Notorious: The Immortal Legend of the Kray Twins
Ever since the Kray twins invited John Pearson to write their 'official' biography more than forty years ago, he has been obsessed with them. After they were jailed in 1969 for thirty years for murder, Pearson's biography The Profession of Violence enjoyed a cult following among the young and was said to be the most popular book in H.M.'s prisons, after the Bible. Ron died in 1995. Reg followed him five years later, and both of their funerals drew crowds on a scale unknown for film stars, let alone for two departed murderers. Since then, far from fading with their death, public fascination with the twins has never flagged. Their clothes and memorabilia are sold at auction like religious relics. Ron's childlike prison paintings fetch more money than those of many well-known artists. And people still refer to them like popular celebrities. Why? This is the question Pearson asked himself, and over the past three years he has been re-examining their history, unearthing much previously unknown material, and has come to some fascinating conclusions. Notorious reveals new facts about the Krays' tortured relationship as identical twins; a relationship which helped predestine them to a life of crime; a relationship that made them utterly unlike any other major criminals. Pearson has discovered two new and unsuspected murders, along with fresh light on the killings of George Cornell and Jack 'the Hat' McVitie. There are facts about the twins' obsession with publicity, and how far this made them 'actor criminals' murdering for notoriety. Most riveting of all are the chapters which reveal how Ron Kray caused a major sexual scandal in which a prime minister, together with other leading politicians, condoned the most outrageous establishment cover-up in British politics since the war. Notorious contains many more surprises, but the one thing that emerges is that the Kray twins were not only stranger but also far more important than anyone ever suspected. Fascination with them will forever remain; they will never lose their role as the immortal murderers.
thanks to Violet, the whole family was in denial over Ronnie’s madness and they seem to have persuaded Reg that it was his duty to do something to save his brother, ‘otherwise they’ll keep him in the loonie bin for ever.’ Reg was smart and had learned to pick the brains of people who were smarter still. After talking to a helpful lawyer he discovered something interesting. According to the law, provided someone who’d been certified insane could remain at liberty for six months or more the
service the Twins had been among the first to hear that a ‘rich socialite’ called Hew McCowan had bought the club and was planning to turn it into a fashionable night spot for an upmarket clientele. They had been trying to use the same tactics on McCowan as they had when they took over Esmeralda’s Barn and since the Twins regarded Soho as their territory they were expecting a substantial slice of the action. The only question was how substantial. There had already been tentative discussions on
right to question a judge’s decision, particularly in a case like this where there was really nothing to object to in the courts’ behaviour. Since the Twins and Teddy Smith were down for trial in three weeks’ time, it was hard to claim that they were suffering undue hardship and to speak as if the judges were keeping them on remand ‘indefinitely’ was ridiculous. So Boothby was not just breaking the rules of parliament when he lumbered to his feet and in that famous voice of his put his question
no blame attached to him for what had happened, he was exiled to a murder case in Ireland and spent the next three years free from all concern about the Twins as far as ordinary policing was concerned. As for Sir Joseph Simpson, he seemed to have gone into what is known as ‘denial’ over anything relating to the Krays. Like the three wise monkeys he could see no evil, think no evil, and certainly do no evil to the Twins for the remainder of his life. What made this so extraordinary was that after
alone to hint at the protection rackets, the long-firm frauds, the violence and the Twins’ connections with the Mafia. So when, after the acquittal, two smart young journalists, Lewis Chester and Cal McCrystal, interviewed the Twins for an article in the Sunday Times they had a problem. Because of the newspaper’s fear of libel, they could not refer to the Twins as criminals, still less could they even mention what they did. Instead, with considerable ingenuity, the two journalists wrote a