Ronald Kray (1933 – 1995) and Reginald Kray (1933- 2000) were twin brothers who ran a criminal Mafia-style operation in the East End of London, England, UK in the 1960s.
The twins were primarily in the gangster business for glamour and reputation. They dreamed of comparisons with Al Capone but never really earned much from their gang activities.
Their gang collected protection money, organised illegal gambling and drinking clubs, and participated in gang warfare.
An early attempt to convict them of murder failed. Their activities became increasingly violent, and Ronnie Kray – known as ‘The Colonel’ – shot dead George Cornell (a member of a rival gang) in the Blind Beggar pub in March 1966, and Reggie stabbed another man to death because he had threatened his brother.
The twins were tried at the Old Bailey in 1969, found guilty, and were sentenced to life imprisonment of not less than 30 years.
Their elder brother Charlie received ten years for being an accessory to one of the murders.
Ronald Kray was subsequently declared a paranoid schizophrenic and transferred to Broadmoor Hospital. A campaign to free the twins in 1987 failed.
Gary and Martin Kemp of Spandau Ballet starred as the twins in The Krays (1990), a brutally stark account of the absolute rulers of London’s East End underworld through their reign of terror in the 1950s and 1960s.