Kray's funeral follows tradition

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The Independent Online

Crime Correspondent

A horse-drawn hearse is expected to head a traditional East End funeral next Wednesday for the former gangland leader Ronnie Kray.

The mourners, who will include many of the capital's leading criminals of yesteryear, will be led by Ronnie's twin brother, Reggie.

The Prison Service confirmed yesterday that Reggie will be allowed out of Maidstone jail for the service. He is serving a life sentence for murder and will be accompanied by three guards.

Ronnie, 61, a convicted killer, died of heart failure in hospital last week after being transferred from Broadmoor high security hospital where he was being treated for schizophrenia.

As befits a man who during his life adored attention, the cortge is expected to travel through many of the twins' old haunts, including the site of their former home in Vallance Road, Bethnal Green.

Reggie and his older brother, Charlie, have issued an open invitation for people to attend the service at St Matthew's Church, Bethnal Green.

The burial will take place later in the day at Chingford Mount Cemetery, a few miles away. The last time Reggie was allowed out of prison was in 1983 with Ronnie for the funeral of their mother, Violet. His wife, Frances, is also buried there. The procession is expected to draw crowds as the name of Kray still retains its notoriety.

Meanwhile, the coroner who carried out Ronnie Kray's inquest is standing by his decision to hold it alone at his home. Robert Wilson, the coroner for east Berkshire, took less than three minutes to return his verdict of "natural causes". Reggie Kray claims there is "conflicting" evidence about the cause of his twin brother's death and believes he may have died after a "struggle".

Mr Wilson held the inquest without informing the public - a decision which several lawyers believe is unlawful.