herald

Monday 5 December 2016

'Open your eyes Greg' - bizarre tape sent to coma man by Reggie Kray

Reggie Kray
Reggie Kray

A Dublin man has told how notorious London gangster Reggie Kray tried to wake his brother from a coma by sending him a tape recording of his voice from prison 20 years ago.

Vincent Smith, from Portobello in Dublin, said one of the infamous Kray twins sent him the tape at a UK hospital when he read in a local newspaper how his brother Greg was in a coma following a brutal attack outside a Kent pub.

"Greg was attacked by two young brothers and was left in a coma. He was 34 at the time," said Vincent.

"I had to look after him in the hospital as a member of his family, and the newspapers over there took up my quest," he added.

"One of them saw me going up to the hospital every day and they published a photograph of me in the hospital with Greg and his Walkman," he said.

"Then I received a letter from Reggie Kray. I didn't know him personally.

"I was aware of him alright, but I assume he saw the newspaper articles," he said.

"I opened the envelope and there was a letter on his headed notepaper from Maidstone Prison and a cassette tape.

"I wondered what it was, and when I put it on I nearly went into a coma listening to it," Vincent told Joe Duffy on RTE's Liveline.

"Hallo, Greg. This is your friend Reg Kray speaking. Open your eyes, don't hesitate, just open your eyes. I will shake your hand and we will talk," said Kray on the tape.

"Please open your eyes. Just do this, Greg. Open your eyes and talk to me. Don't slip back, I wish to talk to you," he added.

Vincent said it was a nice gesture on Kray's behalf. "I never played it to Greg, he passed away a few weeks after," he added.

Moving

"It did merit a thank you, regardless of what they did I still thought it was moving," he said.

Vincent then wrote to Reggie to thank him and got a reply.

"He may have been attracted to the bond I had with my brother, and the bond he had with his brother," he said.

He has kept the letters and the tape and still remembers Reggie Kray as a man who, despite his violent ways, reached out to help from his prison cell.

Reggie Kray and his brother Ronnie were legends of the 1960s UK crime world and are the subject of the new film Legend, starring Tom Hardy.

They were arrested in 1968 by Inspector Leonard 'Nipper' Read and convicted in 1969 at the age of 35.

Ronnie died in prison in 1995. Reggie died in 2000, eight weeks after being released from jail with terminal cancer.

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