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Reginald ‘Reggie’ Kray and his twin
brother Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Kray
were born on the 24th
1933 and are known as two of
the most famous perpetrators of
organised crime in East End
London in the 1950’s and 60’s.
Ronald suffered from paranoid
schizophrenia-the most common
type of schizophrenia, where
they suffer from paranoia,
delusions and hallucinations.
They were involved in armed
robberies, arson and blackmail
as well as violent assaults,
torture and even murder.
• The twins had were born to Charlie and Violet Kray, and had an older
brother Charlie and sister Violet, who died in infancy.
• The twins at 3 years old contracted diphtheria but recovered. However
at age 9 Ronald almost died after a fight with his brother from which he
suffered a head injury.
• Their father Charlie was called into National Service in 1939 but went
into hiding travelling the country as a trader and avoiding the law.
• An early indicator of their love of violence was there love of boxing,
inspired from their grandfather, and turned professional at the age of 19.
• They managed to narrowly avoid prison several times in 1952, and were
called up for national service in this year. They deserted several times,
and were re captured, initially being two of the last prisoners to be held
in the tower of London, before going on to be held in various other
prisons across the country following repeat escapes and other offences.
• Their behaviour in prison was appalling, for example assaulting a guard
with a china vase and on one occasion chaining a guard with stolen
handcuffs and burning their bedding.
• It was also around this time when Ronald’s mental illness began to show.
He would refuse to eat, shave only one side of his face and suffer wild
mood swings, sitting motionless for hours before exploding into a violent
• Their criminal record meant the
end of their boxing careers
• They bought a run down local
snooker club in Bethnal Green,
where they started several
• They soon also became involved
in hijacking, robberies and arson
through which they acquired
more properties and clubs.
• In 1960 Reggie Kray was
incarcerated for 18 months on
charges of running a protection
racket and related threats
• In the 60’s they were beginning
to be seen as charming celebrity
• A large part of their fame was
due to their non criminal
activities such as being
photographed with David Bailey
• They mingled with celebrities
such as George Raft, Judy
Garland, Diana Dors, Barbara
Windsor and singer Frank
Among Reggie Kray's most
treasured possessions was
this signed photograph of a
young Fern Britton.
"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 was rumoured to have relationships with Conservative
MP Lord Boothby and Labour MP Driberg.
• Ronnie Kray shot and killed George Cornell in the Blind Beggar
in Whitechapel on 9 March 1966 as a result of a brawl the
previous Christmas, where Cornell allegedly called Ronnie a ‘fat
poof’. Ronnie denied this as said that Cornell’s murder was to
avenge the death of his associate Richard Hart.
• On the 12th
December 1966 the twins assisted Frank Mitchell
(nicknamed ‘Mad Axeman’) to escape from Dartmoor prison.
Once Mitchell was out of Dartmoor, the Krays’ held him at a
friend's flat in Barking Road.
• In 1967, 4 months after the suicide of his wife Frances, Reggie
was encouraged to part take in the killing of Jack ‘the hat’
McVite. He was a small member of the Kray gang and had
failed to fulfil a £1,500 contract with the brothers.
Tool of the trade: Ronnie
Kray's Brevet revolver is one
of the lots up for auction
The red boxing gloves that once belonged to Reggie Kray have been signed
with the word 'goombah', a mafia term meaning two people are one. They are
being sold with a pair of white silk boxer's shorts.
Kate Kray's 2.5 carat
engagement ring is engraved
with the words: 'Marry me,
Arrest and Imprisonment
• Inspector Leonard "Nipper" Read of Scotland Yard slowly built up a case
against the Krays’ and eventually lead to their arrest on the 8th
• 15 other members of the gang were also arrested.
• Many witnesses came forward now that the Krays’ reign of intimidation
was over, and it was relatively easy to gain a conviction.
• Despite being represented by a QC, they received life imprisonment and
a non parole period of 30 years- the longest sentences ever passed at the
Old Bailey for murder.
• Their brother Charile also received 10 years for his contributions to the
• Ronnie was eventually certified insane and lived the
remainder of his life in Broadmoor Hospital, dying on 17th
March 1995 of a 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.
• He spent the final weeks of his life were spent with his wife
Roberta, whom he had married while in Maidstone prison in
July 1997, after being released on compassionate grounds,
with inoperable cancer. On 1 October 2000, Reggie Kray
died in his sleep.
• 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.