During the 1950s and 1960s, The East End of London saw a lot of organized crime being perpetrated in its environs and the kingpin of these crimes was the notorious criminal Reggie Kray, who along with his identical twin brother, Ronnie Kray, made the residents of London shake in their heels for the fear of provoking the anger or displeasure of any of the Kray twins.
The Kray twins, who operated as West End nightclub owners, went undercover to perpetrate all manner of organized crime ranging from arson to robbery, to protection rackets, assaults and a host of other grievous crimes. During their reign in London, they hobnobbed with the crème de la crème of London which included renowned entertainers and politicians like Judy Garland, Diana Dors, and Frank Sinatra. They even attained celebrity status in the 1960s as they were photographed by the veteran Photographer David Bailey and were constantly interviewed on television.
Reggie Kray’s Biography
The identical brothers – Reggie Kray and Ronnie Kray were born in Hoxton, East London on the 24th of October 1933, with Ronnie born 10 minutes after Reggie. Their parents were Charles David Kray who worked as a wardrobe dealer and Violet Annie Lee. Their parents already had a six-year-old son before the twins and a daughter, Violet, who died at infancy.
Family – Wife, Daughter & Relationship with Ronnie Kray
One-half of the notorious Kray Twins – Reggie Kray – was married twice in his lifetime, his first marriage was inevitable when he caught the eyes of beautiful and vivacious Frances Shea. It was like the proverbial bolt of lightning and just like that, Reggie’s bachelor days were suddenly over. In 1965, the dreaded East End London gangster married Frances in a blaze of tabloid publicity which turned out to be one of the most lavish weddings of their time. Unfortunately, the marriage did not last very long and the young bride, Frances, committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills; rumors had it that it was Reggie’s twin Ronnie who forced Frances to take the excess pills and stand over her till she complied.
Reggie’s second marriage was to Roberta Jones whom he met during his years in incarceration when she was publicizing a film made about Ronnie. The couple tied the nuptial knot in 1997 despite Reggie’s constraint in the prison and eventually, when the gangster was released on the grounds of compassion in 2000, Roberta was waiting. Sources have revealed that Roberta was the best thing that happened to the gangster, she was described as an absolute diamond for her devotion to her husband till the time of his death.
Amidst the mourners who converged at Chingford Mount Cemetery to pay their last respect to the deceased born-again gangster was Sandra Ireson, a 42-year-old mother, and grandmother who was a result of the brief relationship in 1958 between the notorious kingpin and Greta Harper, who worked as a cabaret dancer. Sandra only discovered the identity of her real father after the death of his twin brother Ronnie in 1955. She tried her best to get to know her biological father, but she was only able to see him once and Reggie on his own part rejected his daughter’s attempt to forge a lasting relationship with him for the fear of upsetting his young wife Roberta.
Reggie Kray: Cause of Death
As the saying goes, the only thing constant in life is change, even the real-life terror of the East End of London, Reggie Kray, changed his ways and gave his life to Christ during his incarceration. Reggie was released from prison on the 26th of August 2000 at the age of 66, his release was secured on compassionate grounds due to his deteriorating health condition from the ravages of bladder cancer.
After leaving Norfolk and Norwich Hospital on the 22nd of September 2000, he spent the last few days of his life in a Townhouse Hotel suite at Norwich with his wife Roberta keeping vigil at his bedside. The hotel was chosen because of its proximity to the river with the belief that the couple might love to go for walks but this never happened because of the gravity of Reggie’s illness, he spent most of his time listening to music. The repented Reggie died in his sleep on the 1st of October 2000 and his internment came ten days later, his final resting place was Chingford Mount Cemetery beside his twin brother, Ronnie Kray.