The Krays Twins: Nonces, Ponces & Mugs

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.

40 thoughts on “The Krays Twins: Nonces, Ponces & Mugs

  1. It was just after the Profumo affair that brought down the Macmillan government. John Profumo the Minister for War was caught banging the granny out of Christine Keeler, a brass, who was also doing Yevgeny Ivanov, a Russian spy. If the Public found out that two senior politicians, one on either side of the House like to be shat on and fuck young boys up the arse in orgies with known gangsters, who knows where it might have ended. We have the same thing with New Labour, which is full of paedophiles.

    The government didn’t give a rat’s arse about the Krays poncing off young boys and killing a couple of East End villains but giving interviews to the media and getting John Pearson to write their biography was taking liberties.

  2. It’s interesting isn’t it that the same media that glorifies the Krays, are forever criticising gang, gun and knife culture. Talk about hypocrisy!

    • Living off immoral earnings, as they used to call pimping. Five years too late but there you go.

  3. Shouldn’t that be dough? I thought that the Krays killed Frank Mitchell too? If there was one thing that the Krays excelled out, it was disposing of bodies!

    I agree though, very much overrated by the press.

  4. Haha – Great read, thanks Rob.

    So many cock-er-nee wannabe urban plastic gangsters idolise these two fools. Some interesting info I’d not read before.

    The market for books, films (Nick Love etc) and general media (Ross ‘Kunt’ Kemp – I’d love to hear your opinon on him!, Danny Dyer etc ) associated with ‘gangsters’ is so huge I guess the mythology is good for business. We all know where the real gangsters, nonces and ponces congregate, and it ain’t in the East End!

    @ Heather

    I think the second/third definitions in application here

  5. Interesting post Rob. I’m curious to know what it was that inspired you to trite this post. Nosey, arn’t I!

    I didn’t know R&R were involved in the Profumo affari, but as time goes on, it seems like EVERYTHING was connected to that thing. The ponce (Haather I think poncing means gay pimping – although I’m not actually 100% sure myslef) slant is also new to me.

    Not just in London BZ. In the midlands I happened to bump into some guy who I sussed was a bit of a petty criminal. I wasn’t able to shake him off too easily (strewth – It’s just occured to me he probably thought I was some – must have been the studs!). Wthin minutes he statred going on about R&R and how great they were. He said they were his heros. What a complete twat.

    I remember watching a proggy about the KT’s and they said people were afraid to shop them ‘cos one of them savagely stabbed some guy in the face(!) in an arguement with Ro or Re was arguing with at the time. (It might have been in a pub??). Word got around (so the proggy led me to believe) they weren’t to be messed with.

    Getting 2 j(sh)ags Johnny P to write a biography about them – what the hell is going on therE?

    Do the media idolise them? I dunno but wouldn’t be surprized. I usually ignore KT stuff, but Robs cutting posts always deserve a read. That bagpuss idiot – Barbera Windsor, always bragging about how good they were. Eeewww.

    They seem to promote Ronnie Biggs too. You can bet your (increasingly worthless) bottom d0llar that if Biggs had been a Muslim, He would be rendered around the world, for a spot of the old torture (tiffin is so passe), The Brits are good at that.

  6. @ heather

    Ponce can mean many things, but here it’s being used to mean pimp, and poncing out mean pimping and poncing off means living off. Brass means whore.

  7. Apologies for any repetition but my comments don’t seem to be appearing!

    Nice post Rob, I agree that they are over rated and media hyped.

    BZ, quite right. Just look at Wannabe Gangster Dave Courtney, who claims to have been an associate of the Krays, even though he was a child then they were incarcerated.

    The Krays are little more than good PR.

  8. @ lwtc

    Barbra Windsor had an affair with Charlie Kray, it was apparently quite serious but it is sickening that these people who idolise them fail to mention that they were child rapists who pimped out underage boys.

    If the Krays had been Muslim, instead of Jewish, gangsters, they would have been called terrorists. it’s also interesting that when people say they only hurt they’re own, they don’t know what that expression really meant. The Krays started off worked for Jack Spot, who terrorised East End Jews.

