However the Krays held a dark and depraved secret. Ronnie Kray was an active homosexual paedophile who sexually abused many young teenage boys on an organised and huge scale in the 1950’s and edforce and had contacts with prominent members of parliament
The story begins when Boothby gagged the press and hushed up politicians, delaying the Kray twins’ arrest by five years. The link between the British Establishment of the 1960s and the Krays was the greatest unreported political scandal of its time, allowing the gangsters to walk free for five years.
At the flat of Lord Boothby, situated at the prestigious address No 1 Eaton Square in Belgravia, three men looked up towards a photographer who duly pressed the camera’s shutter. The resultant photograph featured, perched on a small sofa, Lord Boothby, Ronnie Kray the infamous East End gangster, and Ronnie’s friend, the good-looking young cat-burgler called Leslie Holt.
In 1963, Lord Boothby began an illicit affair with Leslie Holt (died 1979). Holt was a younger man that Boothby met at a gambling club. Holt set up a meeting between Ronald Kray and Boothby – the topic of conversation was a project in Nigeria that the Krays were interested in getting Boothby involved in, on a charitable basis
It was now early 1964, and for the struggling Conservative government at the time, the photograph not only threatened to cause another scandal that rivalled the previous year’s Profumo affair, but it almost certainly enabled the Kray twins’ criminal career of extortion and protection to remain pretty well unchecked for the next five years.
The Eton and Oxford educated Lord Robert Boothby was in 1964 one of the country’s more famous politicians (in March that year he had appeared on Eamonn Andrews’ This Is Your Life). He had entered Parliament at just 24 and had once been tipped as future leader of the Conservative party not least because he had been the private secretary and friend of Sir Winston Churchill.
Churchill made him Minister of Food for the wartime government in 1939. However Boothby was not without his flaws and was sacked only a year later after lying to parliament about a financial deal with which he had intended to pay off his, not inconsiderable, gambling debts.
PRboothby2Robert Boothby and Winston Churchill in 1928
Boothby remained in politics and was even made a peer in 1958 by the Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. It was a particularly benevolent act as the first (and last) Baron Boothby of Buchan and Rattray Head had been having an affair with the PM’s wife since around 1930. During this time Boothby fathered a child with Lady Macmillan (the Macmillans brought up Sarah Macmillan as their own) but in those days no one broke rank and told the voters. In fact, it never even got to Sarah herself – she was apparently casually and cruelly told who her real father was when she was 21.
Boothby’s undeniable charm, along with his friends in very high places, kept any scurrilous rumours, malicious gossip and untoward publicity about him away from the front pages of Fleet Street . However Britain’s newspaper industry was beginning to develop a taste for Establishment blood.
The colourful, although up to now reasonably discreet life of Boothby was shaken up on the 12th July 1964 when the Sunday Mirror, as part of an ongoing expose on ‘the biggest protection racket London has ever known’, ran a story under the headline “Peer and a gangster: Yard probe.”
Recently discovered letters between Ronnie Kray and a Tory peer provide new evidence about an establishment cover-up. The 1960s correspondence shows that the perverted Lord ‘Bobby’ Boothby and the gay gangster Kray knew each other long before the Conservative grandee admitted.
He went on to sue a newspaper after it revealed the relationship between the men and forced it to pay £40,000 in damages. The paper’s editor was also sacked.
The newspaper claimed that the police were investigating a homosexual relationship between a “prominent peer and a leading thug in the London underworld”. The peer was a “household name” and that the inquiries embraced Mayfair parties attended by the peer and the notorious gangster. The following week the Sunday Mirror’s front page announced “The picture that we must not print”. However the newspaper helpfully described the picture, saying that it showed a gangster and a the peer in the latter’s Mayfair flat (Pictured above)A few days later the German magazine Stern, not so worried about Britain’s libel laws, printed an article entitled ‘Lord Bobby In Trouble’ and went so far as naming Lord Boothby and Ronnie Kray. When the story broke Boothby was holidaying in France and later would disingenuously say that he was initially baffled as to the peer’s identity. When he arrived home he called his friend, former Labour Party chairman and journalist Tom Driberg who, according to Boothby, said ‘I”m sorry Bob, it’s you’.
But the never-before-seen letters prove Boothby lied and show how close the pair were.
They also highlight how Boothby was later proud to defend the criminal Kray twins in the House of Lords.
Boothby and Kray had shared rent boys and their sexual antics were too base to be revealed in detail.
Other newspapers were also on to the story and though at first the revelations didn’t name the men it said the pair were engaged in a homosexual relationship.
Their identities soon emerged.
Boothby threatened to sue and stated that he was not homosexual and had only met Kray three times in the line of business, and only at the gangster’s request.
