Tag Archives: Richardsons

Comedian Malcolm Hardee, The Krays and The Richardsons and a film director

Malcolm Hardee on the BBC TV show Diners

Malcolm Hardee on the BBC TV show Diners. He was drunk.

Because (to be honest) of time constraints on my originality, here is another extract from the autobiography of Malcolm Hardee, godfather to British alternative comedy – I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake – now tragically out-of-print.

Malcolm was not a man un-acquainted with the law and with prison and detention centres.


I Stole Freddie Mercy’sBirthday Cake

He did steal Freddie Mercury’s cake…

When you are taken from court, the police are in charge of you. When you get to the detention centre or prison, the Screws – the warders – are in charge. When you arrived at Blantyre House, the routine was that the Screws said:

“Stand up against that wall!”

Then they just whacked your head straight into the side of the wall.

I watched this through a gap in the door and saw them do it to the three blokes before me. But they didn’t do it to me because of my glasses. So I didn’t get the full treatment. But life at Blantyre House was very hard.

You had to run about four miles with medicine balls under your arms and get up at six o’clock to do press-ups every morning and drill like in the Army:

“Quick march! Slow march! Get in line!”

They had a swimming pool and on May 1st, whatever the weather, you had to do four lengths of the swimming pool. This particular May was one of those cold ones and the swimming pool had a thin layer of ice on it. Someone just forced us all to dive in it. They worked you like demons. I got solitary confinement for two days, in a damp cell on bread and water, just for shouting out: “Bollocks!” at some point during a football match.

I was in Blantyre House in 1968 when the gangsters who were thought to be untouchable were put behind bars: The Krays (Ronnie and Reggie). They only operated in London’s East End and it has become over-magnified how important they were. They were just one of many gangs. The Richardsons (Charlie and Eddie) were operating in South East London and they weren’t quite so high profile. The good ones, of course, are the ones you don’t read about  – the Frenches were well known for local villainy and drew very little publicity. I was just on the very vague periphery of all this as they were a lot older and in a different league.

Eddie Richardson was involved in a big shooting at Mr Smith’s, underneath The Witchdoctor. It was a inter-gang thing. They all met down the gaming club and this bloke got shot and was bleeding all over the place from an artery. ‘Mad Frankie’ Fraser (the Richardson’s infamous ‘enforcer’) hit a bloke who subsequently died and ‘Mad Frankie’ himself was shot in the thigh. He got outside and the police found him lying in a front garden round the corner in Fordel Road, Catford, where my Aunt Rosemary and Uncle Doug – the ones connected with the train crash – were then living. His mates had just left ‘Mad Frankie’ there. A bit inconsiderate to the neighbours.

No-one outside South East London knew the Richardsons until they were arrested and there was a lot of publicity at their trial about torturing people in a home-made electric chair.

But everyone knew the Krays. As comedian Lee Hurst says, the Blind Beggar must be the biggest pub in the world. Every time you meet a London taxi driver he was in the Blind Beggar the day Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell.

Some people say the Krays wouldn’t have been big if there hadn’t been the shooting in the Blind Beggar. But these days people are getting shot all the time. In the paper yesterday there was a bloke shot in a pub in Yorkshire at lunchtime. I suppose The Krays were setting a trend.

The Krays also had that showbiz thing about them. They actually owned a club;  the actress Barbara Windsor was a girlfriend of Charlie Kray and later married Ronnie Knight who worked for The Krays; and the Conservative politician Lord Bob Boothby, whose mistress had been Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s wife, was having it off with Ronnie, the gay Kray.

The film about The Krays was wrong on almost everything, really. I saw part of it being filmed in Greenwich, which was the wrong place to begin with. They’d done-up this street to look like 1934 when the twins were born and there was a scene where Billie Whitelaw was coming out of a door as their mother. I was watching this scene being shot with a friend. We were sitting in a place called Lil’s Diner, a local cafe, where a lot of lorry drivers go. The director was trying to get it right and first an aeroplane went over, then a lorry drove past and then someone coughed loudly and, on about the 5th or 6th take, he got it right and it was all quiet and the light was right and the sun was out and Billie Whitelaw came out the door with this double pram with two kids in it and one of the lorry drivers yelled out:

“So which one’s the poof, then?”

