LISTEN: 'Open your eyes Greg' - the bizarre tape sent to Irishman in coma from notorious English gangster Reggie Kray
Published 11/09/2015 | 15:10
An Irishman who was assaulted and left for dead was sent an extraordinary tape from notorious English gangster Reggie Kray, pleading with him to ‘open his eyes’.
Dubliner Greg Smith was 34 years of age when he was beaten up outside a pub where he lived in Dover, Kent.
The attack, which took place in 1995, hit local headlines as Greg was left in a coma with his injuries.
His brother Vincent Smith was keeping a bedside vigil when he received the bizarre tape from criminal Reggie Kray who was serving time in HM Prison Maidstone, Kent.
Twins Reggie and Ronnie Kray were well-known heads of organised crime in the East End of London in the 1950s and 1960s.
As West End nightclub owners, they enjoyed a celebrity status themselves and were regularly photographed with music and television stars.
The extraordinary tape was aired on RTE Radio One's Liveline for the first time in 20 years today, as Tom Hardy's biopic of the Kray twins 'Legend' hits cinemas.
Speaking today, Mr Smith said he was aware of the infamous Kray brothers when he received the package.
(You can hear Reggie Kray's message to Greg at 7.05 on the recording)
“I was aware of [Reggie Kray] but I didn’t know him personally, I’d never met them,” Mr Smith said.
“Reggie was in Maidstone Prison at the time, I’m presuming he saw the articles about Greg in the hospital.
“It was headed note paper and the cassette tape… It was signed off from Reggie Kray and I thought what’s this?
“I put the cassette tape in Greg’s Walkman and I put the tape on, I nearly went into a coma listening to the tape myself.”
The recording, which has been verified by an expert, hears Reggie Kray speaking slowly in his East London accent:
“This is your friend Reggie Kray speaking.
“Open your eyes. Open your eyes. Don’t hesitate.
“Just open your eyes.
“And we can talk – I will shake your hand and we will talk.
“This is Reggie Kray speaking. I wish to speak to you.
“Please open your eyes.
“Just do this Greg, open your eyes and talk to me.
“Don’t slip back, open your eyes.
“Greg, open your eyes and talk to me.
“This is Reggie Kray, your friend, I wish to talk to you.”
Vincent said he never played the tape to Greg, but described it as a ‘nice gesture’ form the infamous twin.
“It was a nice gesture of him, I never played it to Greg,” he said.
“I haven’t a clue why he sent it, I never looked further into it.
“The only thing I could think of was maybe Reggie knew of the bond I had with my brother from the newspaper reports, because he had his bond with his brother Ronnie.
“Greg passed away a few weeks afterwards I received the tape, he never woke up."
The tape was verified before the broadcast this afternoon by UK crime museum owner Andy Jones.
“I would say it is 1,000pc genuine,” Mr Jones said.
“I used to visit Reg Kray around that time, he would call me about a number of items as well.
“He had a tape recorder – he used to listen to it himself and then send them out himself as well.
“I can say that’s Reggie Kray.”
Mr Jones said Reggie Kray suffered from a number of illnesses in the 1990s and this could be a reason for what sounds like the effects of poor health on the tape.
“He suffered different kinds of illnesses and then he died in the year 2000. Those years he was in quite bad condition himself,” he said.
“The Krays were firm in their heyday. I know we have to think of the victims of that period, I don’t condone anything they did, but I know from themselves that they did mellow as time went on.
“It doesn’t take away from what they actually did, but they raised money for a lot of charities, believe it or not, they did a lot of good work off the back of what was a lot of bad in their heyday.”