Ronnie Knight

Last updated

Ronald Knight (born 20 January 1934)[ citation needed ] is a British former nightclub owner and convicted criminal.

Contents

Early life

Born in Hoxton in the East End of London, he was responsible for minor infractions of the law when young, whereas his brothers Johnny and James were involved in more significant crimes. [1] Along with Johnny, Knight was friendly with the Kray brothers, but, he says, was not connected with their illegal activities. He also had another brother, David and a sister, Patsy. [2] Knight was sentenced to 15 months in prison in 1961 for dealing in stolen goods. [2]

The two clubs he ran, the Artistes and Repertoire Club (known as the A&R) on Charing Cross Road and its neighbour Tin Pan Alley in Soho, London, were drinking establishments favoured by the criminal underworld. [1] [2]

Later criminal trials

Zomparelli killing

David, Knight's brother, was stabbed to death by Alfredo Zomparelli, who himself was murdered in 1974 after being released following a prison sentence for manslaughter (Zomparelli had pleaded self-defence). After hitman George Bradshaw confessed to his involvement, and alleged Knight had paid him £1,000 for the task, Knight was arrested for the murder of Zomparelli and tried at the Old Bailey in 1980; Knight was acquitted. [1] In his later Memoirs and Confessions (1998), Knight said he had hired a hitman, Nicky Gerard, to carry out the killing [3] (Gerard, later also murdered, was acquitted at the same trial as Knight) in payback for the murder of his brother. [4] Under the double jeopardy rules in force at the time, it meant he could not be tried a second time, [5] although Knight again denied responsibility in 2002. [2]

Connection to 1983 Security Express robbery

Knight spent a decade on the run living in southern Spain's Costa del Sol, [2] after fleeing on the night his brother was arrested in 1984 for a robbery at a Security Express depot the previous year. [6] John Knight was later imprisoned in June 1985 for 22 years for co-arranging the robbery. Their other surviving brother James was among the other gang members and received eight years for handling stolen money. [7] [8] While evading extradition in Spain, Ronnie Knight ran an Indian restaurant named Mumtaz and an eponymous nightclub, RKnights, the scene of violent crimes including a physical attack upon Knight, but by the mid-1990s, he was in financial difficulties. [9]

After returning to Britain in May 1994, [10] Knight was jailed for seven years in January 1995 for handling £300,000 in stolen money from the £6m armed robbery at a Security Express depot in east London in 1983. He said he was not involved in the robbery, and the prosecution counsel Michael Worsley QC agreed the charge should remain on file, but Knight did plead guilty to handling the stolen bank notes. Judge Gerald Gordon said when sentencing Knight: "Clearly, I do not know what precise role you played. But professional robbers such as those involved are not going to hand over the sort of sums you got unless the person to whom they give it is very deeply involved himself". [11]

Personal life

Knight left his first wife Elizabeth White, to marry actress Barbara Windsor in 1964; [2] the couple divorced in 1985. [12] In 1987, Knight married Sue Haylock, his third wife, in Fuengirola. [9]

Selected publications

Related Research Articles

Great Train Robbery (1963)

The Great Train Robbery was the robbery of £2.6 million from a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London on the West Coast Main Line in the early hours of 8 August 1963, at Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn, near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire, England.

Kray twins British criminals

Ronald "Ronnie" Kray and Reginald "Reggie" Kray, twin brothers, were British criminals, the foremost perpetrators of organised crime in the East End of London during the 1950s and 1960s. With their gang, known as "The Firm", the Krays were involved in murder, armed robbery, arson, protection rackets and assaults.

The Melbourne gangland killings were the murders of 36 criminal underworld figures in Melbourne between January 1998 and August 2010. The murders were in a series of retributive killings involving various underworld groups. The deaths caused a sustained power vacuum within Melbourne's criminal community, as various factions fought for control and influence. Many of the murders remain unsolved, although detectives from the Purana Taskforce believe that Carl Williams was responsible for at least 10 of them. The period culminated in the arrest of Williams, who pleaded guilty on 28 February 2007 to three of the murders.

The Brink's-Mat robbery occurred at the Heathrow International Trading Estate, London, on 26 November 1983. £26 million worth of gold bullion, diamonds, and cash was stolen from a warehouse. The bullion was the property of Johnson Matthey Bankers Ltd, which collapsed the following year after making large loans to frauds and insolvent firms. Two men were convicted, and the majority of the gold has never been recovered. Insurers Lloyd's of London paid out for the losses. Several deaths have been linked to the case, and there are links to the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary in April 2015.

Lewis Moran was an Australian organized crime figure and patriarch of the infamous Moran family of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Notable for his involvement in the Melbourne gangland killings, Moran was shot dead in The Brunswick Club Hotel in Melbourne on 31 March 2004. His murder occurred one week after the funeral of fellow Melbourne underworld criminal and suspected hitman Andrew Veniamin.