The director went mad.

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Corrupt cops, sado masochist whippings & how gangster Ronnie Kray described his own dangerous, psychotic feelings

Micky Fawcett remembered  Krayzy Days yesterday

Micky Fawcett in London’s Mayfair yesterday

Yesterday, I had tea at the May Fair Hotel in London with Micky Fawcett whose memoir Krayzy Days has, quite rightly, been called the “definitive” book about iconic 1960s criminals the Kray Twins. Micky was on their ‘firm’.

“At some point after the George Cornell murder in the Blind Beggar pub,” Micky told me, “Ronnie Kray took his entourage – there could have been about 20 of them –  into a pub in Hackney – and a plainclothes policeman was in there and approached him and said Look, Ron, I’m the Old Bill and I know what you’ve been through. Don’t worry. No-one’ll get near you in here. You can use this place, you can do what you like, but I’ll want ‘looking after’ and he told Ronnie how much money he wanted. So, you know what Ronnie did?”

“He hit him?” I suggested.

“No,” said Micky. “He phoned Scotland Yard and told them what had happened. So they then said they had to get Ronnie to be a witness in court against the policeman. So Ronnie went on the run and he hid until it blew over.”

“Did the policeman ever get prosecuted?” I asked.

“It just died out,” said Micky. “What the police were very fond of doing was – I’m not sure what phrase to use – maybe ‘drawing a veil of decency’ over things.”

“As I understand it,” I said, “the Krays’ rivals, the Richardsons, had lots of policemen in their pocket, but the Krays didn’t.”

Ronnie (right) & Reggie Kray as photographed by David Bailey in the 1960s

Ronnie (right) & Reggie Kray  photographed by David Bailey

“The Krays didn’t have any police protection,” said Micky, “but what they did have was nothing to do with money because money wasn’t their thing.

“Their thing was sex. That was their downfall; it was everything. It wasn’t money with them.”

“So the Kray Twins had no influence over the police?” I said.

“Well,” said Micky, “there was this woman called Jamette who owned a club called La Monde in the World’s End in Chelsea and she knew the then Commissioner of Police, Sir Joseph Simpson. He was a masochist and she was a sadist.”

“The perfect relationship,” I said.

The current Wikipedia entry on Sir Joseph Simpson says: Simpson was a fair and tolerant man, but also expected the same high standards of others that he set for himself and was a great believer in discipline. He believed in a more equal police force, where senior officers and lower ranks had a closer relationship.

“Jamette was a horrible, evil woman,” said Micky.

Krayzy Days by Micky Fawcett

Krayzy Days remembered in Micky book

In Micky’s book Krayzy Days, he writes that Jamette “emboldened” the Kray Twins by telling them that this top cop Sir Joseph Simpson was a closet masochist who she would regularly whip and abuse to order and she assured them she could handle him. This same woman was the one who, when Reggie chinned Bimbo Smith knocking his false teeth out, stamped on them, and on her daughter’s 16th birthday asked Ronnie to deflower her. Ronnie duly obliged.

“I suppose,” I said to Micky yesterday, “that the Richardsons were in it for the money and the Krays were in it for the power and the violence.”

“That’s right,” said Micky unexpectedly. “You know who sums it up well? Malcolm Hardee.”

I had given Micky a copy of the late comedian Malcolm Hardee’s autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake.

“I’ve read most of his book,” Micky said. “My son Michael kidnapped the book and I had trouble getting it back off him.”

In his book, Malcolm Hardee says: No-one outside South East London knew the Richardsons until they were arrested and there was a lot of publicity at their trial about torturing people in a home-made electric chair. But everyone knew the Krays. 

Reggie Kray, Micky Fawcett, singer Lita Rosa, Ronnie Kray, actress Barbara Windsor & actor Ronald Fraser

Reggie Kray, Micky Fawcett, singer Lita Rosa, Ronnie Kray, actress Barbara Windsor & actor Ronald Fraser in 1960s

“The Twins,” said Micky yesterday, “had their clubs and were into showbizzy things.”

“There were stories,” I said, “that the Richardsons were paying off at least one Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard. But the Krays were not paying off the police.”

