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Life on the London street ‘stuck in time’ after a grizzly Kray twins murder caused property prices to ‘spiral’

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The Kray twins are notorious gangsters who once ruled over the East End.

Some 54 years since their influence subsided they could be mistaken for waning into an urban legend.

But for the people of Evering Road in Stoke Newington, there is still an ever present reminder of their crimes.

Cathy Murphy, who lives in a basement flat where the gangsters murdered a man in cold blood has said the area has never recovered.

The 57-year-old said the road is haunted not only by tales of the grizzly murder, but also its aftermath.

READ MORE: EastEnders star who was pals with Reggie Kray – who ‘torched building for him’

Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie was murdered by the Krays at 97 Evering road, Stoke Newington on October 29 1967

The residence in North East London is most famously known for the ruthless murder of one of the Krays’ henchmen, Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie, in October 1967.

Reggie Kray, with the help of his twin brother, Ronnie, viciously stabbed McVitie repeatedly in the face, chest and stomach in a violent struggle that required the latter to be held down throughout the brutal attack.

The killing was allegedly payback for crossing the brothers one too many times, including owing them money for the contract murder of their business manager Leslie Payne – that McVitie never carried out.

According to Cathy, the street’s property prices have been struggling to recover ever since.

“I think the murder reduced the value of properties in this area for a long time,” said Cathy, who’s lived on Evering road since 1995.

0 Kray Twins basement garden

This view from Cathy’s apartment reveals the garden directly in front of the basement where the Kray twins killed Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie

“Property prices spiralled downwards and people in the area didn’t want to be associated with it,” she claims.

“We also used to have coach parties turn up outside the house with people from all over the world including China.

“Tourists would stop in front of the house and take pictures.”

Cathy believes the attention had cast a dark net over the local area.

“It’s made us sort of stuck in time,” she said. “The area has developed much slower than surrounding areas.”

But Hunters Estate Agents in Stoke Newington have said these concerns are a thing of the past.

Agent Alex Christodoulou revealed that they once had the infamous basement flat on their books, and had no challenges selling it off.

He said: “The incident with the Kray twins on Evering Road in 1967 would have had a negative impact on the local property market at the time, due to the seriousness of the crime.

“However, in the last 20 years, property prices have increased substantially in the Stoke Newington area.

“The demand from first time buyers and for family homes has been one of the biggest contributors to the increase of property prices.”

0 Kray Twins newspaper cover

The enigmatic duo turned their notoriety into fame and quickly began rubbing shoulders with politicians and superstars, including Frank Sinatra and EastEnders’ Barbara Windsor

The Krays were born on October 24, 1933 and soon became one of the most ruthless duos Britain had ever seen.

With their gang, ‘The Firm’, they reigned immense terror on East London residents with savage acts of murder, armed robbery, arson, protection rackets and assaults until their imprisonment in 1969, aged just 35.

The murder of McVitie on Evering Road was the defining crime that led the twins to their eventual demise and imprisonment.

The Firm was most prominent between the 1950s and 1960s. The crew participated in protection rackets, fraud and other variants of organised crime.

Although Cathy’s residence was once “completely torn down” and renovated to escape this monstrous history, the area has failed to rid itself of the stench of Kraydom.

The house is an eternal visual reminder: “They still had to model the front of the house the same way as it was when the twins were here because the building’s listed.”

0 Evering road

97 Evering Road, North London, where the alleged murder of Jack “The Hat” McVitie took place in 1967

Another tenant at the Evering Road property, who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear, told My London of their shock at finding out the origins of the home.

“At first when I found out what had happened under my home, I was quite taken back. You hear these things but you don’t expect to move into a property with such history.

“I only found out that the Kray murders happened here after two or three years of living in it,” they said.

Nevertheless, the twins were more than just a local pair of brutes. Their criminal enterprise was complicated, and even alluring some might say.

In the 1960s, they owned Esmeralda’s Barn in the swanky area of Knightsbridge in West London.

Their dealings at the club saw their eventual foray into superstardom, as they quickly began mixing with politicians and prominent entertainers at the time, such as Cliff Richard, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and EastEnders’ Barbara Windsor.

The enigmatic duo were social climbers by day and callous murderers by night.

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Kray Twins Ronald and Reginald seen here at home after helping police with their inquiries into a shooting in 1966

Before Jack ‘The Hat’ McVitie’s death, he had acted as an enforcer and hitman for the twin gangsters and their clique.

Although never a permanent member of The Firm, he was allegedly regularly employed to commit savage crimes on their behalf, which included intimidation tactics and contract killings.

He failed to thrive in his lawless career and by 1967, McVitie had become a sloppy drunk and a drug addict. He was arrogant and abusive, and even begun threatening his infamous bosses.

Deciding enough was enough, on October 29, 1967 both Ronnie and Reggie invited McVitie to a party at 97 Evering Road, along with The Firm’s underworld associates and family members.

0 Reggie Kray and Francis Shea

Reggie Kray weds Francis Shea at the St Paul’s Church, London. 19th April 1965

The Krays arrived at the party discreetly, and began clearing away guests before luring McVitie into their trap.

Reggie’s initial plan to shoot McVitie upon entry to the party failed as his gun jammed. Instead, he opted to pounce upon McVitie with a knife and stab him to death.

The brothers quickly fled the scene and ordered their associates to dispose of the body immediately.

Reports say the body has never been found.

Reggie was convicted of the murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment, while Ronnie was jailed for life at the same time for the murder of George Cornell.

But Cathy, a semi-retired legal professional, had learned of a slightly different version of events: “The old locals say it happened in the basement and then he was tipped out of the window.

“We’re locals so we’ve always known all about it.”

0 GettyImages 1028621910

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“My dad used to work at an office on Rectory Road that had been one of their old nightclubs,” she added.

Both twins married twice each. Reggie married Frances Shea in 1965 up until her tragic suicide in 1967. He then went on to marry Roberta Jones in 1997.

Ronnie wedded Elaine Mildener in 1985. They divorced in 1989 and he married Kate Howard in 1989 until the end of their marriage in 1994.

He died in 1995, aged 61 at Wexham Park Hospital in Berkshire after suffering a heart attack at Broadmoor Hospital.

Reggie held on for another five years, until October 2000. He was freed from prison in August the same year, on compassionate grounds after being diagnosed with cancer.

He passed away at 66 from terminal bladder cancer.

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