Reginald ‘Reggie’ Kray and his twin brother Ronald ‘Ronnie’ Kray were born on the 24 th October 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 frenzy.
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 protection rackets
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 nightclub owners
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 Sinatra
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
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 12 th 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, Ronnie Kray‘.
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 8 th May 1968.
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 murders.
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.