Ex-bank robber Steve Tully in confession about Kray teaching him to dodge round the law
- Credit: Archant
Steve Tully was hard as nails—but the years have softened him to give up his life of armed robbery and violence.
He learned much from his time in Parkhurst when he was the hot-headed “pupil” of notorious East End gangland boss Reggie Kray.
What he learned was how to “dodge” round the law to avoid more time doing porridge.
Dodger Tully, now 58, was too young to be part of ‘The Firm’—the Krays mob in the 1950s and 60s—but adopted the ways of his crime master.
Now the retired bank-robber tells it all in a new book, Dodger, launched on Saturday at the infamous Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel where Reggie’s psycho twin Ronnie murdered gangland rival George Cornell in 1966—which eventually brought down the Krays.
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“I knocked on Reggie’s cell door one day and asked him to teach me about the legal world and things I needed to know,” Tully told the East London Advertiser.
“He taught me to learn as much about the law as I could and how to get acquitted.”
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He also taught Steve how to hold his temper and not go looking for trouble.
Yet Dodger had no qualms about the underworld life he led—before he finally “saw the writing on the cell wall” and went straight in 2009 after a 12-year stretch.
“I was a professional armed robber and loved my life,” he tells you. “I never ran a gang like the Krays—I was into fraud and robbery and made quite a lot of money.
“I carried on my criminal career for another 20 years after I came out of Parkhurst and was acquitted on seven occasions for major crimes from what Reggie taught me—until I eventually got 12 years.”
But he warns the kids today there’s no glamour in crime.
“I’ve done 22 years of my life inside,” Dodger confesses. “It’s not worth it—I saw the writing on the wall and decided that was it for me.
“I was ambitious to be a top criminal.
“But the world has changed since the 1980s. My message is that there’s a price to pay for crime.”
Steve sold 150 copies of his book at £15 each at Saturday’s launch, organised by former Page 3 pin-up Maureen Flanagan who was a close friend for 40 years of Violet Kray, the notorious twins’ mum.
Maureen, now 75, who runs the Paragon Trust charity shop at Well Street in South Hackney, raised £350 which together with 10pc proceeds from Dodger’s book is being given to the Ley Community, a charity that steers young offenders away from a life of crime. A leading Ley Community activist is former Krays’ henchman Chris Lambrianou.
The book launch also raised £100 for Bethnal Green’s Repton boxing club, whose past members in the 1950s included Ronnie and Reggie Kray.
Some 200 fans converged on the Blind Beggar from all over the country to snap up Krays memorabilia and get Steve to autograph copies of his book.
They included 21-year-old Brad Love, a bouncer’s son from Wolverhampton who is a dead spit ‘lookalike’ of how Reggie Kray was at that age. Maureen was all over him and couldn’t believe her eyes.
Brad, who wasn’t even born when the Krays had already served 25 years inside, gets togged up after work each evening in suits like his evil hero. He even wants to find a girlfriend called Frances—like Reggie’s wife.
Also helping Saturday’s fundraising launch was Stormin’ Norman Buckland, the loud-mouthed “Gov’nor” in the ring and a nightlub owner from Buckinghamshire, one of the boxing Buckland bothers—just like the Krays. Joining him was another ex-boxer, Andy Parkin, who arrived from Sunderland to sell his paintings of the Krays that he does for bipolar therapy while studying fine art at Sunderland University.
A dash of authenticity at Dodger’s launch was one of the few living relatives of the Krays, their second cousin Kim Peat who still lives today in Bethnal Green.