of stolen cuffs, and burned their bedding. Eventually they were discharged, but not before escaping from the guardhouse and being recaptured by the army one last time. The escape was executed when they were moved from a one man cell to a communal cell and they assaulted their guard with a china vase. Still, once recaptured and while awaiting transfer to civilian authority for crimes committed during their most recent period at large, they spent their last night in Canterbury drinking cider, eating crisps, and smoking cigarillos courtesy of the young National Servicemen who were acting as their guards.

[edit]Criminal careers

[edit]Nightclub owners

Their criminal record and dishonourable discharge ended their boxing careers. As a result, the twins turned to crime. They bought a run down local snooker club in Bethnal Green, where they started several protection rackets. By the end of the 1950s, the Krays were involved in hijackingarmed robbery and arson, through which they acquired a few clubs and other properties. In 1960 Ronnie Kray was incarcerated for 18 months on charges of running a protection racket and related threats, and while he was in prison, Peter Rachman, the head of a violent landlord operation, gave Reggie the Esmeralda’s Barn, a nightclub in Knightsbridge. This increased the Krays’ influence in the West End of London, with celebrities and famous people rather than East End criminals. They were assisted by banker Alan Cooper who wanted protection from the Krays’ rivals, the Richardsons, who were based in South London.[11]

The twins then had a turf war with Islington’s then infamous criminal twins, Brendan and Daniel Gallagher.

[edit]Celebrity status

In the 1960s, they were widely seen as prosperous and charming celebrity nightclub owners and were part of the Swinging London scene. A large part of their fame was due to their non-criminal activities as popular figures on the celebrity circuit, being photographed by David Bailey on more than one occasion; and socialised with lordsMPs, socialites and show business characters such as the actors George RaftJudy GarlandDiana DorsBarbara Windsor and singer Frank Sinatra.

“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 fucking untouchable…” – Ronnie Kray, in his autobiographical book, My Story.[12]

[edit]Lord Boothby and Tom Driberg

The Krays also came into the public eye when an exposé in the tabloid newspaper Sunday Mirror alleged that Ron had had a sexual relationship with Lord Boothby, a UK Conservative Partypolitician.[13] Although no names were printed, Boothby threatened to sue, the newspaper backed down, sacked its editor, apologised, and paid Boothby £40,000 in an out of court settlement.[14] As a result, other newspapers were less willing to uncover the Krays’ connections and criminal activities.

The police investigated the Krays on several occasions, but the twins’ reputation for violence meant witnesses were afraid to come forward to testify. There was also a political problem for both main parties. It was neither in the interests of the Conservative Party to press the police to end the Krays’ power lest the Boothby connection was again publicised and demonstrated, or those of the Labour Party because their MP Tom Driberg was also rumoured to have had a relationship with Ronnie.[15]

[edit]Frank Mitchell

The Blind Beggar pub in 2005

On 12 December 1966 the Krays assisted Frank Mitchell (nicknamed “The Mad Axeman”)[16] (not to be confused with Frankie Fraser – known as “Mad” Frankie Fraser, and contemporaneous, but allied with the rival Richardson gang) in escaping from Dartmoor Prison. Ronnie Kray had befriended Mitchell while they served time together in Wandsworth prison. Mitchell felt the authorities should review his case for parole, so Ronnie felt he would be doing him a favour by getting him out ofDartmoor, highlighting his case in the media and forcing the authorities to act. Once Mitchell was out of Dartmoor, the Krays held him at a friend’s flat in Barking Road. However, as a large man with a mental disorder, he was difficult to deal with and the only course of action was to get rid of him. His body has never been found and the Krays were acquitted of his murder.[16] Freddie Foreman, a former member of The Firm, in his autobiography Respect claimed that Mitchell was shot and the body disposed of at sea.