It was in the interests of both the Labour and Conservative parties that the scandal was hushed up. And so it was.
The letters between Ronnie Kray and Lord Boothby have recently emerged
Lord Boothby was at this stage in a tricky situation, while he admitted to having met Ronnie Kray during two or three business meetings, he flatly denied the rest of the allegations. However if he decided to do nothing about the situation it would seem as if was admitting the accusations, but if he sued the Mirror he could be involved in a lengthy and expensive court case with the risk that the tabloid would rake up all kinds of revelations to support the story.
These new letters prove Boothby and Kray knew each other at least a year before the peer had stated, and that they were meeting socially rather than for business.
In a postcard from June 6 1963, Boothby writes to Kray: ‘If you are free tomorrow evening (Friday) between six and seven, do come round for a drink and a chat…’
It is clearly a reply to earlier communication between the two, which takes their relationship back even further.
And it proves that Boothby lied in a letter to The Times in which he made a spirited defence in reaction to the Mirror story.
He wrote that he had only met Kray at the gangster’s invitation – but this evidence proves that was not the case.
After the damages were paid and Cecil King, chairman of IPC that owned the Mirror newspapers, issued a grovelling apology, Fleet Street steered away from the story.
The police had also dropped its investigation into the affair and the scandal that had been exposed came to nothing.
After winning the damages, Boothby wrote a note to himself, which is also among the new papers.
The aide memoir states: ‘…as of this moment both R.K. and myself have emerged from the incident with flying colours and to the entire satisfaction of the country as a whole.
‘Scotland Yard are happy about it, and do not want any more muck raking. In fact this thing has done far more good to R.K. than to myself.
‘There is, at present, no stain on his character.’
It ends with this sickening boast: ‘The Mirror newspapers are prepared to call it a day; and it is a good one for both of us.’
Another on notepaper carrying his address in Eaton Square, Belgravia, Boothby wrote to Kray on June 6, 1963: “Thank you for your postcard. I very nearly went to Jersey myself, as I have never been there, and hear from so many people that it is quite delightful.
“If you are free tomorrow evening between six and seven, do come round for a drink and a chat.”
The brief note is signed: “Ever sincerely, Boothby.”
Since described as the “pervert peer” in reference to his sexual proclivities, Boothby was shouted down in the Lords in February 1965 for demanding that the Krays should be released on bail after their arrest and charge for running the protection racket after they were arrested in 1965 for demanding money with menaces.
Another letter from Boothby to Kray, dated April 1965 on House of Lords notepaper, says: “I have had a great many letters congratulating me on the stand I took in the House of Lords on your behalf; and that some of their Lordships are now a bit ashamed of the treatment they gave me.”
It adds: “I think that they will now leave you alone. And you never can say that I haven’t done my best.”
And he adds cryptically: ‘The enclosed poem is not a very good one; but it shows what I believe to be the general feeling.
‘Tear it up when read…’ The poem no longer exists.
Another letter on House of Lords headed paper is written on behalf of Boothby to the Krays’ parents, thanking them for their birthday wishes.
At this stage the people who led the Tory party were convinced the scandal was a situation they could ill-afford as there was almost certainly a general election looming.
Robert Boothby filming outside Parliament in 1954
In 1959, there was an incident when a teenage Scottish boy got himself into trouble with the police whilst working for Boothby, cleaning and doing odd jobs at his flat in Eaton square. He was arrested one evening in the street outside Boothbys home with a champagne bottle in his hand and wearing one of Boothbys watches. When the boy appeared in court charged with theft, the trial was ended prematurely, with Boothby bending the magistrates ear. The case was forgotten and the boy was put on a train back to Scotland. Being a lord does have its advantages.
Ron Kray was a regular at no 1 Eaton square. He was usually ushered in by Gordon Goodfellow, Boothbys butler of many years. Ron usually had a boy with him for the amusement of the peer. What struck many a guest was the casual way Boothby behaved, kissing the boys fully on the lips and generally undressing them with his eyes.
No 1 Eaton Square today
One journalist tells of the time when he was with Boothby and Ron visited for tea. Ron was very well dressed but he was wearing a shoulder holster with a gun, and as usual had a boy with him. He told him to do what ever Boothby told him to do. This was an ongoing ‘joke’ between the men.
Kray biographer, John Pearson, writing in the Independent on Sunday, claims that the Peer and MP Tom Driberg engaged in gay sex orgies with children and that Boothby had a fondness for boys defacating on him, and the Krays had a compromising photograph of Boothby and his memiors.
