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Chris and Tony Lambrianou were brothers from an upright family in North West London. Their father was Greek and their mother Irish. Both being hardworking and making a go of the restaurant business. The boys were two of five children and as far as we know were the only ones that drifted into a criminal career.
From early youth sentences in jail for theft they moved into bigger crime and came to the attention of Freddie Foreman and the Krays. The Krays didn’t actually commit any crimes themselves and always had others do the deed or they took a percentage of any thefts on their East London turf. If you were in with the Krays then you were protected and over time the Lambianous got in with the Krays.
Seeing a limit to what they could achieve criminally in London because of this unspoken rule that you had to clear it with the Krays first the brothers moved out and up to the west midlands and Manchester where they got involved setting up ‘long firm’ scams in Club life and criminal partnerships which included Chalie Kray who was running clubs up there at the time. The brothers were soon established as the top team.
Their biggest regret must be their friendship, albeit a means to an end, with the Krays as it was the murder of Jack McVitie that was their undoing.
The brothers were in London and out drinking with mates when Tony suggested they go on to the Regency Club, a club protected by the Krays and a well known hang out for villains. It was a place to avoid on a Saturday night as young ‘wannabees’ would often cause a fight with better known ‘faces’ to try to impress. But Tony insisted they go and as soon as they got inside Jack McVitie came over and joined them as did the Mills brothers.
When Tony was getting a round of drinks McVitie told Chris that he didn’t trust his brother. He was going to be proved so right with that. When Tony came back with the drinks he said there was a party at ‘blond Carols’ place down the road. Blond Carol was a lady who flitted from one criminal boyfriend to the next and just part of the scene as were so many ‘ ladies of the night’.
There was no party at Blond Carol’s place 65 Evering Road, McVitie, the Mills and the Lambrianous were greeted by Ronnie Hart who led them down to the basement where a trap had been laid for Mcvitie who had become a thorn in the side of the Krays by causing too much trouble in their ‘protected’ pubs and clubs because of his liking for beer and violence. The Krays had warned him about it but he had mouthed off about them being weak and a ‘pair of puffs’. And that couldn’t be allowed.
When they all entered the basement at Blond Carol’s there was no party, no girls just the Krays and at once Reggie Kray put a gun to McVitie,s head and pulled the trigger. It failed to fire, twice.
Chris Lambrianou quickly left the building shouting over his shoulder that he wanted ‘nothing to do with this stuff.’
Outside he was caught by Connie Whitehead and then the Krays and half a dozen of their minders came out too.
Ronnie Kray asked ‘ What’s the matter with Chris?’
Connie Whitehead told him ‘ He didn’t know this was going to happen.’
‘Take him home,’ said Ronnie.
So Whitehead took him home to the family flat in Queensbridge Road. But after a while to calm down Chris realised that Tony was part of this plan to kill McVittie otherwise why had he been so insistent on going to the Regency Club where McVitie was known to hang out a lot and then for all of them to go to the ‘party’ that didn’t exist.
He went back to Blond Carol’s and found Ronnie Bender a small time Kray ‘hanger-on’ and driver the only one there. He said everyone had gone and left him to get rid of the body.
‘What body? ‘
At that point Tony turned up and they all went into the basement where MVitie’s body lay in the middle of a pool of blood on the floor where Reggie Kray had stabbed him many, many times.
Blond Carol arrived home with her current boyfriend and they were told to go upstairs to the flat and forget what they’d see. She later became a key Prosecution witness against the Krays and Lambianous in the Old Bailey. More on that later. The body was wrapped in an old eiderdown and the room cleaned before pulling McVitie’s own car up outside the house and putting him in the boot. The first idea was to chuck the body onto a railway line where the next train would mash it to an unrecognisable pulp and the police would think a drunk McVitie had wandered onto the line in a drink filled stupor. But the nearest line was difficult to get to so the next idea was to take the body to South of the River and dump it on the Richardson’s manor so they would be prime suspects. Just through Rotherhithe tunnel their bottle went and they dumped the car and its contents by St Mary’s Church and all went home.
The Lambrianou brothers fled to Birmingham and were surprised that there was nothing in the papers or on the news about McVitie until they learnt a few days later that the Krays had been made aware of what had happened to the body ( probably by Bender) on the same night it was dumped and they didn’t want it to be found on another firm’s turf as that would lead to war. You clear up your own mess was an unwritten code and you do not move it onto another manor. So it is alleged that they got Freddie Foreman and his Deptford team to get it and dispose of it for a fat fee. Unsubstantiated rumour has it that McVitie ended up as pig food on an Essex pig farm.
At this time a team of Scotland Yard detectives under Commander John du Rose had been given the order by the Home Secretary to bring down the Krays as they were becoming too popular and too big. The only way this would be done was by persuading somebody close to them to grass them up. And that is exactly what happened.
On October 28th 1967 Nipper Read arrested the Krays and most of the others who were at the party and in his interview with Chris Lambianou Read told him exactly what had happened at Blond Carol’s and that could only have come from somebody who was there and had struck a deal with the Police.
It was both Blond Carol and Ronnie Hart who stood up in court at the trial and told the whole story. The Lambianous defence that they didn’t see anything and were not even there was blown to smithereens.
If Chris Lambianou had told the police the truth that he was outside the room and not physically involved in what had happened he would have probably got a short sentence but for some reason he kept saying he wasn’t there and the Police had witnesses who said he was. So he was implicated in the murder by a false sense of loyalty to the Krays which had put him in the frame when he had no need to be. He had thought that had he admitted to being there then he would have been made to testify against the Krays and confirm they were there. They had denied being present as well.
The jury returned verdicts of guilty of murder on all of them. Reggie Kray got life; Ronnie got life; Ian Barrie a Kray hard man got life with 20yrs recommendation; Tony Lambrianou got minimum 15 years, Chris Lambianou got life with minimum 15 years and the other players all got lesser sentences.