I plotted Krays' murder, claims former gangster Freddie Foreman
PUBLISHED: 14:37 10 September 2015 | UPDATED: 16:31 10 September 2015
A plot was hatched to murder the notorious Kray gangsters who ruled London's underworld from their East End "evil empire of crime" in the 1960s, it has emerged.
Only their arrests and subsequent jailing at the Old Bailey in 1969 saved their lives, a former gang leader admits on camera.
Freddie Foreman, a top Kray associate who now lives in the Kilburn area, held a ‘council of war’ which decided that the Kray twins Ronnie and Reggie were out of control and should be “ironed out”.
The Krays would have been murdered had they not been arrested by top cop Nipper Reed and been jailed for 30 years, Foreman admits for the first time in a documentary being released for home viewing on Monday.
Foreman tells of involvement in the killing of ‘Mad Axeman’ Frank Mitchell outside a block of flats in Plaistow where the fugitive had been holed up after escaping from prison. Mitchell had become a burden on the Krays who kept him in the flat in Barking Road.
So Foreman was brought in to lure him into a van parked round the corner, where Mitchell was shot 12 times, then to get rid of his body.
Remains were also disposed of ‘Mad’ Teddy Smith, another victim of the Krays, and of Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie who had been stabbed to death by Reggie at a party in Stoke Newington, Foreman says in the documentary The Krays—Kill Order, out on DVD from Monday and released in cinemas this week.
His admissions are in a ‘tell all’ interview with the documentary’s narrator, Kray associate Bernie O’Mahoney, an ex-member of the Essex Boys who narrowly missed his own assassination in 1995 when his three gang-mates were shot dead in Epping Forest.
Foreman is one of many interviews on camera by O’Mahoney.
The film has shock revelations from the men who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Krays, a list of those taking part reading like a Who’s Who of London’s underworld of the 1960s—Frankie Fraser, Eddie Richardson, Albert Donoghue, Billy Frost, Jimmy Tippett, Albert Chapman, Lenny Hamilton and Toby Von Judge.
What sparked the plot against the Krays was Foreman being ‘summoned’ by psychotic Ronnie to be ready to dispose of the body of Billy Gentry who was about to be lured into an ambush.
“Billy Gentry was a good fellah,” Foreman recalls. “I’ve done loads of ‘bird’ with Gentry, so I told Ron to forget about it and calm down. I thought he was raving mad.”
That was the turning point. Foreman held his notorious “council of war” at Simpson’s in The Strand with some of London’s top gang leaders.
“I reported that night back to my pals and said there’s only one thing for it,” Foreman admits. “I thought the twins should be ‘ironed out’.
“The two of them should be shot because they were dangerous to everybody. That was my thought and several other people.
“If the twins hadn’t been arrested, that’s what would have happened. That was on the cards.”
Freddie Foreman later served 10 years as accomplice to murder when the Krays and the rest of ‘The Firm’ went down in 1969 for the Cornell and McVitie killings.
He appeared in public at the launch of Maureen Flanagan’s book about the Krays in July, held at Whitechapel’s Blind Beggar where Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell in 1967.
“It would have been much better if the Krays had been ‘ironed out’ earlier and saved a lot of trouble,” Foreman adds. “They were a danger to everybody—they were out of control. People wouldn’t have gone to prison and would have saved 250 years being dished out. People would be alive today.”
He also admits in the documentary to involvement in revenge on Tommy ‘Ginger’ Marks who disappeared outside the Carpenters Arms owned by the Krays in Bethnal Green’s Cheshire Street, who had shot and badly wounded his brother George over an affair with a married woman.
Foreman also reveals for the first time organising the prison escape of Great Train robber Ronnie Biggs and the flight abroad of Bruce Reynolds and Buster Edwards.
Jewel thief Lenny Hamilton, who died last October, gives an almost identical account of the Krays in the film as an interview for the East London Advertiser 10 years ago, when he said at the time: “I’m glad they’re six feet under—it’s the best place they could be.
“They were two horrible bastards. People feared the Krays—they were bloody animals.”
Hamilton was almost blinded by Ronnie with a hot poker after being lured to his West End night-club following a dispute with a man whose father knew the Krays.
O’Mahoney, who wrote and presented the film script, is a self-confessed former hoodlum who quit the Essex Boys a week before his three pals were lured to their deaths. He admits doing the Krays’ ‘dirty work’ when they were behind bars, ‘leaning’ on victims with threats, including Roger Daultrey from The Who rock band.
“I was involved in gang war, extortion and robbery,” O’Mahony admits in today’s Advertiser. “I spent time inside and got to know the Krays well—they were not glamorous, but tragic. They were poor criminals, just bullies.”
He is now “older and wiser”. None of the 20 books he has written since glamorises crime. “Everyone is a loser,” he adds. “Family, victims, themselves—it’s all a waste of life.”
Christopher Matthews’ The Krays–Kill Order (Revelation Films), narrated by Bernie O’Mahoney, in cinemas and download on September 4, DVD release from Metrodome on September 14.