Similarly, when Tom Driberg, a Labour MP and KGB agent who wore fishnet stockings when engaging in sexual acts got involved with the Krays, telling them ‘about the houses of rich friends they could burgle,’ again the government suppressed any inquiry, as they didn’t want to have to cope with the damaging revelations.
Harold Wilson and Tom Driberg in 1955
In the early 1960s Driberg attended sex parties with Lord Boothby, clergymen and lawyers in London. Boothby commented in its autobiography, Boothby: Recollections of a Rebel: “Tom Driberg once told me that sex was only enjoyable with someone you had never met before, and would never meet again.”
The media were intimidated and silenced when Boothby and Driberg used the Krays ‘to turn anyone over who had crossed them’. The Police protected the Krays and children continued to be supplied and abused.
The involvement of Tom Driberg MP in the story meant that Harold Wilson’s personal solicitor, the overweight and rather louche solicitor Arnold Goodman became involved. To Wilson, as well as many others, Goodman came by the name ‘Mr Fixit’. The lawyer offered to represent Lord Boothby and advised by Goodman, Boothby wrote a famous letter to the Times denying all of the Mirror’s allegations. The letter stated that he was not a homosexual and that he had met the Ronald Kray; “who is alleged to be king of the underworld, only three times on business matters and then by appointment in my flat, at his request and in the company of other people … In short, the whole affair is a tissue of atrocious lies.”
The Kray twins threatened the journalists involved in the story, whilst Boothby threatened to sue. The newspaper backed down under pressure, sacked its editor, printed an apology and paid Boothby £40,000 in an out-of-court settlement. As a result, other newspapers were unwilling to uncover the Krays’ connections, criminal and sexual activities.
Two Tory back-benchers had even reported to their Chief Whip that they had seen “Lord Boothby and (Tom) Driberg importuning young males at a greyhound race track and were involved with gangs of thugs who dispose of their money at the tracks”.
At Chequers the story and its implications were debated by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Dilhorne, the Home Secretary, Henry Brooke, and the Prime Minister and they must have thought the worst.
Boothby had always been fond of young boys. He had once said “I am not sure if I like the girls better than the boys, or the girls better than the boys”
Boothby was a well known bisexual even at university. Apart from boys, his favourite hobby was gambling, bringing us back once again to Ronald Kray.
Ron wined and dined him in the west of London, introducing him to many young boys who caught the eye of the peer. Ron once told a boy: “You will go home with Lord Boothby. You will do exactly what Lord Boothby wants. Or I will hurt you”
The relationship between Ron and Boothby isnt difficult to understand. Bootby always live life on the edge, he loved excitement. And Ron gave him plenty of that. Ron also showered Boothby with gifts, apart from young boys.
Boothby continued his association with the Krays and even argued their case in the house of lords. He attended Rons orgies when Ron had his flat in Cedra court, where he indulged his perverse fantasies alongside many prominent people, including his old friend Tom Driberg MP.
Have no doubts about it, these two men, Lord Robert Boothby and Tom Driberg were at the centre of what we would call today the Krays paedophile ring. The boys that were abused were below the age of consent and some were much, much younger
Tom Driberg and Lord Boothby
Boothby and Driberg only wanted boys and Ron would put on sex shows for their benefit. One was at the Jermyn Street Society Club, at which Boothby was photographed with Ronnie sitting on either side of a teenage boy. It was perverse and they loved it. Ron got a real kick out of it, enjoying seeing these powerful politicians doing unspeakable sexual acts with under-age boys.
Neither Ron nor Boothby wanted sex with grown men. It was young men they went for, and Ron had his very own vice ring of them to share.
At private flats and houses he would arrange sex shows, starting with blue movies and moving onto performances specially tailored to the tastes of those he wanted to impress.
Boothby’s particular perversions – One account described Boothby lying under a glass-topped table while boys were made to defecate above him. Another described him sitting naked in a room with a number of criminals and boys around him, and “love beads” protruding from his anus.
Ron had a purpose in this beyond sex. He enjoyed the sense of power he got from indulging powerful politicians like Driberg and Boothby.
He also believed that the upper classes always saved their own, which was why it was wise to be in with them. Who knew when help from such a quarter might be useful?
For his part, Boothby was on dangerous ground, and not just by playing masochistic sex games in the company of the seriously scary Ronnie Kray.
Witnesses or victims rarely came forward to testify – they were too frightened to speak out. Victims suddenly failed to recognise the Krays in identity parades. Time and again they were left to carry on being gangsters
Even in Parliament, they knew where Driberg would be when it was time to attend a vote – The police were told to drive over and escort him back from the public toilets on the Albert Embankment which would be a hotspot for young runaway boys
What is astounding is that prominent people knew what Driberg aslike, his peccadilloes, his gangster friends, and his perverted taste in young boys. Winston Churchill who died in 1965, once said, “Tom Driberg is the sort of person who gives sodomy a bad name!”
