Tony Lambrianou; criminal (Krays co-worker)
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2004-03-04 03:48:29 UTC
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From The Independent:

Tony Lambrianou
Celebrity henchman of the Krays
04 March 2004

Anthony Lambrianou, criminal: born London 15 April
1942; married first 1962 Pat Strack (one son, one daughter;
marriage dissolved), second Wendy Mason; died Swanscombe,
Kent 26 February 2004.

Tony Lambrianou was a minor underworld figure who achieved a
peculiar 20th-century celebrity for his association with two
of Britain's most notorious criminals, Reg and Ron Kray.

In his time he had been a violent career criminal who had
been attracted to the glamour and easy pickings of the Kray
crime circus, but he acquired more status and respect for
his loyalty to the Krays, even after they were dead, than
for any of his criminal exploits. Not only did he become a
regular at charity events, in 2001, with his fellow
underworld icon Freddie Foreman, he was hired to promote the
shirtmakers Thomas Pink. The advertising agency countered
criticism by claiming, "They have served their time, paid
their debt and are now free to do whatever they want."

In autumn 1967 Tony Lambrianou and his brother Chris, as
junior members of the Kray firm, were tasked with luring
Jack "The Hat" McVitie to a flat in Stoke Newington, London,
for a party. McVitie had been a nuisance and embarrassment
to the Kray twins for some time, and in the chaotic
atmosphere that enshrouded the firm in the wake of the
Kray-engineered escape and subsequent killing of Frank
Mitchell, Ron's shooting of George Cornell and the suicide
of Reg's wife Frances, a further violent escalation was

McVitie had bungled a shooting for which the Krays had paid
him, and his final mistake was in threatening the twins
after ripping them off on a drug deal. Tony Lambrianou,
along with most of the Kray firm, assumed that a punishment
beating would take place, but Reg Kray first produced a
handgun which failed to fire, and then proceeded to butcher
McVitie with a carving knife. The Lambrianous assumed
responsibility for getting rid of the body, which was
wrapped in a bedspread and placed in McVitie's car. Tony
then drove the car to south London where the body was later
picked up and apparently given an informal burial at sea.

When, in 1968, the entire Kray firm was mopped up by a
special squad of detectives, Tony Lambrianou found himself
under a media spotlight seldom afforded to such a small-time
criminal. The ensuing trial at the Old Bailey saw several
key members of the firm turn Queen's Evidence, while the
Lambrianou brothers remained staunch throughout, and
received life with a 15-year recommendation.

Anthony Lambrianou was born in east London in 1942, the
third of five sons named after saints. His father
Christopher was a Cypriot who had been sold into slavery at
the age of 12. He escaped in Egypt and arrived in England as
a teenager. He found work during the First World War in a
Newcastle munitions factory, after which he trained as a
chef in London.

A highly successful gambler, in the late 1930s Christopher
Lambrianou bought a restaurant in Charlotte Street, in the
West End. At this time he was also drafted into the RAF and
was sent to work in the same Newcastle munitions factory,
where he met and married Lillian, the daughter of a strict
Roman Catholic farming family from Consett. By 1945 he had
acquired another restaurant in Charlotte Street and seemed
set for prosperity.

However, two years later a rat was discovered in one of the
restaurants and Christopher killed it by pouring boiling
water over it. At the High Court he was found guilty of
cruelty and was forced to sell the restaurants to pay the
massive legal costs. The family fortunes took a nosedive
from which they were never to recover.

Christopher picked up whatever casual kitchen work was
available, but this did not prevent the family enduring a
spell in a south London workhouse. In 1949 the Lambrianou
family was re-housed in a flat in bomb-ravaged Haggerston,
not far from Tony's birthplace in Bethnal Green. Despite
Lillian's ferocious defence of her sons, immersed in poverty
and the detritus of war, the Lambrianou brothers quickly
acquired a reputation as toughs and petty thieves.

As a child Tony was not averse to hard work, and from the
age of eight supplemented the family purse by working for a
coal merchant, and by selling sheets of race results. By the
time he left school at the age of 14 to work for a local bed
manufacturer, the Lambrianou brothers, despite their
hard-working, strict and religious parents, were well
established as thieves and fighters, and a more exciting
world of dancehalls, violence, scams and gangs beckoned.

