The Fight for Reg's Freedom

At the beginning of 1999 I received an email from an associate of Reg Kray asking me to get in contact.

I had never met Reg before but knew only too well the stories of murder and extortion that were attributed to the Kray family and their associates.

I grew up in North London but continued my secondary education in the East End due to the lack of appropriate catholic schools in the area. It was at St. Bernard's Secondary Modern in Damien Street, just off the Whitechapel road. And I used to catch the bus back to Holloway right outside the Blind Beggar pub where Ronnie Kray would eventually kill George Cornell.

So although we had never met, and under normal circumstances would never have even been in the same company, I had been summoned by a henchman of the Legendary Reg Kray.

Everyone in England had heard of the Krays so it came as quite a surprise when they too had heard of me!

It turned out that they knew about me through my association with 'MAD' Frankie Fraser, 'gangland enforcer' and their one time gang rival but now a true and trusted friend. But that is another story!

A meeting was arranged at 'The Safe House' at a location somewhere in Essex.

As I approached 'The Safe House', I wondered if I was doing the right thing, remembering briefly what had happened to Jack 'the Hat' McVitie when he was invited to that fateful party in Evering road, Stoke Newington.

I was greeted by a young man who called himself Rob Ferguson and another man who will remain nameless.....

The outcome of the meeting was that Reg wanted me to do some work for him. And it was imperative that it should be done pretty quickly!

After considering the proposal I nervously told them it would cost them £9,000 for my specialist services.

After further negotiations an offer was made and I couldn't refuse!

I was to do it for free!!!!!

It turned out that the 'henchman' Rob Ferguson was in the music and audio business designing recording studios and supplying equipment for concerts and pop festivals.

The other chap still remains nameless simply because I can't remember who he was!

'The Safe House' was the name of Rob's office out in the sticks, probably named because of his association with Reg and Roberta Kray...but nothing more sinister than that.

They had heard of the work I was doing with Frankie Fraser and they too wanted my services, as a web designer!

They wanted an online presence to push forward the campaign for Reg's release who at that time had almost served his 30 year prison sentence.

And it was important that the web site was in place for the completion of his 30 year recommended sentence.

After due consideration by Reg's associates it was decided that there wasn't enough money available to contemplate this new form of campaigning, a medium that they didn't understand and had no way of measuring how successful it would be.

They were polite and said thank you but 'no'.

I was a freelance designer, who didn't particularly like working for a company and as a consequence work didn't come as regularly as I would have liked. And being turned down for a job, that I thought was 'in the bag' was a bit upsetting.

The initial meeting was at the end of February 1999 and within a couple of weeks I found myself working on the web site for nothing!

At the time the authorities seemed to be getting more lenient towards people who had done the most disgusting of crimes...and in particular Sidney Cooke who was implicated in the murder of a young boy for sexual gratification and being released by the police knowing full well his involvement.

It didn't make sense to me that these people were enjoying their freedom after what seemed only minimal sentences while Reg Kray remained in prison after 30 years for the killing of Jack 'the Hat', a small time gangster and drug dealer.

Reg deserved to be imprisoned and if the death penalty had not been abolished a few years earlier then this web site and the Kray legend would not exist.

However, Reg was imprisoned for 30 years, some say it was excessive, but if compared to the sentences handed out to the Great Train robbers for stealing £2 million then it could be said that Reg was lucky!

He had by now almost completed his 30 year sentence all but 8 weeks, and it was made clear by Jack Straw the then Home Secretary that he would not be released in the foreseeable future if ever.

It was clear to me that Reg was being kept in prison more for political reasons than any other.

It was also clear that there was a real need to keep Reg's situation in the public eye and although the campaign for Reg's release had been in operation for many years it didn't have the capabilities of keeping him in the limelight.

So I decided, although in need of paid work, that I would take on board the online campaign for Reg's release.

And I would do this for free providing that I could tell the Kray story the way I saw it, as an outsider with no previous involvement with the Kray family.

The basic concept of the site would be to tell the Kray story as it was, warts and all and let the public decide if Reg should be released.

I was overwhelmed with the response to the web site with thousands of visitors in its first few days.

And the authorities were inundated with thousands upon thousands of online petitions for Reg's release.

Sadly we know only too well that Reg was released after serving 32 years, because he had inoperable cancer.

I am sure that had he not been Ill he would have been released to spend his last days in peace with his wife Roberta.

I only hope that this web site helped Reg as much as it has helped me in understanding human nature, and that the principles on which it is based, will help others in similar situations get there message across to the millions of ordinary people who use the Internet.

This is true people power.


© 2012 Vardin Stephen & All rights reserved.