Historical Murders presented by Paul Stickler


Kray Twins

aka The Kray twins

Between 1966 and 1967

Headshot for the Kray Twins
Headshot for the Kray Twins

The Kray twins’ reign of terror began in the 1950s when their use of violence spread from simple street fighting to using their muscle to branch into the protection racket market.

They attracted the occasion conviction but their activities were largely unchecked through fear of reprisals had any witnesses stepped forward to give evidence. It was not until the 1960s when their violence reached its peak due to a number of factors which collectively allowed them a free reign across east and central London.

In 1964, Ronnie Kray began a homosexual relationship (as it was termed at the time) with Lord Boothby, a conservative peer and which led to Boothby successfully suing the newspapers for libel. The effect of this was to cause the authorities to step back from the Krays activities for fear of more civil litigation.

Illustration for the The Kray Twins
“They just keep popping the man. He comes off the casing on his knees, then he falls back, and these bullets are going all over him”

Knowing full well that people would be too scared to give evidence, in 1966 Ronnie Kray walked into the Blind Beggar public house in east London and shot George Cornell dead.

Later the same year, Frank Mitchell who had been sprung from Dartmoor prison by the Kray gang was also shot dead.  The following year, Jack McVitie was stabbed to death by Reggie Kray in an attack described as inhumane. In 1969, the Krays, alongside many other others were convicted of their criminal activities. The twins each received 30 years imprisonment.

Their celebrity status continued while in prison as books and films were made about their reign of terror and their legacy remained for years to come. Ronnie eventually died in Broadmoor in 1995; Reggie died in 2000. Their reign of terror had lasted for many years but it had been allowed by factors outside of their control. For them, it was the perfect storm; for many it was a period of violence and fear.

The victims...
George Cornell, Frank Mitchell and Jack McVitie.

Each were criminal associates of the Kray twins and were killed for a variety of reasons. Cornell was murdered because of a personal vendetta, McVitie because he had ‘disrespected’ the twins and Mitchell because his behaviour was likely to attract unnecessary police attention on the Krays’ activities. Both Mitchell’s and McVitie’s bodies have never been found

Another pile of photos from The Kray Twins
  • When were the twins born?

    Reggie and Ronnie were identical twins born on 23 October 1933.

  • Where did the twins live in London?

    178 Vallance Road, Bethnal Green. Affectionately known as Fort Vallance, it no longer exists today.

  • The Krays were apparently very close to their mother. How much did she know of their activities?

    It’s difficult to know. It seems that the twins took steps to make sure their mother did not know of their criminal enterprises, but it seems unrealistic to expect that she knew nothing. She died in 1972, after her sons’ convictions for murder.

  • Were there any other murders committed by the Krays that we don’t know about?

    Little doubt exists that they were responsible for other killings. A number of people went missing during the height of their reign but they were never charged and convicted.

  • You mention that there were factors outside of their control that allowed them to operate the way they did. What were they?

    The first was the issue of Ronnie Kray’s relationship with Lord Boothby. Homosexuality at that time was deemed a criminal act and the libel action which followed gave them a measure of protection. The other factors were the twins’ mental health and the protection they were afforded due to the levels of police corruption which existed in the East End at that time. These issues are explored in some depth in my presentations.

Further reading...
Cover of Krayology


John Bennett


Cover of Notorious: The Immortal Legend of the Kray Twins

Notorious: The Immortal Legend of the Kray Twins

John Pearson


Cover of The Krays: Unfinished Business

The Krays: Unfinished Business

Martin Fido



The Kray Twins case is available as a presentation. Whether delivered on world-wide cruise ships or in a local village hall, it's absorbing, informative, and entertaining. Contact Paul Stickler for more information...

Paul Stickler presenting on stage on a cruise ship