“That’s right,” said Micky. “I mean, they declared war on the police. They hated them. It was like a religion with them. Everybody had to hate the police and when Ronnie Marwood stabbed a policeman with a frogman’s knife, the Twins made a cause célèbre of it. He was hanged for it. They were obsessed by it. There was another guy who got shot by the police in a phone box – he wasn’t crooked, he was a nutcase – but, after he’d been shot, the Twins were trying to find links so they could say Oh, he was a pal of ours. They were anti-Police, anti-Police, anti-Police all the time.”

“So is that why Ronnie phoned up Scotland Yard and told them about the plainclothes copper who wanted a bribe in the Hackney pub?” I asked.

“No,” said Mickey, “Ronnie phoned up Scotland Yard because he was fucking, raving mad. What probably happened was that he was in a paranoid mood.”

Ronnie Kray, boxer Sonny Liston, Micky Fawcett

Ronnie Kray, boxer Sonny Liston, Micky Fawcett in 1960s

“Did you get on the wrong side of him?” I asked.

“In my book,” said Micky, “I tell you. One afternoon, me and a pal of mine were driving along and we saw an old boy we knew – Lenny Stringer. He’d done six years in Dartmoor Prison, but had given it all up; he was a nice old boy and we were going to drop him off in Corporation Street where he lived.

“Suddenly – Ding-a-ling-a-ling – Ding-a-ling-a-ling – bells – and there’s a car in front, a car behind and a car beside us forcing us into the kerb. Then we were jumped on by half a dozen big coppers who grabbed us and put us in different cars. I looked down at the floor of the police car and saw a crow bar wrapped in brown paper and thought They’re going to say that’s mine.

“So, at the police station, I said those legendary words What’s it all about, guv? and this Welsh copper told me: The manor will be a bit fucking quieter without you: that’s what it’s all about. It cost us £200, we had to plead guilty for possession of crowbars and my pal and I each got three months in prison – they let Lenny Stringer go.

“I got the three months and appealed, knowing we’d have to plead guilty later. You used to be able to appeal in the Magistrates’, say I want to go to the Sessions and, just before you got there, drop your appeal. It gave you time to get all your things in order.

“So, that night, I walked into the Kentucky Club (owned by the Krays) and Ronnie was in there.

“I told him We got three months each today. Lenny Stringer got off.

“And Ronnie went Why you telling me this, Mick?

“And I said What, Ron?

“And he said You told me a different name before. You’re sounding me out, aren’t you, Mick?

“And I said N-n-no. No, Ron, what?

“And he said: You’re sounding me out. You think I’m a grass, don’t you? A lot of people are going round saying we’re grasses, me and Reggie.

“And I said: No, I dunno what you… I…

“And he said: Yes you do...

“And I said: I don’t th… I… Honestly, Ron…

“At that moment, someone else walked in and he said Hello to Ron and I went out the door – gone – quick.

Vallance Road, home of the Kray Twins

“Mick, I want to have a word with you”

“The next night, half a dozen of us were in the (Krays’) house in Vallance Road and Ronnie said: Mick, I want to have a word with you. So Reggie and the others all went off to the Kentucky Club and Ronnie said to me: You and me will walk down together.

“And he told me: I’m sorry about last night, Mick. The words will stay in my head forever. He said: You must think I’m a right prat, don’t you? A word I’d never heard him use.

“He said: I’ll tell you what it is, Mick. I’ve been experimenting with not taking my medication. I’ve taken it now. I’ll try and explain to you. It’s like a haze. I can’t tell you. It’s like I’m living in a fog. I can’t work things out. I can’t understand things. I’ve got the pills here. Look.

“I said: Oh, yeah. They were Stelazine – an anti-psychotic drug. He’d already been in and been certified.

“He said: Do you want one?

“So I took one of the pills and swallowed it. I took it in case, if I refused, he’d say Oh! You think I’m trying to poison you! and it all started up again. I took the pill and that was the end of that.”

