George Cornell

On the 9th of March 1966, George Cornell was killed in the Blind Beggar public house by Ronnie Kray.

It has been said that Ronnie killed him because he called him a big fat poof to his face. If this had been the case then he would have been killed there and then. The fact that he may have uttered these words at all would prove to be just another nail in his coffin.

George Cornell had grown up with the Twins in the back streets of the East End so they knew him as well as anyone. They weren't afraid of him but they knew what he was capable of and they were always wary of him.

He was a formidable looking figure, about six foot tall , with a neck like a tree trunk. The man knew no fear, he was aggressive and could handle anything or anyone that got in his way. He has been described as a 'sick sadistic bastard' that loved to inflict pain on his enemies. He once got 3 years for slashing a woman's face.

He was a heavy drinker and when he was drunk everyone would stay well clear of him.

He moved to South London after meeting a girl from The Elephant and Castle. And it wasn't too long before he teamed up with Charlie and Eddie Richardson, the scrap metal dealers who ruled South London and Mad Frankie Fraser, the enforcer. The Krays were upset that their one time acquaintance had teemed up with their rivals who, as well as the Krays, were fighting for control of gangland London and the West End in particular.

There were a number of occasions when the Twins tried to muscle in on the Richardsons but were told by Cornell, in no uncertain terms that there wasn't any room for them in the deals. They seemed to accept this at the time but Ronnie didn't like being spoken down to, especially by Cornell. This played on Ronnie's mind and when the shooting at Mr Smith's and the Witchdoctor took place, he knew he had to act.

It was at Mr Smith's that their cousin Dickie Hart was shot and killed. They blamed Cornell, who they say, was the only one to escape from the scene.

A few days later, Cornell and Albie Woods were visiting their friend Jimmy Andrews in hospital who had lost his leg in a shooting. On the way back they stopped for a drink at the Blind Beggar public house in the Whitechapel road.

The Twins were having a drink with some of the Firm in the 'Widows' pub in Tapp street. It's real name was the Lion but it was called the 'Widows' because the Landlady's husband had died. Ronnie received a phone call telling him that Cornell was in the Blind Beggar. He told Reg that he was going to do Cornell. Reg said "lets talk about it". But Ronnie didn't want to talk. His mind had been made up long before the phone call.

He took Reg's driver, John 'Scotch Jack' Dickson and Ian Barrie, his right hand man. They jumped in their Ford Cortina and set off for the Beggars. On the way they stopped to pick up some guns.

When they arrived at the pub, Dickson waited outside while Ron and Ian Barrie went inside. Cornell and Woods were seated at the bar. When Cornell saw Ron he said, "Well look who's here" in a mocking, sneering sort of way. Ron didn't say a word he just took a 9mm Mauser pistol from his pocket and shot Cornell In the head. Ian Barrie fired some shots into the ceiling. They turned around and walked out as calmly as they had walked in.

There was a record playing on the juke box that had been hit by one of the ricocheting bullets. It was called 'The sun ain't gonna shine any more' by the Walker Brothers and it and it kept repeating, "the sun ain't gonna shine any more...any more...any more....." A fitting epitaph for George Cornell.

Ron went back to the widows and told Reg what had happened. They then went to a pub called the Chequers where they got cleaned up and changed their clothes. The news on the radio confirmed that Cornell was dead. Ron couldn't have been happier.

It wasn't long before the Twins were arrested and put on an identification parade. The witnesses couldn't or wouldn't identify them and they had to be released.

The killing of George Cornell, for the moment, was put to rest.


© 2012 Vardin Stephen & All rights reserved.