However by now, Lord Boothby was having second thoughts. The visits to Ron’s pad in Cedra court continued and he still enjoyed the orgies, but he gradually became aware of the media and was convinced a complete change was required
Kray biographer, John Pearson, writing in the Independent on Sunday, claimed that the Peer and MP Tom Driberg engaged in gay sex orgies with children and that Boothby had a fondness for boys defacating on him, and the Krays had a compromising photograph of Boothby and his memiors.
Similarly, when Tom Driberg, a Labour MP and KGB agent who wore fishnet stockings, got involved with the Krays, telling them ‘about the houses of rich friends they could burgle in exchange for sexual favours with boys,’ again the government suppressed any police inquiry, as they didn’t want to have to cope with the damaging revelations.
The media were further intimidated and silenced when Boothby and Driberg used the Krays ‘to turn anyone over who had crossed them’.The Police protected the Krays and children continued to be supplied and abused.
The Krays had access to many children’s homes in London and would also have boys delivered to parties at a large flat over a music shop on the Lea Bridge Rd, North East London owned by the former Radio 1 DJ Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman.
There they would meet with show biz types and DJs including Jimmy Saville, Joe Meeks and on occasion, Beatles manager Brian Epstein. The eastern crime squad knew about the involvement of the Kray brothers and the sex parties known as ” Pink ballets ” with young boys but let them continue
At these parties, young boys, specially brought over from several children’s homes would be plied with drugs and alcohol.
However these parties were forced to come to an end when Police chiefs got wind that the MP & Ex Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe (pic above with Ted Heath) was allegedly attending them along with several other prominent ministers, Politicians and Mi5 agents
A man has claimed he was the victim of a brutal sex assault at one of these parties by Top of the Pops DJ Alan Freeman and his friend, Jimmy Savile, when he was just 11-years-old. He also claims German film actor Victor Beaumont was the man who lured the schoolboy to his plush London flat where the rape allegedly took place.
Allegations: A man claims pals Jimmy Savile and Alan Freeman sexually attacked him when he was just 11
Those named within this article
The Australian-born DJ Alan Freeman, who revealed was bisexual in a 1994 interview, died in 2006 aged 79.
Tom Driberg, known to many as ‘the most disreputable man in parliament’ was made a peer in 1974 and died of a heart-attack in the back of a taxi in the summer of 1976
Lord Boothby died with his reputation almost intact. After his death from a heart attack in Westminster Hospital, London, in July 1986, aged 86, Boothby’s ashes were scattered at Rattray Head near Crimond, Aberdeenshire, off the coast of his former constituency
Ronnie Kray was eventually certified insane and lived the remainder of his life in Broadmoor Hospital, Crowthorne, dying on 17 March 1995 of a heart attack at the age of 61.
During his incarceration, Reggie Kray became a “born again” Christian. After serving more than the recommended 30 years he was sentenced to in March 1969, he was freed from Wayland on 26 August 2000. He was almost 67 and was released on compassionate grounds for having inoperable bladder cancer. The final weeks of his life were spent with his wife Roberta, whom he had married while in Maidstone Prison in July 1997, in a suite at the Townhouse Hotel at Norwich, having left Norwich hospital on 22 September 2000. On 1 October 2000, Reggie died in his sleep. Ten days later, he was buried beside his brother Ronnie in Chingford Mount Cemetery.
John Jeremy Thorpe – died 04/12/14 – British former politician who was leader of the Liberal Party from 1967 to 1976 and Member of Parliament (MP) for North Devon from 1959 to 1979. His political career was severely damaged when an acquaintance, Norman Scott, claimed to have had a love affair with Thorpe in the early 1960s, at a time when homosexual acts were illegal in Britain. The scandal forced Thorpe to resign as Liberal Party leader in 1976. He denied the claims of a homosexual affair and was charged with conspiring to murder Scott, though he was acquitted of these charges in 1979, shortly after losing his seat in the general election.
Robert George “Joe” Meek – On 3 February 1967 Meek killed his landlady Violet Shenton and then himself with a single-barrelled shotgun. Meek was obsessed with the occult and the idea of “the other side”. He would set up tape machines in graveyards in a vain attempt to record voices from beyond the grave. In January 1967, police in Tattingstone, Suffolk, discovered a suitcase containing the mutilated body of Bernard Oliver. According to some accounts, Meek became concerned that he would be implicated in the murder investigation when the Metropolitan Police said they would be interviewing all known homosexual men in the city
Brian Samuel Epstein died in August 1967. Best known for managing the Beatles