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Krayzy Days – Why London gangster Ronnie Kray really shot George Cornell inside the Blind Beggar pub in 1966

(A version of this piece was also published on the Indian news site WSN)

I Stole Freddie Mercy’sBirthday Cake

Malcolm Hardee iconic autobiography

Towards the start of comedian Malcolm Hardee’s autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake, this passage appears:

______________________________

There was a club in Catford called The Witchdoctor. It was a club we all went to although they didn’t sell drink. Downstairs there was ‘Mr Smiths’ – a gambling casino….

Eddie Richardson was involved in a big shooting at Mr Smith’s, underneath The Witchdoctor. It was a inter-gang thing. They all met down the gaming club and this bloke got shot and was bleeding all over the place from an artery. ‘Mad Frankie’ Fraser (the Richardson’s infamous ‘enforcer’) hit a bloke who subsequently died and ‘Mad Frankie’ himself was shot in the thigh. He got outside and the police found him lying in a front garden round the corner in Fordel Road, Catford, where my Aunt Rosemary and Uncle Doug were then living. His mates had just left ‘Mad Frankie’ there. A bit inconsiderate to the neighbours. 

No-one outside South East London knew the Richardsons until they were arrested and there was a lot of publicity at their trial about torturing people in a home-made electric chair. 

But everyone knew The Krays. As comedian Lee Hurst says, the Blind Beggar must be the biggest pub in the world. Every time you meet a London taxi driver he says he was in the Blind Beggar the day Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell.

Some people say the Krays wouldn’t have been big if there hadn’t been the shooting in the Blind Beggar. But these days people are getting shot all the time. In the paper yesterday there was a bloke shot in a pub in Yorkshire at lunchtime. I suppose The Krays were setting a trend.

The Krays also had that showbiz thing about them. They actually owned a club;  the actress Barbara Windsor was a girlfriend of Charlie Kray and later married Ronnie Knight who worked for The Krays; and the Conservative politician Lord Bob Boothby, whose mistress had been Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s wife, was having it off with Ronnie, the gay Kray.

______________________________________________________

Micky Fawcett in the May Fair Hotel yesterday

Micky Fawcett in the May Fair Hotel, London, yesterday

Yesterday, I had tea at the May Fair Hotel in London with former Kray Twins associate Micky Fawcett.

His new book Krayzy Days is that rare thing – a totally true insight into what it was like being with the Kray Twins – Ronnie & Reggie –  and their brother Charlie.

“Did the Kray Twins have a sense of humour?” I asked.

“Ronnie had a very good sense of humour,” Micky told me, “Reggie had no sense of humour, but Ronnie did.”

“What type?” I asked. “Black humour?”

“Yes,” said Micky. “Black humour.”

“Or maybe black and blue,” I suggested.

“He was an Oscar Wilde type,” mused Micky. “I’m not saying he was witty, but he would have loved Oscar Wilde. The way Oscar Wilde used to carry on.”

“Because he felt he was clever and superior?” I asked.

Ronnie Kray, boxer Sonny Liston, Micky Fawcett

Ronnie Kray (left) with boxer Sonny Liston & Micky Fawcett

“Well, Ronnie felt superior,” Micky agreed. “He was called The Colonel. He thought he was superior to everything and everybody. As I say in my book, I was round the Twins’ house one day and somebody dropped in a copy of Private EyeIt was about ‘Knacker of The Yard’ (Private Eye’s name for un-named policemen) and all that – I can’t remember exactly what it was about. But Ronnie read it and laughed for the rest of the day.

“He used to describe himself as ‘a well-known thug and poof’.”

“But,” I said, “he took exception when George Cornell called him a poof.”

“No, that’s…” said Micky.

“When Ronnie shot him in the Blind Beggar pub,” I added.

The Blind Beggar pub in London

The Blind Beggar pub in London

“Well,” said Micky, “in the book I tell the true reason for that. It has nothing to do with homosexuality at all. It’s in the book. I was visiting someone in Dartmoor Prison. But, the day before the Blind Beggar shooting, there was the big tear-up at Mr Smith’s in Catford.”

“That’s the one mentioned in Malcolm Hardee’s autobiography,” I said.

“Yes,” said Micky. “Everybody was Whoa! Did you hear that? Whoa! My God! and all that. Frank Fraser finished up with a bullet in his leg in that front garden. It was a big tear-up between the Richardsons and another local ‘firm’.

