Charlie Kray was their older brother and the closest person to the infamous Ronnie and Notoriously ruthless and violent, Ronnie and Reggie Kray were the heads of a wide-spread extortion racket—know as The Firm—in the 1950s and 1960s. Charlie Kray is pictured centre. It is sort of my version of comfy food! Police believed he was linked to the production of amphetamines and counterfeit videotapes and pound coins; underworld whispers connected him to protection rackets. Basically I have something like 10 or 15 titles on these guys - and I bought all of them through various trips to London over the years. McGibbon is the only journalist with all the Krays on tape - Reggie on the phone from prison, Ronnie in Broadmoor, and Charlie living his life for his book. Later, it was found that the rumours were unfounded, but by then it was too late: Mum and I and the twins were back in Vallance Road. In about 1986 he met and fell in love with Judy Stanley, a mother of 3 and 25 years his junior.
She had gone into hospital just three days earlier. Reggie sat in front of us. In his book, Me and My Brothers, Charlie described how he remonstrated with the boys for knocking out two men who had insulted a friend of theirs. Did their voices match the terrifying violence that made them part of criminal folklore? And, of course, it started Di and me off again. One day, Aunt Rose came round excitedly, saying her next-door neighbours were leaving.
To many, the massive exodus from Liverpool Street Station that January in 1940, was The Evacuation. He loved entertaining us: his favourite trick involved a white-hot poker which he would lick without burning his tongue. Then she said the doctor wanted to see me. He was convicted of offering to supply the drug to undercover police officers and also of supplying two kilos of the drug worth £63,500. Chapter Two Respect was something Mum had always commanded. As a mother she was unbeatable, simply the tops.
When the twins saw some of the cutlery, glassware and trophies I won as an amateur they felt boxing might be for them, too, and they joined me in my early-morning road running, copying my side-stepping and shadow-boxing in the streets around Vallance Road. But to the twins and I, who had seldom left the narrow, crowded streets of Bethnal Green, it was An Adventure. There would be a lot to do, and with my brothers in prison and our father ill I was the only one to do it. He said later he thought it was odd, us being in that room. Sometimes the punch-ups would not take place and the gangs would drift off to a pub together.
Charlie now knew that his daughter Nancy wasn't his own flesh and blood but he loved her just the same. It is sort of my version of comfy food! And householders eagerly chucked out their old gear to make way for the new. He wanted to operate, but he needed to clear the pneumonia first. It was as if each boy knew more than he ought to. It started with a sore throat.
As he was preparing to bring them back again, Grandfather Lee turned up — on his bike. And then suddenly I was whipped into hospital with a mystery illness that was to terrify me so much I thought of killing myself. It would break him, I knew, but my old man had to be the first to know. It ran in the family so it was inevitable that Charlie would keep up the tradition. But what did Ronnie and Reggie sound like? I would go home smelling of manure and with muddy shoes. For someone so energetic the thought was too much to bear and it was then that I seriously thought about doing myself in. It also reveals Charlie's own troubled life - his arrests for drug charges, his implication in the killing of Jack 'The Hat' McVitie and the sudden loss of his beloved son.
One of the resident trainers watched them in the ring, a look of amazement on his face. He was terribly upset by all the police fuss; he knew it was all unnecessary. I can remember only one time when she had the hump with me. But the East End in the Blitz was no place for kids, and soon someone somewhere decided women and children should go away until it was all over. I could throw a punch, too, and have boxing trophies to prove it. Few people in Britain have not heard of the Kray twins, the infamous East End gangsters who murdered in cold blood with barely a backward glance.
Young Charlie soon took up boxing himself again and trained in the local gyms and his grandfather set up a punch bag in the top back room in Vallance Road. . After the service, the twins were led out swiftly and taken to Chingford Mount police station. Then he joined the Navy where he boxed as a Welterweight. It would be the first time they had seen the outside world in fourteen years. And how crazy and insensitive to banish the twins from the graveside and guard them with fifty men in a police station while their mother was being buried.
My mum was one of the fittest. And when Mum said she was taking us to the shelter under the railway arches they would toddle along unconcernedly, hand in hand, more excited than afraid. In March 2000, he collapsed and was moved to St. For five and a half days a week, I was general dogsbody for eighteen bob. And he was good at it.