[edit]George Cornell

Ronnie Kray shot and killed George Cornell in the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel on 9 March 1966. Ronnie was drinking in another pub when he heard that Cornell was in the Blind Beggar. Taking Reggie’s driver John “Scotch Jack” Dickson and Ian Barrie, his right-hand man, he then killed Cornell. Just before Cornell died, he remarked “Well look who’s here.” There had been a confrontation at Christmas 1965 between the Krays and the Richardsons at the Astor Club, when Cornell, an associate of the Richardsons, referred to Ronnie as a “fat poof“. However, Ronnie denied this and said that the reason for the killing was because he gave him and Reggie threats. The result was a gang war between the two, and Kray associate Richard Hart was murdered at Mr. Smith’s Club in Catford on 8 March 1966. Ronnie avenged Hart’s death by shooting Cornell. “Mad” Frankie Fraser was taken to court for Hart’s murder but was found not guilty. A member of the Richardsons claimed that he saw him kicking Hart. Cornell was the only one to escape from the brawl in top condition so it is likely that Ronnie thought that he was involved in the murder. Owing to intimidation, witnesses would not co-operate with the police.[17]

[edit]Jack “the Hat” McVitie

The Krays’ criminal activities continued hidden behind their celebrity status and “legitimate” businesses. In October 1967, four months after the suicide of his wife Frances, Reggie was alleged to have been encouraged by his brother to kill Jack “the Hat” McVitie, a minor member of the Kray gang who had failed to fulfil a £1,500 contract paid to him in advance by the Krays to kill Leslie Payne. McVitie was lured to a basement flat in Evering Road, Stoke Newington on the pretence of a party. As he entered, Reggie Kray pointed a handgun at his head and pulled the trigger twice, but the gun failed to discharge. Ronnie Kray then held McVitie in a bearhug and Reggie Kray was handed a carving knife. He stabbed McVitie in the face and stomach, driving it deep into his neck, twisting the blade, continuing as McVitie lay on the floor dying.[18] Several other members of The Firm including the Lambrianou brothers (Tony and Chris) were convicted of this. In Tony’s biography, he claims that when Reggie was stabbing Jack, his liver came out and he had to flush it down the toilet. McVitie’s body has never been recovered.

[edit]Arrest and trial

When Inspector Leonard “Nipper” Read of Scotland Yard was promoted to the Murder Squad, his first assignment was to bring down the Kray twins. It was not his first involvement with Reg and Ron; during the first half of 1964 Read had been investigating their activities, but publicity and official denials surrounding allegations of Ron’s relationship with Boothby had made the evidence he collected useless. Read tackled the problem of convicting the twins with renewed activity in 1967, but frequently came up against the East End “wall of silence”, which discouraged anyone from providing information to the police.[citation needed]

Nevertheless, by the end of 1967 Read had built up evidence against the Krays. There were witness statements incriminating them, as well as other evidence, but none added up to a convincing case on any one charge.

Early in 1968 the twins used a man named Alan Bruce Cooper who hired and sent Paul Elvey to Glasgow to buy explosives for rigging a car bomb. Elvey was the radio engineer who put Radio Sutch, later renamed Radio City on the air in 1964. Police detained him in Scotland and he confessed he had been involved in three botched murder attempts. However, this evidence was weakened by Cooper, who claimed to be an agent for the United States Treasury Department investigating links between the American mafia and the Kray gang. The botched murders were his work, in an attempt to pin something on the Krays. Read tried using Cooper, who was also being employed as a source by one of Read’s superior officers, as a trap for Ron and Reg, but they stayed away from him. See pages 215–222 and pages 250 and 279 of ‘Nipper Read, the man who Nicked the Krays’, by Leonard Read with James Morton. Time-Warner paperbacks, London, 1992. ISBN 0-7515-3175-8.

[edit]Conviction and imprisonment

Eventually, a Scotland Yard conference decided to arrest the Krays on the evidence already collected, in the hope that other witnesses would be forthcoming once the Krays were in custody. On 8 May 1968,[19] the Krays and 15 other members of their “firm” were arrested. Many witnesses came forward now that the Krays’ reign of intimidation was over, and it was relatively easy to gain a conviction. The Krays and 14 others were convicted, with one member of the firm being acquitted. One of the firm members that provided a lot of the information to the police was arrested yet only for a short period. Out of the 17 official firm members, 16 were arrested and convicted. The twins’ defence, under their counsel John Platts-MillsQC, consisted of flat denials of all charges and the discrediting of witnesses by pointing out their criminal past. The judge, Mr Justice Melford Stevenson said: “In my view, society has earned a rest from your activities.”[20] Both were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 30 years for the murders of Cornell and McVitie, the longest sentences ever passed at the Old Bailey (Central Criminal Court, London) for murder.[21] Their brother Charlie was jailed for 10 years for his part in the murders.