“The following evening, I was going to Dartmoor, so I went over to the Regency club to meet the fellah I was going with – the Regency being a club in Hackney frequented by the Krays, who had a small share in it. People think they owned it, but the Barry family owned it.

“When I got to the Regency, I saw Reggie outside and he said: What about the news! Reggie was a very uptight sort of fellah. He never hardly showed his emotions. But he grabbed hold of me and he was waltzing me round on the pavement saying: What about it, Mick? Wasn’t it great? The Richardsons had been arrested.

“But I didn’t feel very elated by it at all. They had never done anything to me and, as I came away, I thought to myself: I’ve a feeling now that the next thing is going to be them (The Krays). Once these things get underway, the police nick everybody. The Richardsons had been arrested, but it wasn’t something to celebrate.

“I met my pal. We went to Dartmoor Prison. Visited a fellah down there. Frank Mitchell was on the visit as well. When we used to go to Dartmoor, we’d get my mate out and say to the screw (the prison guard): Can you get Frank Mitchell too? and he’d get Frank Mitchell.”

Nine months later, ‘Mad Axeman’ Frank Mitchell was sprung from Dartmoor Prison by the Kray Twins and subsequently murdered on their orders when they found out he really was uncontrollably mad.

“Frank Mitchell would come for a chat at Dartmoor,” explained Micky, “because he didn’t have any visitors of his own. He’d sit down and say to the screw: You look after him, cos he’s a friend of mine and I’m telling you, if you don’t... and the screw would say Alright, Frank, alright. OK, Frank, keep calm... That’s a fact. They were good experiences when I look back.

“Anyway, we come home to London and, early in the morning, I got a newspaper and it said: MAN SHOT DEAD IN THE BLIND BEGGAR PUB. So I get on the phone straight away to Charlie Kray. He says: Meet me outside Mile End station. So I go straight there and I can remember it as if it was yesterday.

George Cornell in a police photo

George Cornell in a police photo

“I said to him: Reggie? and he said No, Ronnie. I said Yeah? He said Yeah. What’s happened, Mick… you know that turn-out down there…”

(Micky and I agreed that, for the rest of the exact detail of this story, you will have to buy Micky’s book… He’s no fool and I am not going to argue with him. So there is a section of our conversation missing here… Micky then continued…)

“So he’s going to throw a petrol bomb into Freddie Foreman’s pub.

“And Charlie Kray told me I wish you’d been here, Mick, because you’d have been the obvious choice to send over because I would have liaised – I used to – but they sent Nobby and he’s come back and gone Oh, it’s all off again! Murders! We’ve gotta do something! They’re going to burn Fred’s pub down!

“And Ronnie’s gone What? And Ronnie’s got all excited, cos he’s mad and he’s gone Give me a shooter! Right! Right! Let’s have a drive round and see if we… and he’s gone into the Blind Beggar and Boom! and that’s it. Just cos Cornell was one of them, cos he was associated with the Richardsons.

“I got on well with Georgie Cornell. He came from Stepney but was very friendly with the Richardsons in South London. He wasn’t 100% with them all the time. And all kinds of strange stories have gone on about why he was shot.

Krayzy Days by Micky Fawcett

Micky Fawcett’s new myth-busting book

“The strangest of them all is that Georgie Cornell gave Ronnie a terrible beating on some previous occasion. John Pearson says it in his book. But the fellah who told Pearson is a terrible liar.”

“Is he alive?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“Well I’m not going to print that he’s a terrible liar, am I?” I said. “He might take it amiss.”

“Don’t worry about him,” Micky told me. “He’d have trouble getting out of his armchair.”

“There are so many stories,” I said to Micky: “The comedian Lee Hurst used to say that the Blind Beggar must be the biggest pub in the world because, every time you met any London taxi driver, he would claim he was in there the night Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell.”

“Well,” Micky told me, “in the pub that night there really was this fellah called George The Fib.”

“Is he violent, is he still alive and does he live near me?” I asked.

“You’re OK,” said Micky, “he’s dead. But he was called George The Fib cos he was known for lying about everything so, when he told people he had been in the Blind Beggar the night of the shooting, no-one would believe him. He was going around afterwards saying What about that turn-out? I was in there that night… but no-one would believe him. The Old Bill didn’t even interview him.”

