If you were born before the 1940's you will have heard of the notorious Kray Twins. In the 1950's and 60's they were perpetrators of organized crime in the East End of London. Reggie and Ronnie were liable for a number of crimes including arson, armed robbery and even murder. By the 1960's they became local celebrities of the time and socialized with film stars, lords and even MPs of the time.
The twins mother Violet wave birth on the 24th October 1933 in Hoxten in East London, Reggie being older by about 10 minutes. Their father Charlie was a scrap gold dealer who went on to become a traveling salesman. The twins went to Wood Close School and then on to Daniel Street School. As children they were bullies and always intimidating people.
From an early age their grandfather Jimmy Lee was a strong influence on their life which led them to get into boxing. Around the time this was a popular activity for working class boys. From a young age the twins had sibling rivalry which helped them achieve success in the boxing world.
As they grew into adults they were known for the trouble they caused and people would always keep away from them. Their reputation spread fast which attracted other criminals into their gang. They avoided being sent to prison a number of times in the 1950's but at times their evil life would catch up with them.
They were called up to do national service which was a mandatory government service during the Second World War, but declined several times. Around that time prisoners were often held at the Tower of London and the twins were one of the last prisoner every to be kept there.
They were aware of crime from an early age as their father Charlie was a military deserter. By the time the twins were 21 they founded the Kray Gang. They formed a so called protection business and bought a share in a West End club.
Ronnie was sent to prison for aggravated assault but was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and moved to a mental hospital. Reggie helped him escape by swapping clothes with him. He was recaptured and sent back to prison declared as sane. During this time Reggie opened a nightclub and ran it with his older brother. Once Ronnie was out he joined the brothers in the running of the club and their life of drug dealing, loan sharking and dealing with stolen property.
The wealthy would attend parties' held by the Krays and they would often get photographed with famous film stars and musicians. Ronnie was an open gay man which at the time was quite shocking.
As their lives became increasingly violent the police were homing in on them. It was in 1966 that Ronnie murdered George Cornell who was a hit man from a rival gang. Then Reggie murdered an associate for stealing drugs profit. A couple of years later the twins were both charged and convicted of murder and sent to prison. They continued their so called 'protection business' behind bars.
Ronnie lived out the last days of his life at Broadmore Hospital as he was again certified insane. He died on the 17th March in 1995 aged 61 after a heart attack. Reggie became a born again Christian and was freed from prison agreed 67 on compassionate grounds due to terminal cancer of the bladder. It was the year 2000 and Reggie died on the 1st October.
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Paula A Jones