“I dug out some statements the other day,” he told me.
‘The ones made when you were arrested with the Twins?” I asked.
“Yeah. There were loads of people arrested.”
“It was fraud you were acquitted of?”
“Yes. I wasn’t charged with anything else.”
“This is,” I checked, “when the Krays were arrested for the two murders?”
“The murders and everything,” said Micky. “The whole thing. I was the last one arrested because I kept out-of-the-way for a while. I had always given my mother’s address, so the police kept missing me. I had stopped speaking to the Twins at this point and was enemies with them and we were trying to kill each other.”
“As,” I said, “in the first sentence in your book.”
“Yes,” said Micky. His book Krayzy Days starts with the words:
We were going to kill Reggie Kray. I had a .38 revolver and we were waiting for him late one night outside John Bigg Point, a block of flats in Stratford, East London. Reggie and I had once been close and for years I knew the Kray twins as well as anyone. But now their world was in disarray. They were lost in their own celebrity; a fame which brought with it a circle of yes-men and hangers-on. Wannabe gangsters who fuelled brother Ronnie’s madness. Only a few of us who had been around for longer could see the twins were heading for disaster. If we didn’t do anything they would take us down with them.
“You got off,” I said. “How?”
“I had a plan,” said Mickey.
“What was that?” I asked.
“People will have to read the book,” he laughed, “but it involved the Financial Times.”
“What was the fraud you were charged with?” I asked.
“Long firm,” said Micky. “Poor old Stanley Crowther was running the long firm – a gay, alcoholic, ex-barrister.”
“I feel,” I said: “there is a sitcom in this.”
“What used to happen with Ronnie, though,” Micky continued, “was that he would spoil a long firm by jumping in halfway through. On one occasion, he said to me: Come on, Mick: a bird in the hand is worth four in the bush.
“Another day, he went in and said: I need £1,000 to buy a racehorse. And he bought one. The Twins really bought it for their mother. But it was a ‘three-legged’ one. It never won anything. They auctioned it.
“One of the statements I read the other day was when the Twins got arrested. Nipper Read – Chief Superintendent Read, he was at the time – goes into the council flat the Twins are using in Bunhill Row and his statement reads: I said to Reginald Kray ‘You are under arrest’ and he said ‘Aaahhh! Mr Read, we’ve been expecting you. You’ll find it a bit more difficult this time, because we’ve got lots of friends now, you know’… The Twins got 30 years!”
“Nipper Read,” I said, “was an unusually straight copper, wasn’t he?”
“Yes,” Micky agreed. “Nipper Read was straight. But he weren’t straight with me.”
“When?” I asked.
“Just after the Twins had been arrested and I had been acquitted, I applied to the British Boxing Board of Control for a licence to train a boxer – which they gave me, after checking me out. Then, a couple of weeks later, they asked me to come back again and Nipper Read was there and James Morton, his mouthpiece.” (James Morton was then a lawyer, but later wrote books with Mad Frank Fraser and about gangland in general).
“They were part of the Board of Control,” Micky explained, “and they said: Your licence has been rescinded. You were granted one by the Southern Area Council but now the full Board has discussed it and you can’t have a licence. You knew the Kray Twins.
“I said: Well, a lot of people knew the Kray Twins. Everybody knew the Kray Twins.
“Yeah, they said, but you knew them more than most. So they stopped me getting a licence, despite the fact I had been acquitted in court.”
“But,” I said, “You got a licence eventually.”
“Yeah, but it took years and not getting one ruined me, because I had a boxer and he didn’t want to be trained by someone who the Board of Control didn’t consider to be a fit person to have a licence – despite the fact I had been acquitted in court and I had stopped speaking to the Twins and we were trying to kill each other… Nipper Reid was a nasty little man. But it was deeper than that.”
“In what way?” I asked.
“What happened was Terry Lawless and Mickey Duff and Mike Barrett and Co had Frank Bruno. And I had a black heavyweight boxer called Funso Banjo – his real name was Babafunso Banjo. And they were afraid I would topple Bruno. They didn’t want anyone to spoil the Bruno patch and that is why they took my licence away. To make it really difficult for me. Funso Banjo ended up boxing Joe Frazier’s son.
“Doing what?” I asked.
“Dancing. He was a ballet dancer. He’s the leader of Diversity, the dance troupe. He’s performed at the London Palladium and been introduced to the Queen. Never been in any trouble. He’s done well.”