Kray Letters Sold For £1,360 At Auction

A grandmother credited with helping killer Reggie Kray become a born-again Christian sold letters and artwork he gave to her for £1,360 at auction today.

Carol-Ann Kelly struck up an unlikely friendship with the East End gangster while visiting her then husband in Parkhurst prison on the Isle of Wight in 1983.

Their bond flourished over the years after Kray said she reminded him of his late wife Frances, and the pair read the Bible together during visits.

The villain was so fond of Ms Kelly that he even paid for the rent on a flat on the Isle of Wight so she could visit him in prison with her then eight-year-old son David.

To some, Kray's claim to have become a born-again Christian was seen as a cynical attempt by him to help secure his release from jail.

But in the previously unseen letters, he shows apparent sincerity in his actions, according to grandmother-of-five Ms Kelly, now a volunteer at Holloway prison.

Writing to her after the breakdown of her marriage, he told her:

"Get your head together. Don't contemplate suicide. It would be like turning traitor on David and your mother.

"I became a born-again Christian on behalf of you."

This letter was among nine which failed to sell today after its reserve price was not met.

A letter that sold for £95 was written by Kray from Lewes prison in which he referred to Ms Kelly as being a big part of his life.

And a secret note passed by Reggie to Ms Kelly to give to his elder brother Charlie fetched £45. Part of it read:

 "Urgent you give it to him and not over the phone."

The letters were written in the 1980s when Kray was part-way through serving a life term for the murder of Jack "The Hat" McVitie.

Ms Kelly maintained contact with Kray through prison visits, letters and phone calls from 1983 to 1989 but insisted it was strictly platonic.

The friendship between Ms Kelly and Kray - who died from bladder cancer aged 66 in 2000 - appeared unusual as her father was a policeman and her mother worked for the Home Office.

As well as the letters, Kray also sent Ms Kelly a signed oil painting of a boxer for her son and a coloured pencil sketch of himself as a cowboy. They sold for £800 and £420 respectively.

Speaking at Gorringes Auctioneers in Lewes, East Sussex, Ms Kelly, from north-west London, said:

 "I'm glad it's all over because I've had them for 25 years.

"As my pastor said, everyone is now aware that Reggie was a born-again Christian. I'm happy with how much they fetched. It's quite sad to see them go but I still have a copy of everything on CD.

"I just hope that the person who has bought the items looks after them."

Proceeds from the sale of Ms Kelly's items will be donated to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead.

The top selling item was an oil painting of Reggie boxing, which sold for £2,500, after being given to an inmate in Parkhurst prison between 1982 and 1985.

Lots which failed to sell by other vendors included a signed Everlast silk dressing robe and a tracksuit, both once owned by Reggie.

Francesca Collin, from Gorringes auctioneers, said the sale proved the British public still has a fascination with the Kray twins.

She said: "This is a new twist to the Krays story, revealing his ability to form friendships with somebody simply through their Christian beliefs."