They were notorious gangsters who used violence and intimidation to rule the East End in the swinging 60s, eventually being jailed for murder.

But to some they go down in history as gents and ‘legends’ who lived a glamorous celebrity lifestyle.

We end our special series looking at some of London’s most infamous criminals with the case file of the Krays.

Exhibits related to the feared twins feature in the Crime Museum Uncovered exhibition that opens at the Museum of London today.

The Crime Museum at Scotland Yard is only accessible to the police and special guests but for the next six months a selection of fascinating items from it are on public display for the first time.

This is the potted history of the Krays.

Who was involved?

Twin brothers Ronnie and Reggie Kray, George Cornell and Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie.

Where and when did it happen?

The East End during the 1960s.

What happened?

Ronnie and Reggie Kray were twin brothers and gang leaders in 1960s’ London whose empire grew from the East End to include West End clubs and bars. With their gang, known as The Firm, they were responsible for robberies, assaults, protection rackets and fraud. Due to witness intimidation they were almost untouchable – in 1965 they were prosecuted but found not guilty of demanding money with menaces.

In March 1966 Ronnie Kray shot and murdered George Cornell in front of witnesses in the Blind Beggar pub in Whitechapel. Cornell worked for the rival south London gang the Richardsons and had insulted Ronnie. In fear of the Krays, the witnesses refused to admit to having seen anything.

In October 1967, Reggie stabbed and murdered Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie in a flat in Evering Road, Stoke Newington.

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How was the case solved, what was the outcome?

As the 1960s progressed a small team of detectives led by Detective Chief Superintendent Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read began to build a case against the Krays.

Early in 1968 the police arrested Paul Elvey in Glasgow. He had been employed by Alan Cooper, who in turn was working for the Krays. Elvey admitted involvement in a number of attempted murders, for which he had in his possession dynamite, a crossbow and a briefcase that could inject poison. The old rules of silence began to break down and Read gradually found witnesses willing to talk.

In May 1968 the entire gang were arrested. The case involving the briefcase and crossbow was dismissed at the committal stage, but at the Old Bailey in 1969 the twins were found guilty of the murders of Cornell and McVitie and sentenced to life imprisonment.

What made it such an infamous case?

The Krays were seen as untouchable for a period of time. The police found it very difficult to find witnesses to break the code of silence that existed around them. They also cultivated a ‘glamourous’ lifestyle, wearing smart suits, frequenting West End clubs and being photographed with famous friends.

Which exhibits from the case will be on display?

The briefcase with a spring-loaded syringe and bottle of hydrogen cyanide, the Mauser handgun used by Reggie Kray to try to kill Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie, the crossbow intended for use against an enemy of the Krays and a scrapbook from the late 1960s containing newspaper cuttings on the case.

The Crime Museum Uncovered runs from October 9 to April 10. Click here for ticket information and more details

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