East London has always been a den of thieves and it’s seen its fair share of villains, but none more notorious than the Kray Twins – Reggie and Ronnie - even now 40 years after they went sent down. Ronnie Kray said in his biography: in the sixties, “me and my brother ruled London. We were fucking untouchable,” he also said they made millions… both claims are complete bollocks!
When they were sent down, they were investigated for tax evasion – the Inland Revenue couldn’t find any of their bees and neither could the Krays, that’s why they paid Jack “the Hat” McVitie £1,500 to kill their former business manager Leslie Payne, who had ripped them off. Truth be told, the Krays went to jail potless and died potless. Their so called empire consisted of a few moody clubs they didn’t own and a string of young teenage rent boys they were pimping out to the aristocracy and politicians. They got drummed out of the West End by the Richardsons. They never pulled off any bank jobs and the two murders they did, they got sent down for. As gangsters they were a complete waste of space.
No one in the East End was scared of the Krays on their own – they were a couple of overweight, gay midgets, who couldn’t fight their way out of wet paper bag - the only reason anyone ever feared them was because of who they were associated with. They picked on the weak and vulnerable and wouldn’t touch anyone hard enough to fight back, unless they were mobbed up. They also stayed clear of half the clubs in the East End. And as for Ronnie Kray claim that he ran London in the 60s, it was the Italians, not the Krays, who running most the West End clubs and the drugs trade. The Twins were a couple of no-account mugs, who got fleeced by some griffter pretending to be in the American Mafia, and their rivals, the Richardsons, could have bought and sold ‘em 30 times over.
The Krays were small time. The clubs they supposedly owned, like the Double R club, Esmeralda’s Barn, the Wellington Way Club, the Kentucky, El Morocco and the Regal Billiards Hall, were all lease holds. Ronnie bragged that he forced Christine Keeler and Mandy-Rice Davies ponce, the Jewish multimillion slum landlord Peter Rachman, to hand over the Esmeralda’s Barn shortly before his death. Rachman saw Ronnie Kray comming a mile away. The Esmeralda’s Barn was owned by his friend Stefan de Faye, he wanted some mug to front the club and sink his money into it. That’s where the Krays came in. It went belly up. To be fair they did acquire some of the clubs through violence, like the Hideway (they changed it’s name to El Morocco) but they still didn’t make any bunce out of it.
And as murderers they were no better, Reg Kray has confessed to having been responsible for the murder of one of his rentboys Edward “Mad Teddy” Smith, but the only two murders that the Krays are known to have committed, were the two that they got life for: the murder of George Cornell in March 1966 and Jack “the Hat” McVitie in October 1967. The only reason the Krays survived as long as they did is because they were blackmailing the Wilson government.
In 1963, the Krays entrapped Robert John Graham Boothby, Baron Boothby of Buchan and Rattray Head, and his friend former Labour party chairman Tom Driberg, with two of their rent boys, Leslie Holt and “Mad” Teddy Smith. Holt ended up murdered and Smith, who Reggie claims to have killed, disappeared. In July 1964, the Sunday Mirror ran a story with the headline “Peer and a Gangster: Yard Probe”, and alleged that Boothby and Ronnie were involved in a gay relationship. Wilson had, Gerald Gardiner, QC, who became Lord Chancellor in that year future Labour peer, solicitor Arnold Goodman, represent Boothby in a libel action. Joseph Simpson, the Commissioner for Police, denied the Yard was carrying out an investigation. Although, Detective Superintendent John E Cummings, the commander of the Yard’s Intelligence section, had ordered an investigation, and Simpson ordered him to shelve it at the request of the government. Boothby won a record out-of-court settlement of £40,000 and a grovelling public apology, even though the allegation was true and government records now prove that the gvoiernment knew it was at the time. Kray biographer, John Pearson, writing in the Independent on Sunday, also claims that the Peer and the MP engaged in gay sex orgies with children and that Boothby had a fondness for boys shitting on him, and the Krays had a compromising photograph of Boothby and his memiors.
The Krays could have been put away in 1965 before they committed either murder, Ronnie had previously been certfied insane, they could have had him sectioned, which he was after he was convicted of the Cornell murder, and with Ronnie stuck in the nuthouse for the rest of his natural, Reggie wouldn’t have lasted five minutes. You’ve also got to ask why Ronnie Kray wasn’t remanded after shooting George Cornell dead on the 9 March 1966 in front of witnesses in the Blind Beggar in Mile End Road. Although no documents have been released to prove the government were protecting the Krays from criminal charges, they had some remarkable luck with the law for a pair of nonces, ponces and mugs.