  9. Heimlich

    The Krays didn’t kill Mitchell, that was Freddie Foreman, so was Ginger Marks, and it was Foreman who disposed of the bodies, not the Krays. But if you want to talk about disposing of bodies, then you want to talk about the A team. They worked out that some buildings cost too much to rip down.

    Dave Courtney might be a fucking chancer but strictly speaking he was a Kray associate cos he paid to use their name. During ’89 my old man and uncles were running illegal raves, Courtney was around then and he had a decent size crew in the mid 90s but I don’t much about him, other than he ran a few doors.

  10. lwtc

    Thanks mate. I think you’ve already ready sussed the motivation for this post, there’s a lot of similarities with gay Gordon and the nonce squad, and like Steph said all the media spin about gang, knife, gun culture, ethnic minorties and Muslims, when these same cunts can’t get enough of the nonce bros.

  11. BZ

    Cheers, I hate all of that. First of all, to me a Cockney is nayone who speaks with a Cockney, which is half of West London, Essex, Kent, Surrey and Reading. My cousins who live in Romford are just as Cockney as me, maybe more so cos my old dear was an illegal immigrant from Sicily, she only got her passport when she married my old man in ’72. Most the fuckers living the East End now don’t have Cockney accents.

    As for the plastic gangsters, they’re a joke. My family ran illegal raves and doors in London, I’ve run a few doors in London, Rome and Ibiza, and ran a bodyguard firm. Most of these “gangsters” were in the same industry. They weren’t blaggers or drug smuggling, they were bouncers and minders.

    You’re dead right about where the nonces and ponces congregate, in Westminster and I don’t mean Soho.

  12. I quite possibly went to your peeps’ do’s back in 88-89. Any North London events?

    The fact that there’s not been a film (to my knowledge, please correct me if wrong!) or (again, TMK) a cottage book industry about the Richardsons speaks volumes, in my opinion.

  13. That is a really interesting post, thank you Rob.

    I once wanted to be a gangster, until I met a couple , then promptly changed my mind.

    • It is sad to read a comment like this.I believe there is a massive difference between a real criminal and a gangster.The criminals at the higher echelons that use cunning guile and force to steal off the banks,then have the problem of having it stolen by gangsters,i never had any respect for any gangster.,except maybe jimmy moody and paul ferris.They are just bullies that think they are criminals surrounded by yes men,legends in their own lunchtimes
      The other point i want to make isthis,i believe the british underworld is simply run by the freemasons through,m15,and the most potent weapon is setting up paedophile rings to compromise politicians and such like.It is the secret they strive to hide the most

  14. Heather

    I know most of the faces in the security industry and I know quite a few football hooligans but most the villains are doing time or two-bob, no-account mugs. They’ve never really impressed me. When my Grandad was assassinating and kidnapping people in Italy, he was fighting against a fascist state, he wasn’t doing it for the wedge and the flash cars.

  15. omg

    Cheers mate, most gangsters end up fucking men in Parkhurst. Frankie Fraser did over 40 years inside and has got fuck all to show for it.

  16. BZ

    I think most of them were held in fields off the M25 and M4, they were also working the Reading rock festival and the Milton Keynes superbowl in the early 90s.

    I think there has been a film about the Richardsons but I don’t know whether they were involved with it and I didn’t see it.

  17. Ah, maybe not then. I was thinking maybe Hackney, Dalston, Mile End etc.

    If you remember the Richardsons film I’d love to know. Illegal download of course.

    Can’t be long before Danny Dyer is in the biopic, directed by Nick love shurely?

  18. Top read Rob, poetic even.

    Reminds me of a few people I worked with who were about their age. Lol, one bloke used to brag about getting his arse kicked by them in school! Nice claim to fame..

    Ive never really appreciated why some people get off on, or are fascinated by people who are, for all intents and purposes , horrible shitty people but I guess, that nice funny and good to be around doesn’t really sell things now does it? People want to read about this stuff, and it does provoke a reaction.

    It’s also a nice little earner for anyone who can look the part and say the right things, to the right people, in the right way. Media deals, that whole ‘underworld’ pile of old bollocks type thing.

