Vandals daub east London grave of gangster Reggie Kray's wife Frances
PUBLISHED: 15:20 10 October 2016 | UPDATED: 11:25 11 October 2016
Vandals have daubed the grave of Reggie Kray’s tragic wife Frances who committed suicide in the 1960s at the height of the Krays’ criminal empire in London’s East End.
The graffiti referred to the two murder victims George Cornell and Jack McVitie which eventually brought the notorious Kray twins down in 1969 when they were jailed for Life at the Old Bailey.
Scrawled on the gravestone was: “Remember Jack McVitie and George Cornell.”
Now Frances’s niece, Frances Shea, is determined to find out who daubed the grave which has had to be professionally cleaned.
Frances—known as ‘Fran’ to the Shea family—had nothing to do with the murders or the Krays’ brutal reign of terror, her niece insists.
“I am stunned that people would stoop to this level,” she tells Thursday’s East London Advertiser.
“Fran didn’t kill anybody. It hurts because this grave represents Fran and it’s the most disrespectful thing anyone could do.
“I just hope whoever did it will slip up and someone will know who this person is. Daubing a grave is diabolical.”
Cornell was a rival gangster shot dead by a psychopathic Ronnie Kray in the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel in March, 1966.
McVitie was a small time crook stabbed to death in a frenzied attack at a party in Stoke Newington by Ronnie’s twin Reggie Kray a year-and-a-half later—a few months after Frances had taken an overdose.
Frances was the brother of Franky Shea, associate and one-time driver of the Krays, and went to live with his family in a council flat off Murray Grove in Shoreditch after her marriage to Reggie broke down.
She committed suicide in her little niece’s own bedroom, something Frances Shea has had to grow up with and live with to this day.
“The abuse we get has been continuing for years,” her niece reveals.
“But nothing compares with loosing Fran when I was a child. I will live with her tragic death for ever.
“Daubing of her grave hurts. I have run the gauntlet of abuse for years after going public to try and tell her side of the story, but shall stand up and fight to humanise her name.”
Frances Kray died on June 7, 1967, more than four months before McVitie’s murder in a house in Evering Road on October 29 that year.
Cornell was brazenly shot in the head on March 9, 1966, by Ronnie in front of witnesses in the Blind Beggar, believing he couldn’t be touched by the law.
But the murders of Cornell and McVitie brought the Krays’ reign of terror to an end. Ronnie died in Broadmoor in 1995. Reggie died of cancer five years later, just days after receiving compassionate release.
All three are buried along with the Krays’ older brother Charlie and the Krays’ parents, Violet and Charlie Snr, in a family plot in east London’s Chingford Mount cemetery.