Ronald Joseph Hart was a distant cousin of the twins and was a key member of The Firm towards the late 1960s despite being the youngest member. He turned Queen's Evidence at the Kray trial when the twins attempted to get him to stand for Jack McVitie's murder.
Hart was born in Bethnal Green in 1942 to Thomas Joseph Hart and Mary Ann Burling (who married in Stepney in 1927). During the early 1960s Hart and been attempting to join The Firm. After being released from prison, he contacted the twins for financial reasons and guidance. Reggie in a later book recalled that:
"Hart... came knocking on the door at Vallance Road one day and said, ‘Hello, I’m your cousin. I want to join your gang.’ We’d never met him before but our checks showed he seemed to be reliable – another mistake – and so we took him on. He was our cousin but he had the habit of calling us both ‘uncle’."
Ronnie and his brother Dicky Hart were related to the Krays through the Lee Family. Their aunt Henrietta Margaret Hart, married Joey Lee, who was the Kray's great uncle.
Allegedly "a young man with boyish good looks who admired the twins’ way of life", Hart joined the firm towards the latter years of its lifespan, and it is presumed the twins accepted him more likely due to the family relation.Jack McVitie was murdered at 97 Evering Road, he was held in a bearhug by the twins' cousin, Ronnie Hart, and Reggie Kray was handed a carving knife. According to Ronnie Hart (the Kray's cousin), Reggie stabbed his stomach and his chest and finished by impaling him through the throat on to the floor. Reggie claims it was Hart who did the stabbing.
Hart was then asked by the twins to take stand for the McVitie case. Ronnie Hart had initially not been arrested, and he was not initially sought after by the police. By late August 1968, Ronnie Hart was the only person involved in the McVitie murder who had not been caught. Hart knew that the police were searching for him and at 4.30 a.m. on 31st August, he called Tintagel House and handed himself in. After being asked by the twins to stand for Jack McVitie's murder, Hart then told Nipper Read everything that had happened, although he was not aware of what happened to the body. This statement then allowed the police to establish the key events that led up to the murder and subsequently allowed them a strong position to prosecute the twins.
It is known that Harry Hopwood and Ronnie Hart disposed of the gun and the knife in the Regent's Canal. The gun has since been found and is in a museum. A failed attempt was also made to locate the carving knife from the river bed but nothing was found. He turned Queen’s Evidence in court and produced the longest account of the McVitie affair. His statement was written on the 16th October 1968. He received a three-year prison sentence for a garage hold up.
Later lifeEditHart allegedly attempted suicide but then emigrated to Perth, Australia to escape possible vengeance attacks by Kray sympathisers and was put on police protection. It is possible he is still alive but no information has ever been released (he possibly passed away from cancer in the early 2000s). He allegedly passed away from cancer in the 2000s. He was portrayed by Chris Mason in Legend (2015).
- Bennett, John. Krayology (2015). Mango Books.
|People associated with The Krays|
|Kray Family||Ronnie • Reggie • Charlie • Violet • Charles|
|Shea Family||Frances • Frank • Elsie • Frank Sr.|
|Lee Family||Cannonball Lee • Grandma Lee • Aunt Rose • Aunt May • Uncle John|
|The Firm||Albert Donoghue • Ian Barrie • Leslie Payne • Big Pat • Ronnie Bender • Ronnie Hart • Teddy Smith • Jack Dickson • The Bear • Chris Lambrianou • Tony Lambrianou • Connie Whitehead|
|The Richardsons||Charlie Richardson • Eddie Richardson • George Cornell • Mad Frankie Fraser • Roy Hall • Jimmy Moody • Barry Harris • Albert Longman • Tommy Clark|
|Gangsters & Criminals||Freddie Foreman • Jack Spot • Billy Hill • Bert Rossi • Albert Dimes • Eric Mason • Johnny Squibb • Ginger Marks • Leslie Holt|
|Civilians||The Barmaid • Blonde Carol • Maureen Flanagan • Nipper Read • Lord Boothby • John Pearson • David Bailey|
|Victims||George Cornell • Frank Mitchell • Jack the Hat|