I was friends with Reggie Kray in prison – here's why his reputation as a notorious gangster was a 'complete myth' | The Sun

A MAN who was pals with Reggie Kray in prison says the twin's reputation as a notorious gangster was a complete myth.

Raphael Rowe, 55, got to know the lag while he was behind bars after being wrongfully convicted of murder and a series of aggravated robberies.

Inside the World's Toughest Prison star Raphael has now revealed he saw Reggie "differently" to how he'd been portrayed to the rest of the world.

Reggie and his brother Ronnie became known for their ruthless East End crime empire during the 1950s and 1960s.

Under their gang, The Firm, the twins played their part in dozens of crimes – including armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, assaults and murder.

The twins' fortunes changed when Ronnie Kray shot and killed George Cornell, a member of rival gang the Richardsons, at the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel in 1966.

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In March 1969, both Ronnie and Reggie were sentenced to life imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 30 years for murder.

These were the longest sentences ever passed at the Old Bailey.

And it was decades later – in the 1990s – when Raphael met Reggie.

The 55-year-old told the DailyStar: "I became friends with Reggie Kray, a notorious gangster in the eyes of the media and the general public.

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"The Charles Bronson's of the world, the Richardson's. These are UK-based so-called gangsters.

"For me it's mythical because I knew the men themselves and I knew the real characters behind the headlines."

Raphael was sentenced to life in prison in 1990 after being wrongfully convicted for a murder that took place in 1988 as well as series of aggravated burglaries.

He said he'd had many conversations with the "notorious" lags.

He continued: "That's not me saying that they're good people or bad people, I'm just saying I've been in the presence of these individuals as well as serial killers in the making of the documentaries that I create."

Reggie Kray was first imprisoned in Maidstone Prison for eight years as a Category B prisoner.

In 1997, he was transferred to the Category C Wayland Prison in Norfolk.

Reggie Kray spent a total of 33 years behind bars, before being released from prison on compassionate grounds in August 2000, at the age of 66.

He was released due to being diagnosed with inoperable bladder cancer.

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Eight and a half weeks later he died.

The twins' reputation preceded them even in death, with onlookers crowding the streets to catch a glimpse of the famed gangster's coffin as it was taken through the East End.

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