Gangster’s letters to go to auction

Auctineer Gary Don pictured with letters sent by gangster Reggie Kray, Leeds... 24th October 2011.... Picture by Simon Hulme
Auctineer Gary Don pictured with letters sent by gangster Reggie Kray, Leeds... 24th October 2011.... Picture by Simon Hulme

A SERIES of prison letters from a notorious gangster to an un-known Wyke woman are to go under the hammer.

Cockney hard man Reggie Kray spent about a year corresponding with the woman in her 20s, known only as Jane, during the late 1980s.

They exchanged letters and photographs and she visited him several times.

Now his letters and gifts, which include a teddy bear and a drawing of a deserted beach, are to be auctioned in Leeds next month.

In one of his letters, Kray wrote that his ambition was to go on a world cruise. He also asked Jane to send him a photograph of herself in a bikini and said his favourite band was Dire Straits.

He tells Jane she is a ‘very attractive person’, saying ‘I can imagine you have a personality to match your looks which makes you special, so I can see why your boyfriend is attracted to you. He looks a nice fellow and I note his fingernails are well kept which is good.

“If he has no objections we can at a later date arrange for you to visit me in the company of my best friend. I will arrange to pay your expenses. Does he know you have written to me? Give him my best wishes. Love, your friend Reg.”

In another he thanks Jane for sending him a Valentine’s card, saying: “Your card gave me a nice warm feeling. You know, something tells me you and I are going to get on real fine.”

Kray and his twin brother, Ronnie, were infamous in the East End of London during the 1950s and 1960s, engaging in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, torture and murder.

They were both sentenced to life in prison in 1969, with schizophrenic Ronnie being sent to Broadmoor Hospital where he died in 1995.

Suffering from cancer, Reggie was released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000. He died eight weeks later.

Auctioneer Gary Don said Jane, who wanted to remain anonymous, felt it was time to let go of the letters and gifts and move on.

He said the ongoing fascination with the Kray twins meant the letters should fetch more than their reserve price of £300.

He said: “I was quite surprised when she came in – she is an ordinary, everyday woman.

“You don’t get things like this every day and we had to think long and hard about whether we wanted to sell them but the fact that he is no longer here means he becomes history. The letters show another side to him and we thought it would be interesting that these things come into the public domain.”

He said he expected a lot of interest in the letters, which were in a lot with more than 1,000 celebrity signatures, including Laurel and Hardy’s.

The auction takes place on November 1 at Gary Don Auctioneers, Leeds.