[edit]Imprisonment

On 11 August 1982, under tight security, Ronnie and Reggie Kray were allowed to attend the funeral of their mother Violet, who had died of cancer the week before, but they were not allowed to attend the graveside service at Chingford Mount cemetery in East London where their mother was interred in the Kray family plot. The service was attended by celebrities including Diana Dors and underworld figures known to the Krays.[22] The twins did not ask to attend their father’s funeral when he died seven months later in March 1983: this was to avoid the publicity that had surrounded their mother’s funeral.

Ronnie was eventually once more certified insane and lived the remainder of his life in Broadmoor HospitalCrowthorne, dying on 17 March 1995 of a massive heart attack, aged 61. His funeral on 29 March 1995 was a huge event with people lining the streets.

Reggie Kray was a Category A prisoner, denied almost all liberties and not allowed to mix with other prisoners. However, in his later years, he was downgraded to Category C and transferred toNorfolk‘s Wayland Prison.

In 1985, officials at Broadmoor Hospital discovered a business card of Ron’s, which prompted an investigation that revealed the twins – incarcerated at separate institutions – along with their older brother, Charlie, and another accomplice who was not in prison, were operating a “lucrative bodyguard and ‘protection’ business for Hollywood stars”. Documents released under Freedom of Information laws revealed that officials were concerned about this operation, called Krayleigh Enterprises, but believed there was no legal basis to shut it down. Documentation of the investigation reveals Frank Sinatra hired 18 bodyguards from Krayleigh Enterprises in 1985.[23]

During incarceration, Reggie became a born again Christian. After serving more than the recommended 30 years he was sentenced to in March 1969, he was finally freed from Wayland on 26 August 2000, at almost 67-years-old. He was released on compassionate grounds as a result of having inoperable bladder cancer.[24] The final weeks of his life were spent with his wife Roberta, whom he had married while in Maidstone prison in July 1997, in a suite at the Townhouse Hotel at Norwich, having left Norwich hospital on 22 September 2000. On 1 October 2000, Reggie Kray died in his sleep. Ten days later, he was buried alongside his brother Ronnie, in Chingford cemetery.

Elder brother Charlie Kray was released in 1975 after serving seven years, but returned to prison in 1997 for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine worth £69m in an undercover drugs sting. He died of natural causes in prison on 4 April 2000, six months before Reggie’s death.[25]

[edit]Personal lives

Despite negative cultural attitudes of the time, Ronnie was openly bisexual, evidenced by his book My Story and a confession to writer Robin McGibbon on The Kray Tapes where he states, “I’m bisexual, not gay. Bisexual.” He also planned on marrying a lady called Monica in the 1960s but was arrested before he had the chance. This is mentioned in Reggie’s book Born Fighter.[26] Reggie once had a one night stand with Barbara Windsor,[27][28] whose EastEnders character Peggy Mitchell was reputedly based on Violet Kray (e.g. her matriarchy over two thuggish sons)[citation needed].

In an interview with author John Pearson, Ronnie indicated a strong identification with Gordon of Khartoum, explaining: “Gordon was like me, ‘omosexual, and he met his death like a man. When it’s time for me to go, I hope I do the same.”[29]

[edit]Controversies

This section contains weasel words: vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information. Such statements should be clarified or removed(January 2011)

Some[who?] believe the Krays’ sentences were harsher than deserved and that they were made an example of.[30] The Kray twins were tried as separate, responsible adults, although it was argued[by whom?] that Ronnie dominated his brother and was a paranoid schizophrenic.[5]

There was a long-running campaign, with some minor celebrity support, to have the twins released from prison, but successive Home Secretaries vetoed the idea, largely on the grounds that the Krays’ prison records were both marred by violence towards other inmates. The campaign gathered momentum after the release of a film based on their lives called The Krays in 1990. Produced by Ray Burdis, it starred ex-members of Spandau Ballet brothers Martin Kemp, who played the role of Reggie, and Gary Kemp, who played Ronnie.

Some[who?] argue that Reggie’s several attempted murders, and the murder of Jack McVitie, were carried out as a result of Ronnie’s prompting, and to show that he was equal to Ronnie’s earlier murders. Reggie wrote: “I seem to have walked a double path most of my life. Perhaps an extra step in one of those directions might have seen me celebrated rather than notorious.”[31] Others, however, point to Reggie’s violent prison record when he was being detained separately from Ronnie and argue that in reality, the twins’ temperaments were little different.

