Reggie Kray sent home to die

Dying East End gangster Reggie Kray is reported to be "overjoyed" after Home Secretary Jack Straw ruled today that he should be freed from jail on compassionate grounds.

Dying East End gangster Reggie Kray is reported to be "overjoyed" after Home Secretary Jack Straw ruled today that he should be freed from jail on compassionate grounds.

Mr Straw took the decision following confirmation from a hospital consultant that the 66-year-old is gravely ill and his life expectancy is a matter of weeks, according to the Home Office.

A spokesman said they were satisfied there was no risk of him committing further offences.

The former crime lord, who has spent the last 32 years in jail, is undergoing treatment for cancer of the bladder at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and is said to still be conscious.

His lawyers said yesterday he had "days rather than weeks" to live and appealed for him to be allowed to go home to die.

Kray was moved to the hospital three weeks ago from Wayland Prison near Watton, Norfolk, where he is serving a life sentence for murder.

His lawyer, Trevor Linn, had written to Mr Straw requesting compassionate release to allow him the "dignity to die in peace at home".

He said his client's condition was terminal as the cancer was inoperable and would not respond to chemotherapy.

But he said Kray hoped to leave soon to enjoy his freedom and to be reunited with his wife, family and friends: "We are all clearly delighted for both Reggie and Roberta and their immediate circle of family and friends. Reggie was given the news by a prison governor ... and is overjoyed."

Prisoners can apply for compassionate release under section 36 of the 1991 Criminal Justice Act, but they must meet strict criteria showing they have an exceptional case.

Kray's wife, Roberta, 41, has been a constant presence at his bedside. The couple married while Kray was a prisoner and she lives near the prison.

Kray, who comes from Bethnal Green, and his twin brother Ronnie ruled the London underworld from 1957 until they were sentenced to prison in 1969 for the murder of rivals Jack "The Hat" McVitie and George Cornell.

Ronnie Kray died in prison in 1995. Another brother, Charlie, 73, died in April while serving a sentence for drug dealing.

A Home Office spokeswoman said Kray's release could in theory take place today but the date had not been finalised. It would, however, happen "extremely quickly".

It is thought he will try to return home rather than remain in hospital after his release - but Anne Osborn, acting chief executive of the Norfolk and Norwich, said he was currently too ill to leave.

Roberta Kray was planning to meet the prison governor this morning to discuss the terms of the release.

Family friend Maureen Flannigan said: "We are pleased that he is coming home and are looking forward to seeing him over the next few days. Unfortunately he can't even come home to a brother because his two brothers are dead."

Mrs Flannigan said although reports of Reggie's condition were gloomy, she was hopeful that he would battle on a little longer: "Reggie Kray has always been a fighter - it could be weeks but let's hope it is months. We would all love a party to welcome him back."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future