THE Kray Twins always had one rule for prison visits that they always kept, an ex-pal of the notorious gangsters has revealed.
Friend of the notorious brothers Steve Wraith has revealed an odd quirk they had when talking to people who were visiting them while locked up in Broadmoor.
He told Shaun Attwood’s podcast that they would always sit in the middle of the room so they could keep an eye on what was going on at all times.
Shaun said: “As always it was in the middle of the room, both Ronnie and Reg would like to sit in the middle of the visiting room so they could be kings of all they surveyed… Look around and see who else was in the room.”
He added: “Ron would always arrive late and always leave early. He’d leave early to beat the rush.
“When he came he was always very smart. Always had a lovely made-to-measure suit on, usually pin-striped. Nice silk tie, gold tie pin. He’d have his boots or shoes on. He’d have his pinky ring on. Always had a nice watch on. White hankerchief in his top pocket. Gold-rimmed glasses. He just looked every inch a gangster.”
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Ronnie and Reggie Kray became notorious after ruthlessly ruling over an East End gangland empire in the 1950s and 60s.
The identical twins were born within ten minutes of each other on October 24, 1933, in Haggerston, East London.
They were born to parents Charles David Kray and Violet Annie Lee and grew up in the East End with their brother Charles.
In 1952 they began their national service, but they were too wild for the military.
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After assaulting the corporal in charge and several police officers, they managed to get a dishonourable discharge by throwing tantrums, dumping their latrine bucket over a sergeant and even handcuffing a guard to their prison bars.
With a criminal record their boxing careers were brought to an abrupt end, and they instead turned to a life of crime.
In the early 50s the brothers started their gang, The Firm, which would shape their criminal activities.
Under The Firm umbrella they were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, assaults and murder over close to two decades.
Their brother Charlie provided the business brainpower behind the operations, while the twins became the public face of The Firm.
UK’s most notorious gangsters and criminals
- Notorious prisoner Charlie Bronson
- The Kray Twins from London's East End
- Former gangster Marvin Herbert
- Ex-armed robber Vic Dark
- Former gangland enforcer Brian Cockerill
- Notorious British criminal Carlton Leach
- Paul Sykes – known as Britain's hardest prisoner
- Kevin Lane – given a life sentence for murder
- Convicted murderer Tony Argent
- Former drug-smuggler Chet Sandhu
- Fearless UK hardman Lee Duffy
- Career criminal Curtis Warren
- Gangleader Charlie Richardson
- A-Team leader Terry Adams
One of their first moves was to buy a run-down snooker club in Mile End, where they started several protection rackets.
Their hands-on approach to business landed them in trouble, with Ronnie convicted of GBH in the late 1950s.
They moved to the West End to run a gambling club, Esmerelda's Barn, in Knightsbridge, in the 1960s.
They were widely seen as prosperous nightclub owners and part of the Swinging London scene, even persuading a peer to join them on the board to give the club a veneer of respectability.
The twins' fortunes changed when Ronnie Kray shot and killed George Cornell, a member of rival gang the Richardsons, at the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel.
No one was convicted for the 1966 killing at the time.
Then, in December of that year, the Krays helped Frank Mitchell escape from Dartmoor prison.
Reggie was allegedly encouraged by his brother in October 1967 to kill Jack "the Hat" McVitie, a minor member of the Kray gang who had failed to fulfil a £1,000 contract to kill Leslie Payne.
They lured him to a flat in Stoke Newington on pretence of a party.
There Reggie stabbed McVitie in the face and stomach and killed him, driving the blade into his neck.
In the same year Detective Leonard "Nipper" Read reopened his case against them. He had met with a "wall of silence" when investigating the Krays before.
However, by the end of 1967 Read had built up enough evidence against the Krays, and on May 8, 1968, the Krays and 15 members of their gang were arrested.
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Ronnie remained in Broadmoor Hospital until his death on March 17, 1995, after suffering from a heart attack at the age of 61.
Reggie was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000, eight and a half weeks before his death from cancer.
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