Krayzy Days indeed,” I said.

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Krayzy Days – the Kray Twins, bombs, Monty Python and police corruption

(A version of this piece was also published on the Indian news site WSN)

Krayzy Days by Micky Fawcett

The Krays – they were idiots & amusing

“We were going to kill Reggie Kray. I had a .38 revolver and we were waiting for him late one night….”

That is the first line in Micky Fawcett’s extraordinary memoir Krayzy Days about the era of London ‘gangsters’ the Kray Twins. I met him yesterday at the May Fair Hotel in London.

“The first time I came here was with Sonny Liston,” he said, when we met.

Micky was born in 1937 in London’s East End. “But I’ve never really got on that well with Eastenders,” he told me. “I don’t like the culture. I’m not a very good mixer.

“I passed the 11-plus exam, but I didn’t like schooling. I took up schoolboy boxing and had loads of jobs, some just for a day – you could just walk in and out of jobs then, just for a day. Eventually, I got a job on a fruit stall – a barrowboy – and I quite liked that. It was in Aldgate, which was a great place in the 1950s.

“In those days, barrowboys ruled the world. Families ran big fruit stalls around Upton Park. They were bullies, criminals, flash, they had big cars. It was a bit like New York at the start of the 20th century. I got to know a few of the lads round there… They used to go to various pubs and clubs around and one of the places was a club in Bow Road called The Double R.”

It was called The Double R because it was owned by Reggie & Ronnie Kray, the now-iconic London gangsters.

“I spent a good ten years associating with them,” Micky told me. “I was very, very involved with the Twins but, when they shot Georgie Cornell, that was it for me. I’d had enough of the madness. Before that, I’d thoroughly enjoyed it. It was like being in a film. I wasn’t doing it for money. Yeah, Get enough money to go out tonight. But it was like good fun. Great fun. Big men in cars driving up and down the Mile End Road.”

“You were in your twenties?” I asked.

Reggie Kray, Micky Fawcett, singer Lita Rosa, Ronnie Kray, actress Barbara Windsor & actor Ronald Fraser

Reggie Kray, Micky Fawcett, singer Lita Rosa, Ronnie Kray, actress Barbara Windsor and actor Ronald Fraser in 1960s

“Yes,” said Micky. “It went on until 1966, when Cornell got shot. But I was getting fed up with the Twins before that. I knew they were going to reach a limit and I couldn’t see what they were going to do once they got past that. They didn’t have the ability. They were terrible judges of character. You couldn’t tell them anything. You couldn’t advise them, unless they came to you. Reggie’s wife was seeing another fellah just before she married him and he came to me about that. I handled it and I got on very, very friendly with the Twins, but they were…”

“You said they wanted to be something more than what they were capable of being,” I interrupted. “What did they want to be?”

“They wanted to be the Al Capones of London,” said Micky. “They were hooked on publicity. I’ve been involved in the boxing game as a manager, so I know the feeling when you drive up in the middle of the night to buy Sunday’s papers to see what they’re saying about the night before. I understand that. But the Twins were so hooked on it and you must always remember that Ronnie was insane. Completely raving mad. Totally insane and I never used to stop laughing day and night. It was hilarious.”

“But occasionally violent,” I said.

“Yes, I’ve been in some bad fights and shootings and stabbings and I’ve been wrongly arrested for bombing,” said Micky.

“Because…?” I asked.

“I had a fight with a family called the Tibbs,” he explained.

“It’s possibly unwise to have a fight with the Tibbs,” I said.

“Well,” said Micky, “it was unwise of them to have a fight with me. And there was another family called the Bennetts before the Tibbs, where somebody got shot and somebody else got stabbed and that sort of thing.”

“But, at some point,” I said, “you got wrongly arrested for a bombing.”

“Oh yes,” said Mickey, “and I was arrested for a shooting ten years after it happened.”

“Was that one of the Tibbs?” I asked.