Tony Lambrianou left the bed factory and made his money from
thieving and protection, and eventually received his first
conviction for burglary in 1960. The violence became more
extreme and Lambrianou thrived as an all-purpose
money-maker, stealing, running protection rackets, and
working as both a bookmaker's runner and a Jew-baiting
Mosleyite thug, at £50 per day. He received another
conviction in 1961 for housebreaking, resulting in a
three-year probation order.

Tony married a cab-driver's daughter, Pat Strack, in 1962,
and that year became a father for the first time. In 1963 he
received his first prison sentence - 18 months for stealing
a car - but was released on appeal nine months later. Tony's
older brother Chris was busy forging an even more formidable
reputation for reckless and violent adventurism, and both
Chris and Tony eventually attracted the attention of the
gangsters Reg and Ron Kray.

By the early 1960s the Krays were well established in the
East and West Ends of London, and were always on the lookout
for up-and-coming criminal talent. The Lambrianous could
also appreciate the benefits of association with such a
potent brand as the Kray twins, and they found that they
could make good money with minimal effort by merely uttering
the twins' names.

In 1965 Tony received a prison sentence of 30 months for
assault with intent to rob, and on his release became
closely associated with the event that was to mark the
demise of the Kray firm.

At the start of his sentence for his part in the murder of
McVitie, Tony Lambrianou was a 26-year-old father of two,
and he proceeded to serve some very hard time. Three of his
15 years were spent in punishment blocks as a result of
various assaults, riots and thefts.

On his release in September 1983 he faced a world more
complex than the one he had left behind. Both of his parents
were dead; his brother Chris, who had discovered religion
while in prison, and was released on the same day, became a
market gardener. Tony clashed with his wife and with his by
then grown-up children. Divorce and serious illness
followed, and in the late 1980s Tony Lambrianou began a
relationship with Wendy Mason, whom he later married.

But crime had been his life, and in 1991 he published an
autobiography, Inside the Firm: the untold story of the
Krays' reign of terror, and more recently co-authored with
Freddie Foreman Getting It Straight: villains talking
(2001). The public's enormous fascination with 1960s
gangland increased throughout the 1990s, and he became a
highly visible celebrity at boxing matches and charity
events. In 1995 he collaborated with a latter-day Kray
associate, Steve Wraith, in raising thousands of pounds for
the Gateshead burns victim Terry Moran.

Tony Lambrianou was a passionate keeper of the Kray flame,
and was willing to defend their most indefensible crimes. He
campaigned for the release of the twins and even after their
deaths (Ron died in 1995 and Reg in 2000) was always
available to speak to the mass media in never less than
glowing terms on their behalf. He often spoke of a set of
underworld ethics that now seem as dated as bowler hats and
bubble cars.

He was most eloquent about traditional family values. "If
you didn't have a family of brothers with you, you were
nothing. Brothers were your strength." Lambrianou knew all
about brothers.

Dick Hobbs
2004-03-04 21:44:48 UTC
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Were the Mitchell brothers (Phil and Grant) modelled after the Krays?
Bill Schenley
2004-03-05 04:49:27 UTC
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Post by Waterlou4
Were the Mitchell brothers (Phil and Grant) modelled
after the Krays?
Loosely ... But yes.
2016-08-21 11:22:43 UTC
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Where's Tony brother Chris today I wonder? Was 'Born again', but was a hard man that even Reggie Key had respect for an feared him too!
2016-08-23 13:40:48 UTC
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Post by p***@gmail.com
Where's Tony brother Chris today I wonder? Was 'Born again', but was a hard man that even Reggie Key had respect for an feared him too!
Still alive. He was at Ronnie Biggs' funereal.

2016-08-21 11:23:02 UTC
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Where's Tony brother Chris today I wonder? Was 'Born again', but was a hard man that even Reggie Key had respect for an feared him too!
2017-07-07 20:11:57 UTC
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How did Tony die?