The Wonderland murders, also known as the Four on the Floor Murders or the Laurel Canyon Murders, are four unsolved murders that occurred in Los Angeles, California on July 1, 1981. It is assumed that five people were targeted to be killed in the known drug house of the Wonderland Gang, three of whom were present. All three of them, Ron Launius, Billy DeVerell, and Joy Miller, along with the girlfriend of an accomplice, Barbara Richardson, died from extensive blunt-force trauma injuries. Only Launius' wife, Susan Launius, survived the attack, allegedly masterminded by the organized crime figure and nightclub owner Eddie Nash. Nash, his henchman Gregory Diles, and porn star John Holmes were at various times arrested, tried, and acquitted for their involvement in the murders. LAPD detectives are on record saying the crime scene was bloodier and more gruesome than that of the Tate-LaBianca murders.

Securitas depot robbery Large cash robbery

The Securitas depot robbery was a large heist in Tonbridge, Kent, England. It began with a kidnapping on the evening of 21 February 2006 18:30 GMT and ended in the early hours of 22 February, when the criminals left the depot with over £53 million cash. It was the UK's largest cash robbery and the gang left behind another £154 million only because it did not have the room to take it.

Desmond Noonan

Desmond Patrick "Dessy" Noonan was an English organised crime figure from Manchester, who acted as a political fixer for the Noonan crime family. He and his younger brother, Dominic Noonan, were suspected by police to be responsible for at least 25 unsolved murders during their 20-year reign over Manchester's underworld.

The Arifs are a South East London-based Turkish Cypriot criminal organization heavily involved in armed robbery, contract killing, drug trafficking and other racketeering-related activities within London's underworld since the late 1960s. Following the downfall of the Kray brothers, the Arifs were one of several criminal organizations who took control of the London underworld including the Clerkenwell crime syndicate and the Brindle family with whom they were engaged in a highly publicized gangland war during the 1990s.

Paul John Ferris is a Scottish author and former organised crime figure. Ferris was an enforcer for Glasgow 'Godfather' Arthur Thompson in the early 1980s. Known for his ruthlessness and extreme violence, he rose to a prominent position in the city's criminal underworld.

Ronald Joseph Trucchio, also known as "Ronnie One Arm", is a New York mobster with the Gambino crime family who ran The Ozone Park Boys crew during the 1990s.

The Pettingill family is a Melbourne-based criminal family, headed by matriarch Kath Pettingill. Family members have many convictions for criminal offences including drug trafficking, arms dealing and armed robberies.

Breed Motorcycle Club

The Breed Motorcycle Club was a one-percenter motorcycle club that was formed in Asbury Park, New Jersey in the United States in 1965. The club disbanded in 2006 after numerous prominent members were indicted on racketeering and drug trafficking charges.

Freddie Foreman is an English gangster. He was tried on two occasions for murder, and found not guilty, and has convictions for handling the proceeds of an armed robbery and separately for disposing of a body.

Murder of Anni Dewani

Anni Ninna Dewani was a Swedish woman of Indian origin who was murdered while on her honeymoon in South Africa after the taxi in which she and her husband were travelling was hijacked.

The Tanglewood Boys was an Italian-American recruitment gang or "farm team" for the American Mafia, specifically the Lucchese crime family. The gang frequently operated from the Tanglewood Shopping Center in Yonkers, New York.

David "Daithí" Douglas, an Irish zookeeper turned criminal, was shot dead on 1 July 2016. He had convictions dating from the 1980s as well as more recent ones and had survived a shooting the previous November. His murder is part of the Hutch–Kinahan feud. In August 2018 'Fat' Freddy Thompson was found guilty of the murder by the Special Criminal Court.

The City bonds robbery of 1990 was a heist in which £291.9 million was stolen in London, England. The carefully planned operation made it seem at first as if a courier had been mugged on 2 May, yet City of London police soon realised that it was a sophisticated global venture which ended up involving participants such as the New York mafia, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), and Colombian drug barons.

John Kinsella was an English criminal from Everton, near Liverpool. He was shot dead in May 2018, the killers using encrypted EncroChat handsets to co-ordinate the murder.

Mark Fellows (5 September 1980) is an English hitman convicted of the murders of John Kinsella and Paul Massey. At the time of his conviction he was only one of 70 prisoners sentenced to a whole life term.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Campbell, Duncan (5 January 2018) [1995]. "Ronnie Knight, the clubland charmer who fell under the spell of fame – archive, 1995". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Ronnie and his readies". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 4 June 2002. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  3. "Police bid to break gangland silence". BBC News. 3 December 2000. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  4. Summers, Chris (11 December 1999). "Deaths linked to gangland feud". BBC News. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  5. Glinert, Ed (2007). West End Chronicles: 300 Years of Glamour and Excess in the Heart of London. London: Allen Lane. p. 335. ISBN   9780141024646.
  6. "The world's biggest robberies". The Guardian. 28 January 2008. ISSN   0261-3077 . Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  7. "A tale of two dodgy Knights". Evening Standard. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  8. Morton, James (2009) [2000]. "East End Gangland". London: Hatchette Digital/Little, Brown. p. 227. ISBN   9780748114047.
  9. 1 2 MacKinnon, Ian (5 January 1995). "End of an era for the Costa del Crime". The Independent. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  10. "Ronnie Knight on 7m pounds armed raid charge". The Independent. 2 May 1994. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  11. MacKinnon, Ian (5 January 1995). "Knight jailed for seven years". The Independent. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  12. Griffiths, Eleanor Bley (22 September 2017). "How accurate is BBC drama Babs? Everything you need to know about the real Dame Barbara Windsor". Radio Times. Retrieved 5 January 2018.