“No, the Bennetts,” said Mickey. “I didn’t shoot him. The feller I was with shot him. I was in the fight. I had a knife and he had a gun… I have to say I’m really not into putting that about and saying Oh, I done this and I done that. I’m genuinely not into that at all. But you asked and these things happened. Maybe that’s why I don’t like the East End very much. There’s always somebody wants to have a go at you. It’s not that friendly old East End image.”

“So who was bombed?” I persisted.

“It’s all in the book,” said Micky. “I had the most intensive efforts to arrest me. I was actually in Brixton Prison, charged with attempted murder. Then I was arrested again and went to Belgium for a while. Then I came back and was arrested at the airport on a warrant  for causing explosions with intent. That was dropped.

“What was happening was that the Tibbs family were getting bombed and they couldn’t get their hands on me, so they were screaming their heads off to the police. They had the police straight. They were metal dealers and, in those days, metal dealers always had the police straight.”

“The Richardsons were scrap metal dealers, weren’t they?” I asked.

“Yes. They had the Old Bill (the police) straight as well,” said Micky. “There was a metal firm at Bromley-by-Bow and the police used to get jobs there. He used to give them jobs, then that safeguarded him because, in those days – it wasn’t that long after the War – there was loads of scrap metal around. So they could go out, collect all the scrap metal, take it to the dealer and, if he employed policemen, the dealer didn’t have to worry about getting turned over by the police. His Head of Security would be an ex-Chief Inspector or something.”

“Police corruption never changes,” I said.

Ronnie Kray, boxer Sonny Liston, Micky Fawcett

Ronnie Kray, boxer Sonny Liston, Micky Fawcett in 1960s

“No,” said Micky. “The Twins had wanted to sign up young Jimmy Tibbs, who was a very good boxer and his father came to me and said Mick, can you do anything for us? He told me I had a lorry load of whisky in the yard the other night – stolen, obviously – but I didn’t have much to worry about, because I had a police squad car outside, minding it for me all night. You can’t beat people like that.

“So, when I had the row with the Tibbs family, I had a row with the Metropolitan Police as well – a section of them. Eventually, I had a fight with one of the Tibbs and he got his throat cut. So they wanted to kill me and they’re chasing round attacking people who had nothing to do with it, smashing into people I don’t even know. Then there were a few serious attempts on them. A bomb was placed in the yard; another bomb was under Jimmy Tibbs’ motor car.”

“And it went off?” I asked.

“Oh yes,” said Micky. “Serious attempts. Bombs going off. And a few shootings. Teddy Machin got shot and killed. Micky Machin got shot. Then I was arrested and alleged to have been the instigator of the whole thing. It came back to me that the Tibbs had said Our Old Bill will fit him up with ten sticks of gelignite when they get their hands on him.

“I’d already been fitted up twice by the Old Bill. Once after we had a row with the Bennetts, when a feller got shot. Me and another guy were going along in the car one day… Police cars with bells going… We’re boxed in and dragged out, slung in the back of a police car… and they gave me an iron bar, celluloid, stockings for masks… and they said they found them all in my car.”

“Did you go down for that?” I asked.

“We were in West Ham police station and a friend of mine said to me in a bit of Romany, a bit of Yiddish, a bit of rhyming slang, he said to me We’ve got nothing to worry about. We’ve had a talk and we’ll bung ‘em £200 and they’ll leave it as Being in Possession of Offensive Weapons – a 3 month sentence – not being charged with Conspiring To Rob – a 5 year sentence. So we gave them the £200, did the three months and that was that.”

“Why did you write the book?” I asked.

“I’m 76 on Thursday and you start looking back a bit and thinking I wonder why this? and I wonder why that?

Entrepreneur Steve Wraith and Micky Fawcett recently

Entrepreneur Steve Wraith (left) and Micky Fawcett recently

“For literally years, I’d been annoyed by the books I had read about the Krays and the things people said: glorifying them, building them up. It’s ridiculous. Reading all the rubbish that had been written, motivated me to write my book. I wanted to write a book saying what idiots the Twins really were. And how amusing.

Monty Python and Michael Palin did a brilliant… That nail-the-head-to-the-floor thing came from headlines in the Daily Mirror. But it was a foot that was nailed to the floor and it was the Richardsons. They did it with a knife to a feller. But the Krays were getting the blame for it.”

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