Joseph Henry Gaines spent many a day in the eighties visiting Broadmoor hospital to visit Ronnie Kray and sometimes Ron’s dear friend Charlie Smith.
Taking Wilf Pine out of the equation there is probably not a man alive who has visited Ron Kray in Broadmoor more times than Joe.
In fact Ron was going to be Joe’s godfather back in 1968 but was arrested before the baptism took place.
On one visit Joe explains that he and Ronnie were having a joke about a book that was just about to be released, somewhere in the conversation Joe mentioned that there should be a book about what would have happened if Ron and Reg would been acquitted at their trial.
That conversation was how this book came to be, just a laugh and a joke and a casual mention and now years later the book is complete.
Gaines has used all his knowledge about the twins and the crime scene of London to create what he thinks would have been an accurate documentation of how their lives would have turned out.
“What were twins like?”
They were two crazy bastards, make no bones about, if they came for you they did it together, they did everything together, if they had the hump with you, then go away...
Who was the most dangerous?
They were both dangerous! It depends on the situation, Ron would just go for you anyplace, anytime while Reg might do you cunningly, shake your hand or ask you for a word outside then stab you in the belly.
Joseph Henry Gaines
About the author
Joseph Henry Gaines (not his real name) was born into the criminal world. His father worked with the Kray’s in various business matters. The world he was brought up in was a constant battle for survival. Times on the run, times visiting his father and uncles in prison, times where he and his mother lived on the breadline, times where they took holidays in Las Vegas, New York and Monte Carlo.
It was not what would be commonly known as a normal ‘childhood’. “Some Dad’s took their sons fishing at the week-end, my Dad got me in the Rolls Royce or Maserati and took me on the rounds to the pubs and spiels where he picked up money, sometimes he would bung me a fiver, sometimes I would see him chin someone, whatever it was, it was good fun”. but then on the other hand there were of plenty of times at week-ends I would be off to visit dad in Brixton or the Scrubs.
When Gaines was a teenager in the eighties he began to carve out his own reputation, money was pouring in and he frequently travelled to places like New York, Johannesburg and Spain where he had numerous bits of business going on.
Gaines when in the UK would also visit Ronnie Kray as often as he could, Ronnie was being held in Broadmoor hospital which had different visiting guidelines than prisons, in fact he could have two visits a day, every day. So Gaines who now lived in surrey which was about thirty minutes’ drive from Broadmoor often stuck his head in to see Uncle Ron, as he calls him.
Gaines also knew Tony Lambrianou very well, in fact when Tony finished his prison sentence he worked and socialised with Gaines. “ I remember once where we was having some agro with the Africans who ran the illegal mini cabs outside the clubs in the west end, we put it on them really, sort of muscled in and told them they have to pay us, so one thing led to another and it started to get a bit heated, we sent Tony down there to see them one night and that was that, next week we picked up our money, then every Friday night it was payday!”
Gaines is now a successful businessman; he has had his wars with other Firms and done his bit of bird and still lives on the borders of south London where his house is usually like a clubhouse for all the boys on the manor.
It is with this first-hand knowledge and the understanding of how things were in London over the last few decades that he brings this story to life.
“To know Ron and Reg well, you have to have lived in their shoes a bit” Gaines says, it’s okay writing fiction about them, but you need to have experienced the highs and lows and the colossal contradictions that living this kind of life brings you.
One minute you are fighting for your life, it could be the old bill looking to lock you up and throw away the key or it could be another gang who want you out the way. You get used to living like this, it becomes natural. I remember once where some guys were brought in from Spain to have a go at us, we had the threats and was told what they was going to do, so we had no other choice other than move our families to somewhere safe, and then live on the streets, where we have to get them first, before they get us. At the time the stress is unbearable, you can’t eat, sleep, you’re not functioning right. Every morning you are out the door by six, tooled up to eyeballs hunting people who are hunting you and trying not to get nicked! But the funny thing is, when it’s all over and six months down the line you look back at them times and think, ‘I miss it, I miss the excitement, I miss living life right on the edge.
Gaines has been asked a few times to write his own story but he has refused and replied that maybe when he ninety years old he might write a book.
It’s the kray’s idea that excites him now and with all his experience he says he is enjoying the writing and reliving some of the memories.
He has three more books in his mind and is also in conversations with a few producers about the possibility of turning the books into a film.
“But if this is going to be a film then it’s got to be how the twins truly were, how they acted and how they felt, I want people to see exactly what they was all about, sure they were wicked bastards but that’s the life we live in, doesn’t matter if you live on the streets or the corridors of parliament, somewhere, someone is plotting to take everything you have.
It’s a dog eat dog world, always has been and sadly, probably always will be.”
Doubts and criticism can have two effects.
They can destroy you, or they can fuel you with determination.
If you want me beat then pat me on the head.
Slander me… and I turn into the North wind.
I never stop!
For my three sons… you are the apple of my eye.
My past, present and future.
Whatever I do, it is all for you.