On this day in history : 7th January 1965 – The Kray twins are remanded in custody after being charged with running a protection racket in London….

The Kray twins, 1965 – taken by David Bailey (Reggie on the left, Ronnie forefront) – Fair use

The case revolved around a Soho nightclub owned by Hew McGowan, the son of a wealthy baronet, who had bought the club – ‘The Hideaway’, in Gerrard Street, in 1964….

McGowan claimed the 31-year-old identical twins, Ronnie and Reggie, had offered to supply two doormen for the club for a percentage of the takings…. However, it was said that it was in fact McGowan, knowing that the Krays were wanting to increase their influence in the West End, who offered them 20% of the venture…. When McGowan reneged on the deal it did not take much time before the Kray twins began to ‘demand money with menace’…. McGowan went to the police….

The Hideaway – Fair use

The twins were arrested at the Glenrae Hotel, on the Seven Sisters Road, North London – where they were listed as being company directors…. They were taken into custody and then refused bail, even though they offered sureties of £18,000…. They were remanded at Brixton Prison until their trial date, which was set for March….

The Krays’ defence argued that the twins had only become involved with the club to help secure investment for a future project in Nigeria – it had nothing to do with ‘protection’…. The jury were unable to come to an agreement and a re-trial was ordered…. After three trials the Kray twins were acquitted, along with a third accused man, Edward Smith, a free-lance writer….

Within a month the twins had bought and taken control of the Hideaway, changing its name to ‘El Morocco’…. They threw a huge party at the nightclub to celebrate….

On the 8th of May 1968 Ronnie and Reggie Kray were arrested again, to face numerous charges, including murder…. After being convicted in March 1969 they were sentenced to life imprisonment….

The Kray twins with their older brother Charlie, 1965 – Image: Kristine via Flickr

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