Fraser sets the record 'straight' for pub tourists

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The Independent Online

Sitting under a sun umbrella in the beer garden of The Blind Beggar, the East End pub where Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell, "Mad" Frankie Fraser was putting a group of tourists straight on what led to the murder.

Sitting under a sun umbrella in the beer garden of The Blind Beggar, the East End pub where Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell, "Mad" Frankie Fraser was putting a group of tourists straight on what led to the murder.

"He didn't call him a big fat poof," insisted the notorious gangster, referring to the notorious comment allegedly made by Cornell. The pair had words, said Fraser, but "poof" wasn't one of them. "George wasn't the sort of man to speak like that," he said.

The Blind Beggar is one of the stops on Fraser's East End Gangland Tour, set up in response to the enormous interest the Krays and their peers still generate. "I'm happy Reggie's been released but it should have been 20 years ago," said Fraser, 77, who heard from his ailing friend over the weekend. "Everyone in the East End loved the Krays. No woman got mugged, and no children were tampered with."

It was a view, undoubtedly romanticised, shared by many drinkers. Doll Frost, 72, who was tucking into Sunday lunch with her friends, said the area regarded the twins as heroes. "You were safer on the street. I'm very pleased Reggie's got out, but it should have happened a long time ago," said Ms Frost, who met the Krays at one of their clubs.

Her friend, who remembered dancing with Jack "The Hat" McVitie - later murdered by Reggie - agreed. "He should have been released way back. He's done his time. I've never known anyone talk badly of them."

Jeff Bailey, 39, who works in the building trade, had come to the pub in the hope of meeting Fraser. "It was unjust keeping Reggie in that long when there are paedophiles and rapists getting away with it. The Krays and Frankie only ever harmed their own. It's wrong to be inside that long. I admire that fact that they had the gall to find money the way they did. They only took money from people who could afford to loose it."

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