    If anything it’s used as a smokescreen for what really goes on in society; the real crime, the real gangsters who happen to front up this thing we call government pulling apart communities in the name of progress, rumping people who really don’t need rumping whilst those who could do with a swift kick in the cobblers are left to their own devices continuing to rake it all in and live a life of indifferent opulence.

  19. Cheers geezer. I’ve heard loads of mugs bang on about how they knew the Krays and how wonderful they were. It’s a load of old bollocks but it used to sells newspapers and they played their part. Personally, I can’t see the fascination with gangsters either. They’re normally a bunch of mugs, who end up doing a lot of bird and dying potless. Like you said there most the serious villains are in the government, kicking off wars and robbing us blind.

  20. Thieves ponces as well .if they got to hear someone had a tickle “earner” they would be round for their whack aaaargh ask the proper thieves of that era!

  21. I have photos of the Twins in New York that disprove Rob’s statement “The Krays had no connections to the New York Mafia”, but I can’t find a way of posting them on here,,,

    • Do you read the replies? Because you’ve already got two answers. And as I said earlier a photo of Ronnie sitting next to the Gallo brothers doesn’t prove they had connections to the New York Mafia. There are photos of half of Hollywood in the company of Joe Colombo but that doesn’t mean they were carrying out hits for for him on the side. No one has ever produced any evidence that the Kray’s were involved in any criminal conspiracy with the New York Cosa Nostra. They were a pair of bent two-bobs.

      • The photos prove that you are wrong in our statement “The Krays had no connections to the New York Mafia, and besides why would the authorities give a shit about the New York mafia, when the real deal was already in London at the time” and my photos will prove it. until I can prove you wrong with the photographic evidence I won’t take part in this debate which is about the accuracy of your postings.

        I was around at the time and I very much doubt if you were.

      • @ Mike
        Stop lying. You have not posted a link, despite being told three times how to. If you have a link post it. But now accept your photograph on the Krays posing for a picture with known members of the Mafia doesn’t prove that they had any connections to the New York Mafia. In fact, it’s demonstrable that they didn’t because they have never even been investigated, let alone arrested, charged or convicted of any criminal conspiracy involving the New York Mafia, nor has it ever been suggested by any serving police officer that they were. So Rob’s statement that “The Krays had no connections to the New York Mafia,” is absolutely accurate. They didn’t. And your claims about being there are a claim to false authority, you weren’t in the Mafia nor were you a member of the Kray firm or a senior police officer investigating this non-existent link. Rob made no claim to such authority he just pointed to facts. So whose version events is more credible Rob’s based on historical fact or yours based on myth?

      • I never mentioned a link but said that I had pictures of the Krays with the New York Mafia. [Edit] I am not a iiar and I challenge you to print my pictures because you obviously can.

      • @ Mike
        Don’t be stupid. If you had wanted you could have posted a link to the site that you’re hosting this jpeg. We gave you instructions how to do that, but for some reason you don’t want to do that, you just want to keep repeating yourself in other threads, which is aggressive spamming. As has been pointed out to you. Nobody dispute that there are pictures of the Krays posing with members of the New York mafia, just as there are pictures of Liza Minnelli posing with members of the New York mafia. There is no relevance to these photos. The krays didn’t have any connections to the New York Mafia. There is no evidence from any source to support the view that they were involved in any criminal conspiracy with the New York Mafia.

        I suspect that you have written something to the contrary in your book and you’re now trying to obscure the facts which contradict your Kray fantasy by repeat yourself ad nausea and attacking Rob for being right. I note you never conceded that Charlie Kray’s boxing record proves he was an atrocious boxer, which means you have a habit of ignoring the truth. Please don’t bother repeating yourself again.

  22. Absolutely spot on,the photo’s prove nothing and they are not even the point,i don;t understand how rob freeman (clue to freemason?) equates being able to fight with not being a mug? Does being able to fight mean you can not be a mug? I don’t think so,the point being made is an industry has been created on the back of this tough guy ‘only hurt here own’ load of bollox image providing a breeding ground for kids to emulate.They made fuck all cash,lf you want to worship real gangsters then have a look at curtis warren from liverpool who actually made a few quid and set up direct links with the colombians,but even if you do you will still know fuck all about these people whether you live at the same time as them or not

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