Debauchery Legend Of The Kray Twins – From Knockout Punch To Celebrity Pals And Outrageous Sex Secrecy

They were the underworld kings of the East End, ruling with an iron fist – and often bloody.

Yet the self-proclaimed legend of the Kray twins is also one of famous boyfriends, sex scandals and a hectic family life.

A new Britbox documentary, Secrets of the Krays, has lifted the veil on Reggie and Ronnie’s rise to fame, tracing the beginnings of their criminal empire until their eventual arrest and imprisonment in 1969.

Speaking to the Mirror this week, their cousin also revealed the shocking story of their upbringing, including their ‘horrible’ father who abused their mother and threatened to hurt her with acid if she ever left.

This set the thugs on the path of violence which saw them take on the sadistic gang lords of London, before befriending serial killers as they faced a life behind bars.

From statements of an incestuous relationship to Reggie’s baffling friendship with EastEnders star Shane Ritchie, here we revisit the wild life of notorious gangsters.

‘Cigarette punch’ and heartbreaking murder

Running their Bethnal Green crime syndicate, the Kray twins’ violent reputation has helped them maintain a tight grip on power.

While Ronnie was considered the most “ psychotic ” brother, Reggie wasn’t a gentleman either – apparently having a surefire way to snap his jaw in one fell swoop.

Nicknamed the “ cigarette punch ”, he would see him offer his victim a queer before punching while opening his mouth, leaving them to writhe in pain.

Ronnie and Reggie Kray have a cup of tea after spending 36 hours being questioned by police on the murder of George Cornell

The Kray Union’s toughest rivals were the Richardsons, who were considered to be London’s most sadistic mob, with a penchant for pulling teeth out with pliers, cutting toes with bolt cutters, and even nailing their teeth. victims on the ground.

When Ronnie shot dead gang member George Cornell at the Blind Beggar pub in March 1966, it sparked a chain of events that ultimately led to the twins being imprisoned.

A year after Cornell’s death, the couple killed Jack ‘the Hat’ McVitie, whose gruesome death fell into infamy.

Police outside the Blind Beggar pub, Whitechapel Road, after the filming of George Cornell in 1966
Police outside the Blind Beggar pub, Whitechapel Road, after the filming of George Cornell in 1966

McVitie was a minor member of the Kray gang who had failed to fulfill a £ 1,500 contract paid to him in advance to kill a rival.

As punishment, he was lured into a basement apartment in Stoke Newington, under the pretext of a party.

After entering, Reggie pointed a handgun at his head and pulled the trigger twice, but the gun did not fire.

Instead, Ronnie held McVitie in a bear hug, and Reggie stabbed him to death with a carving knife – ripping out his liver, which then had to be flushed down the toilet.

In March 1969, the Krays were sentenced to life imprisonment for both murders, with 30 years without parole – the longest sentences ever handed down at Old Bailey for murder.

Cooking with a Moorish murderer in prison

The brothers were separated in prison, with Reggie first sent to HMP Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight and Ronnie locked up at HMP Durham, where he spent spells in solitary confinement to fight with guards.

Here, Ronnie is said to have formed a sickly friendship with Ian Brady, the notorious Moors murderer who killed five children with Myra Hindley in the 1960s.

In a letter to a correspondent, Brady wrote: “Ronnie Kray and I cooked at Durham’s Level A Security Wing in the 1960s after three riots there.”

Ronnie reportedly struck up a friendship with serial killer Ian Brady
Ronnie reportedly struck up a friendship with serial killer Ian Brady

The doomed bond emerged even more twisted after it emerged that the Krays also befriended Ann Downey, whose daughter Lesley Ann, 10, was kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed by Brady and Hindley.

Discovering a supply of letters after Ann’s death, son Terry said, “These are not the kind of letters you would expect from criminals like the Krays.

“Everyone knows how vicious the Krays could be. Maybe mom was trying to find out more about Brady in prison. “

Over the decades, the brothers’ time in prison has turned out to be almost as hectic as their life outside.

