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Judith Maloney reports
"The Kray name became synonymous with the criminal underworld"
 real 28k

Jon Holden reports
"Kray helped build the family's crime empire"
 real 28k

Malcom Hunter, hospital general manager
"His condition deteriorated on Monday"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 4 April, 2000, 23:10 GMT 00:10 UK
Gangster Charlie Kray dies
Charlie Kray
Charlie Kray: In jail for drugs plot
Infamous gangster Charlie Kray has died aged 73 in hospital on the Isle of Wight.

Friends and family including common law wife Diane Buffini were at his bedside in St Mary's Hospital. Brother Reggie had visited him earlier on Tuesday.

Charlie, an inmate at Parkhurst prison, was taken to hospital after suffering chest pains.

reggie
Reggie Kray: Hospital visit
He was serving 12 years for his part in a drugs plot.

The elder brother of gangster twins Ronnie and Reggie, Charlie was seen as the quiet one of the trio who brought terror to London in the 1960s.

The landlord of the Blind Beggar Pub in Whitechapel Road in the East End, a notorious Kray haunt where gangster Jack 'The Hat' McVitie met his death, was said to be "very sad" about the death.

Peter Ferdinando, 62, who has run the pub for 18 years, was a friend of Ronnie and Reggie Kray and an acquaintance of Charlie.

'Decent bloke'

Currently ill with pneumonia, he said through his son, Peter Jun: "Charlie Kray was no gangster, he was just a very, very nice man.

"It was a shame that towards the end of his career he got roped into drugs because he was short for cash.

ronnie
Ronnie Kray: Died in Broadmoor
"The worst of it is that he then had to spend the rest of his life in jail.

"It really is a pity because he was a decent bloke."

Sean Stanley, 17, son of Charlie's former girlfriend Judy Stanley, said the gangster was "such a nice man".

"People had an expectation of him because of his surname, but all he wanted was to have a peaceful life."

Kray was jailed for 10 years in 1969 for helping his brothers get rid of the body of McVitie.

Protection rackets

After coming out of prison, in 1975, he lived in Benidorm and tried to build a property development business.

Police believed, though, that he was a lifelong criminal, and that he was linked variously to amphetamine production, counterfeit videotapes and fake pound coins, while underworld whispers connected him to protection rackets.

In June 1997, he was found guilty of masterminding a 39m cocaine plot and jailed for 12 years.

He was convicted of offering to supply the drug to undercover police officers and also of supplying 2kg of the drug worth 63,500.

parkhursxt
Parkhurst: Kray was serving 12 years
His brother Reggie, still serving more than 30 years for the murder of McVitie, visited Charlie earlier on Tuesday after a sharp deterioration in Charlie's health.

Reggie, 66, was transferred to Parkhurst, from Wayland Prison in Norfolk, eastern England, to be closer to his brother.

Ronnie Kray died of a heart attack aged 62 in Broadmoor in 1995.

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04 Apr 00 | UK
Charlie: The quiet Kray
12 Feb 99 | UK
Kray's appeal rejected
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