Linda Calvey chooses Ronnie Kray’s Blind Beggar pub shooting to launch her ‘Black Widow’ book
- Credit: Mike Brooke
Retired underworld figures who were members of the Krays’ ‘Firm’ turned up last night in the East End for former armed robber Linda Calvey’s ‘Black Widow’ book launch.
The self-confessed shotgun raider who spent 18 years for murdering Brink's-Matt gangster Ron Cook, which she denies in her book, chose the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel for the launch.
It was the pub where deranged Ronnie Kray shot dead rival gangster George Cornell in 1966.
So the old 'Firm' from a different era arrived for one of their occasional 'meets' to catch up on the old days when the Krays ruled the East End with fear and extortion in the 1950s and 60s until their downfall at the Bailey.
Among them was a much-aged Freddy Foreman, the Kray's 'Mr Fix it' who got rid of the body when Ronnie's twin brother Reggie stabbed Jack 'the hat' McVittie a year later at a party in Stoke Newington.
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Foreman went down for 10 years as an accessory to McVittie's brutal slaying.
He was now signing his autograph on posters promoting Calvey's book to raise cash for the Macmillan Nurses cancer charity.
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His verdict on Calvey's Black Widow confessions: "I believe her if she says she didn't kill Ron Cook. That must be true."
He had his own stories to tell, like the time he claims he was 'fitted up' for Ginger Marks' murder in Bethnal Green and for gunning down 'Mad Axman' Frank Mitchell holed-up in Plaistow on the run, who had become a 'nuisance' to the Krays.
Foreman went on trial at the Old Bailey for both killings—but was acquitted both times.
Setting up the 'meet' at the Blind Beggar was former Page 3 tabloid pin-up from the 1970s Maureen Flanagan, now a great grandmum.
She was also the personal hairdresser for 40 years of Violet Kray, the twins' mum, when they lived a mile from the Blind Beggar in Vallance Road.
Maureen, who runs a charity shop in Well Street in South Hackney, has been raising funds for Macmillan Nurses for six years, as well as for Bethnal Green's Repton boxing club where the Kray twins trained to fight in their youth.
Linda Calvey holds her hands up to the string of armed robberies her gang carried out across east London and served seven years.
She was later implicated in Ron Cook's murder in Canning Town because she could handle a shotgun. Cook was killed by a shotgun.
"I was witness to the murder in my kitchen," she tells you. "But two days later I was a suspect, despite being eliminated by a forensic test. I was fitted up because I did armed robberies."
Linda's slide into the underworld began as an ordinary girl growing up in Stepney in the 1960s when she fell in love at 19 with bank robber Mickey Calvey.
Mickey was later killed in 1978 in a shoot-out with police during a bank raid. Linda met Ron later, but denies in her book that she shot him dead.
The Black Widow, by Linda Calvey, launched yesterday at the Blind Beggar in Whitechapel, at £18.99 (Mirror Books).