Reggie later claimed to have become a born again Christian, while Ronnie got married on Broadmoor to a topless former kissogram girl.

“ Incestuous ” relationship of the brothers

Unusual for their time – and even more so in the criminal world – Ronnie was openly gay, while Reggie was believed to be bisexual.

However, biographer John Pearson caused a stir by revealing a shocking secret about their sex life – claiming that the couple had at one point entered into an incestuous relationship.

The twins cross north-east London in 1964
The twins cross north-east London in 1964

Talk to The sunJohn said, “Homosexuality was not a source of pride in the East End.

“But as they got more and more notorious, Ronnie got pretty shameless about it.

“According to Ron, at first they had sex with each other, because they were terrified that people would find out.”

While Ronnie was dating his family and had a number of boyfriends, Reggie repeatedly denied he was bisexual.

Still, Laurie O’Leary, a childhood friend of the Krays, told the Guardian it was an open secret between the brothers.

“I would say Reg fought the fact that he could also be bisexual more than Ron, but I knew his affection for a lot of the young teens he kept company with,” O’Leary said.

“Ron was going to goad Reg when he was dating women and trying to sway Reg with his own appetite for young men.

‘Horrible’ dad threatened his mother with acid

The Krays’ cruel streak is said to stem from their turbulent upbringing, which saw them run into their abusive father.

Cousin Kim Peat told the Mirror that their father, known as Old Charlie, regularly beat their mother Violet and threatened her with acid if she left.

Ronnie, left, threatened to kill his father after abusing his mother
Ronnie, left, threatened to kill his father after abusing his mother

“He was a horrible man,” Kim said. “He was horrible with Violet – violent from day one. They married in 1926, when she was 15, but had to change her date of birth as she was expecting her eldest son, Charlie.

“Old Charlie gave him black eyes, bloody noses. This is where the violent twins streak comes from. He said if she ever left him he would throw acid in her face and no one would look at her again.

She added that the monster didn’t stop abusing Violet until Ronnie threatened her father.

“Ronnie was 16 when Old Charlie punched Violet in the nose,” she says.

“He ran downstairs, punched his father in the nose and said, ‘If you ever hit my mother again, I’ll kill you.’ Old Charlie never beat her again.

Pals with the Mafia … and Shane Richie from EastEnders

The twins’ celebrity status was cemented during the funeral of Reggie, who died of cancer in October 2000.

Among the mourners’ wreaths were exhibits by famous admirers, including The Who singer Roger Daltry and pop star Morrissey.

The hearse containing the body of Reggie Kray arrives at Chingford Cemetery on October 11, 2000
The hearse containing the body of Reggie Kray arrives at Chingford Cemetery on October 11, 2000

There was also a crown believed to be from the American Mafia – next to a Manhattan photo was the message: “With deep respect, from your friends in New York.”

The thugs had a series of A-List stars in their contact books, many of whom were associates and friends.

In 1985, Frank Sinatra reportedly hired 18 bodyguards from Krayleigh Enterprises, which was the Krays Protection Company.

Meanwhile, painter Lucian Freud is said to have racked up more than £ 500,000 in gambling debts to the twins, even emerging from exposure for fear they would show up and ask for their money.

I'm a Celebrity Star Shane Richie suggested Reggie torched an agent's office after refusing to pay the actor
I’m a Celebrity Star Shane Richie suggested Reggie torched an agent’s office after refusing to pay the actor

Strangest of all, however, was Reggie’s apparent friendship with EastEnders actor Shane Richie.

The I’m a Celeb star, 57, visited Reggie in prison in the 1990s and wrote in his memoir that he once spoke to the gangster about an agent who failed to pay £ 8,000 of charges.

He said, “I gave him the guy’s name but I didn’t think about it anymore. I’m not sure yet what happened but the note says Reggie made a call, agent told her where to go, and, down and behold, her office was set on fire.

Shane added, “Is that a coincidence? I don’t think so.”

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