Reggie’s marriage to Frances Shea in 1965 lasted eight weeks, although the marriage was never formally dissolved. An inquest came to the conclusion that she committed suicide in 1967,[32] but in 2002 an ex lover of Reggie Kray came forward to allege that Frances was actually murdered by a jealous Ronnie. Bradley Allardyce spent three years in Maidstone prison with Reggie and explained, “I was sitting in my cell with Reg and it was one of those nights where we turned the lights down low and put some nice music on and sometimes he would reminisce. He would get really deep and open up to me. He suddenly broke down and said ‘I’m going to tell you something I’ve only ever told two people and something I’ve carried around with me’ – something that had been a black hole since the day he found out. He put his head on my shoulder and told me Ronnie killed Frances. He told Reggie what he had done two days after.”[33]

When Ronnie spent three years in prison, Reggie is said to have turned the “firm” around, putting it on a sound financial footing, and removing many of the more violent and less appealing aspects, if not actually turning it legal. Some[who?] speculate that without his brother, Reggie could have turned the “firm” into one of the largest and most successful criminal organisations in Europe; however, the Kray business was always built on their reputation for savage violence, and it was Ronnie who was principally responsible. The twins were never able to cope well apart.[citation needed]

In 2009 a British television documentary, the Gangster and the Pervert Peer, was aired which revealed that Ronnie Kray was in fact a male rapist (commonly referred to in criminal circles as a “nonce case”). The programme also went on to detail his relationship with Tory Lord Bob Boothby as well as an ongoing Daily Mirror investigation into Lord Boothby’s dealings with the Kray brothers. [2]

[edit]In popular culture

This “In popular culture” section may contain minor or trivial references. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject’s impact on popular culture rather than simply listing appearances, and remove trivial references. (August 2011)

[edit]In film

  • Performance (1970), directed by Nicolas Roeg, featured a London gangster named Harry Flowers (played by Johnny Shannon) who surrounded himself with muscle magazines and rent boys; the character and his milieu were inspired by Ronnie Kray.
  • Villain (1971) starred Richard Burton as sadistic, homosexual London gang leader Vic Dakin, a character modelled on Ronnie Kray.
  • The Long Good Friday (1980) used the Kray Twins as inspiration for the protagonist Harold ShandBob Hoskins, who played Shand, reportedly received a letter from the Krays in prison congratulating him on his presentation of a London gangster in the film.

[edit]In literature

Many books address the Kray brothers’ reign including several written by one or both twins. Those most critically acclaimed include:

[edit]Books by the Kray brothers

[edit]Books by other authors

  • The Kray twins are mentioned frequently in Jake Arnott‘s first novel, The Long Firm (1999), wherein the main character, Harry Starks, is a fictional homosexual East End gangster in the 1960s who has a criminal career similar to the Krays’.
  • Carol Ann Duffy has written a poem entitled “The Kray Sisters”, in which she changes the story of the Kray twins into a women’s format. There are clear links to the original story, with characters in the poem such as “Cannonball Vi”, a clear mix of the twins’ grandfather and mother.
  • The Balvak Twins, who like the Krays, run organised crime in the West End, are recurring antagonists for Detective Sergeant Suzie Mountford in a series of police procedural novels by John Gardner. However, the Balvaks’ activities take place during World War II rather than the 1960s.
  • The Kray twins are mentioned in the second part of Tu Rostro Mañana, a novel by Javier Marías. One of the characters refers to them in order to explain why he carries a sword in his overcoat.
  • The Cult of Violence: The Untold Story of the Krays, by John Pearson (2002) – ISBN 0752847-94-5
  • The Profession of Violence: Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins, by John Pearson – First published in 1972 by Weidenfeld and Nicolson
  • In J.K. Rowling‘s Harry Potter series, the main villain, Lord Voldemort is so feared that most wizards and witches refer to him as “You-Know-Who” or “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”. According to Rowling, this was inspired by the Kray twins’ very names being taboo.[35]
  • The Kray twins feature many times in Addict by Stephen Smith, a book about Smith’s struggle with drugs.
  • Charlie Bronson, “Britain’s Most Violent Prisoner”, became a trusted friend of the Kray twins in prison and wrote The Krays and Me: Blood, Honour and Respect. Doing Porridge With the Krays. He also included a poem about the Krays on the last page of his workout book Solitary Fitness.
  • Ghoul by Michael Slade makes many references to the Kray twins as British police officers struggle to solve a slew of homocides in London.

