THE Kray Twins were the East End's most infamous criminals – ruthless gangsters who dominated London's underworld for twenty years.
But who were Reggie and Ronnie Kray, what crimes did they commit and how did they die? Here's the lowdown on the brutal masterminds…
Who were the Kray twins?
The identical twins were born within ten minutes of each other on October 24, 1933.
They were born in Hoxton and grew up in the East End with their brother Charles.
Their father, also Charles, was a second-hand clothes dealer and went on the run to avoid military service.
Their maternal grandfather Jimmy "Cannonball" Lee encouraged them to take up amateur boxing, a common pastime for working class boys in the area.
Sibling rivalry spurred them on, and they reportedly never lost a match before turning professional at the age of 19.
From the start the pair clashed with any authority – including the Army, which like their father they did their best to avoid.
In 1951 they began their national service, but they were too wild for the military.
After assaulting several police officers, they managed to get a dishonourable discharge by throwing tantrums, dumping their latrine bucket over a sergeant and even handcuffing a guard to their prison bars.
With a criminal record their boxing careers were brought to an abrupt end, and they turned to crime full-time.
The twins became household names in 1964 when they were hit with an expose in the Sunday Mirror.
It insinuated that Ronnie had a sexual relationship with Lord Boothby, a Conservative politician.
No names were printed in the piece, but the twins threatened to sue the newspaper with the help of Labour Party leader Harold Wilson's solicitor Arnold Goodman.
The Mirror backed down, sacked its editor, issued an apology and paid Boothby £40,000 in an out-of-court settlement.
Because of this other newspapers were unwilling to expose the Krays' connection and criminal activities.
What crimes did the brothers commit?
In the early 50s the brothers started their gang, The Firm, which would shape their criminal activities.
Under The Firm umbrella they were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, assaults and murder over close to two decades.
Their brother Charlie provided the business brainpower behind the operations, while the twins became the public face of The Firm.
One of their first moves was to buy a run-down snooker club in Mile End, where they started several protection rackets.
Their hands-on approach to business landed them in trouble, with Ronnie convicted of GBH in the late 1950s.
While in prison, Ronnie was labelled "insane", and later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
In the 60s, they moved to the West End to open a gambling club, Esmerelda's Barn, in Knightsbridge.
They were widely seen as prosperous nightclub owners and part of the Swinging London scene, even persuading a peer to join them on the board to give the club a veneer of respectability.
How did they get arrested?
The twins' fortunes changed when Ronnie Kray shot and killed George Cornell, a member of rival gang the Richardsons, at the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel.
No one was convicted for the 1966 killing at the time.
Then, in December of that year, the Krays helped Frank Mitchell escape from Dartmoor prison.
Once out, the Krays held him at a friend's flat in East Ham, London, but the "Mad Axeman" disappeared without trace.
Despite these public affrays, the Krays' criminal activities continued to be faintly hidden by their celebrity status and their more legitimate businesses.
But they would not be able to escape the consequences of their next actions.
Reggie was allegedly encouraged by his brother in October 1967 to kill Jack "the Hat" McVitie, a minor member of the Kray gang who had failed to fulfil a £1,000 contract to kill Leslie Payne.
They lured him to a flat in Stoke Newington on pretence of a party.
There Reggie stabbed McVitie in the face and stomach and killed him, driving the blade into his neck.
It was then that the tide turned against the Krays, with people concerned the same fate would meet them.
In the same year Detective Leonard "Nipper" Read reopened his case against them. He had met with a "wall of silence" when investigating the Krays before.
However, by the end of 1967 Read had built up enough evidence against the Krays, and on May 8, 1968, the Krays and 15 members of their gang were arrested.
In March 1969, both were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 30 years for the murders of Cornell and McVitie, the longest sentences ever passed at the Old Bailey.
Their brother Charlie was imprisoned for ten years for his part in the murders.
How did the brothers die?
Ronnie remained in Broadmoor Hospital until his death on March 17, 1995.
Reggie was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000, eight and a half weeks before his death from cancer.
Their reputation preceded them even in death, with onlookers crowding the streets to catch a glimpse of the famed gangster's coffin as it was taken through the East End.
Were the twins married?
Ronnie Kray, who identified as bisexual, said he planned on marrying a woman named Monica in the 1960s, who he had dated for nearly three years.
He was arrested before he had the chance to marry Monica – who ended up marrying Ronnie's ex-boyfriend.
He married twice afterwards – to Elaine Mildener in 1985 at Broadmoor chapel, who he then divorced four years later.
Ronnie then married Kate Howard, who he also divorced in 1994.
His brother Reggie, meanwhile, married Roberta Jones in 1997, after meeting while still in prison.
Jones was helping to publicise a film being made about Ronnie.
Who were the Kray twins' victims?
Details of the Kray twins' victims are few and far between as the pair lived in the celebrity world alongside their criminal enterprises.
But there are some that the pair have been convicted of including George Cornell.
Cornell was a member of a rival gang – the Richardson gang – in London.
The day before his murder, a shootout ensued in a Catford nightclub between the Richardson gang and Richard Hart, who was linked to the Kray twins but shot dead.
Cornell was not at the club at the time and therefore not arrested – but visited the Blind Beggar pub just a mile from the Krays' home.
Ronnie learned of his whereabouts and proceed to shoot and kill him on March 9, 1966.
Jack 'the Hat' McVitie
McVitie was killed by Reggie in a basement flat in Stoke Newington, having failed to follow through on a contract to kill financial advisor Leslie Payne.
Reggie pointed a gun at McVitie's head, but the gun failed to fire.
But with the twins' cousin Ronnie Hart holding "the Hat", Reggie grabbed a carving knife and stabbed him in the face, neck and stomach.
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