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Friday, February 12, 1999 Published at 13:37 GMT


UK

Kray's appeal rejected

Kray had hoped his sentence would be halved

Charlie Kray, elder brother of former London gangsters Ronnie and Reggie, has had his appeal for early release from jail turned down by the High Court.

Kray, 72, of Sanderstead, was found guilty in June 1997 of masterminding a £39m cocaine deal. He was given a 12-year sentence at London's Woolwich Crown Court.

Kray's appeal was rejected by three judges at London's Law Courts. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, Mr Justice Ian Kennedy and Mr Justice Jackson said Kray would be allowed to appeal on the length of his sentence after serving half of it.

His plea for mercy on the grounds of age was rejected by the court, which said his sentence was "justified".

Mr Justice Ian Kennedy said it would be "open to the Secretary of State to release a prisoner on compassionate grounds".

Support for Kray

Kray has said he will raise his case with the Home Secretary Jack Straw, and the European Court of Human Rights.

Jonathan Goldberg, Kray's barrister said he would be writing to the home secretary and said of his client: "He had many people speaking about his gentle and charming character."

Les Martin, liason officer for the Charlie Kray Appreciation Society said Kray had thought his sentence would be cut by half, and that he could be out in 18 months' time.

"He will be gutted," he said. "I am very disappointed. Charlie is innocent in all of this and was targeted by police just because he was a Kray.

"If he wasn't, he would have his sentence cut. Everyone has just got it in for him."

'He could die in jail'

A close friend of Kray, Maureen Flanagan, 58, Britain's first page three girl, said she was worried about his health.

"I am just shocked and very upset. I fear for his health and am worried he could die in jail," she said.

Kray had claimed he was the victim of a "sting" operation by police because he was a Kray. He denied involvement with drugs.

The court rejected his application for leave to appeal against conviction last year, but in November he was he given permission to make an appeal.





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09 Nov 98†|†UK
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