At the end, there were a lot of tears, jeers, and a few sets of cauliflower ears. The fan club was there yesterday to see 70-year-old Charles Kray, the grand old man of the London underworld, sent off to jail for 12 years for masterminding a pounds 39m cocaine plot
Kray, of Sanderstead in south London, was arrested after falling for a police sting in which he had offered to supply massive amounts of the drug to undercover officers. The proposed transaction had been secretly taped.
Before being led down to the cells, Kray once again protested his innocence. He said: "All my life I have advised people, particularly young people, never to be involved in drugs. I swear on my son's life I have never handled drugs in my life. The juries have got it wrong for me before and this jury has got it wrong."
Friends and fellow villains fear the lengthy sentence means all three brothers of the gangland family could die behind bars. Ronnie died two years ago, while Reggie is said to be pessimistic of getting parole from his life sentence.
But Charles Kray's partner, Judy Stanley, is certain that he will survive incarceration. The 42-year-old daughter of a South London headmaster said outside Woolwich Crown Court, in south-east London: "We will appeal. It is absolutely right. There are no grounds for conviction or the entrapment. Twelve years is a long time, but Charlie will be fine. He will be very strong. He is a very strong man and he will deal with it. He just has to hold on for the next few months before the appeal."
Kray was unanimously convicted on two counts. He was found guilty of offering to supply five kilogrammes of high-purity cocaine every fortnight for two years, and also of actually supplying two kilogrammes of the drug. Over the period it would have netted Kray pounds 8m.
Two of Kray's accomplices who had earlier pleaded guilty were also sentenced yesterday. Ronald Field, 50, of Raynes Park, south-west London, who admitted the two offences Kray denied received nine years.
Robert Gould, of Wimbledon, south London, who admitted supplying two kilogrammes of cocaine, was sentenced to five years.
In l969, Kray was convicted of being an accessory to the murder of Jack "The Hat" McVitie. Since coming out of prison in l974, the police believe he had been involved in constant villainy.
Over the years various law agencies had targeted him no less than a dozen times. This was, for Kray, the unlucky 13th.
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