[edit]In music

A number of artists mention the Kray twins in songs:

[edit]In radio

  • In episode 3 of the sixth series of Old Harry’s Game, titled “Murderers”, the Kray twins are part of a symposium of murderers called together by Satan in order to get some insight into a murderer’s mindset. In an unwise moment of anger, Thomas Crimp calls Ronnie a “big Cockney poof”, which begins an attack on Crimp by the Krays and turns into a free-for-all fight forcing Satan to call for back-up.

[edit]In television

  • Ronnie Kray had a mention in series 2, episode 6 of The Armstrong and Miller Show in the song, “When You’re Gay”.
  • The Comic Strip team did their take on the Krays with Alexei Sayle in the role of both twins as the Moss Brothers, Carl and Sterling, in Didn’t You Kill My Brother?
  • The long-running TV drama EastEnders has featured a gangland organisation called The Firm. The characters Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell are modelled on The Krays, hence their names. As Reggie is a male name, it was changed to Roxy for the EastEnders role of one of the Mitchell sisters.
  • Kate Kray – the ex-wife of Ronnie Kray – showed the glamorous yet restricted lives of women who married gangsters in the documentary Gangsters’ Wives.
  • The time-travelling hero of Goodnight Sweetheart has several passing encounters with the Kray twins as children in East-End London of the 1940s.
  • In episode 3 of the second series of the BBC programme Monkey Dust, a minor character who frequently marries criminals, has her surnames read out in a marriage ceremony to Ivan Dobsky. Two of these surnames are “Kray” (among surnames of other infamous criminals).
  • The Krays were the inspiration behind the Monty Python “Piranha Brothers” sketch. This sketch was rooted in fact; even the tale of nailing someone to the floor is based on the murder of Jack “the Hat” McVitie, who was pinned to the floor with a long knife. Inspector Leonard “Nipper” Read became “Superintendent Harry ‘Snapper’ Organs”.
  • In the TV series Top Gear, during a challenge to decide the best van, each presenter was timed to see how long he would take to be caught by a police car driven by The Stig. Here, James Maywas called James Kray in light of the comical criminal challenge.
  • The British TV series, Waking the Dead, featured a two-parter called “Deathwatch” in which the cold-case detectives investigated a murder related to a pair of East-End gangster brothers from the early 60s called the Suttons, who were clearly based on the Krays: one was described as psychotic and the photos used to depict them were similar to those of the Krays.
  • In 1991, a children’s TV puppet show called The Winjin Pom featured two crow siblings called Ronnie and Reggie (the “Crows”) who were always after the goodies to steal their magical camper van named after the show title, but always failed.
  • Association with (or former association with) the Krays is also seen as a sign of prestige in many social circles, or an indication of Cockney authenticity. This attitude was spoofed in the British television series The Young Ones with Robbie Coltrane as a bouncer claiming “…and I was at Violet’s funeral”, a reference to the twins’ mother.
  • Whitechapel II, a 2010 ITV drama series in which supposed descendants of the Kray twins copy their crimes.[38]
  • Hale and Pace, a UK comedy double act, regularly performs as ‘The Management’ where they dress in the black suit and tie style of bouncers. Their conversations are delivered in a monotone stereotypical East London gangster accent. Throughout the dialogue they both refer to each other as ‘Ron’.
  • On the Final episode of The Inbetweeners, Jay tells simon that his dad is playing Poker with Danny Dyer and The Krays, which Will says Aren’t The Krays dead.
  • Reginald Kray was mentioned in “Russell Brand’s Ponderland S02E03 Education” in a joke as comparison to a school truant’s mother.
  • In Only Fools And Horses the Driscall brothers are portraited as the Kray twins.

[edit]In theatre

  • Peter Straughan‘s play, Bones, features a character who claims to be Reggie Kray and begins to heavily influence the actions of the other characters.

[edit]In video games

  • In The Getaway, a gangster named Charlie Jolson says that he used to run London “with real men like Ronnie and Reggie”.
  • In The Getaway: Black Monday Danny introduces Arthur, the cleaner of the operation, saying “He used to work for the Krays ya know.”
  • Grand Theft Auto Mission Pack #1: London, 1969 features a pair of twin gangsters named Albert and Archie Crisp who are a reference to the Kray twins.
  • Privateer 2: The Darkening features a mission in which the player has to deal with a pair of gangsters named the Bray Twins.

[edit]In science and engineering

For many years the British Met Office in Bracknell ran a pair of Cray-1 supercomputers named Ronnie and Reggie.[39]