Sunday Mirror


It was a scandal that rocked the Establishm­ent, with a shameful cover-up that forced the Sunday Mirror to pay out £40,000 damages. But finally, after 56 years, the truth can be told of the...


Sunday Mirror tale July, 1964 a plan. They helped Boothby hire lawyer Arnold Goodman, who advised talking to The Times. The legal eagle made a series of intimidati­ng calls to then Sunday Mirror editor Cecil King.


Our paper issued an apology and paid out £40,000 compensati­on (about £800,000 today) after hinting Boothby and Ronnie were having an affair.

They weren’t, but the truth was far more damaging. MI5 papers released in 2015 revealed they frequented West End gambling dens and clubs owned by Ronnie and his gangster twin

Reggie to “hunt” for young men. One man pictured with them was Leslie Holt – Boothby’s chauffeur and lover.

At the time, Britain was still reeling from the 1963 Profumo affair. Cabinet minister John Profumo had an affair with 19-year-old Christine Keeler, who was also seeing a Soviet naval attache.

There were fears secrets had been spilled. The whole episode affected Macmillan greatly, says writer Smith.

He adds: “I think he found it all too troubling because of what happened in his personal life. I think he found the idea of infidelity too upsetting.” Macmillan resigned as PM on health grounds in 1963. It spared him the Boothby saga a year later.

Kray died in jail in 1995, aged 61. He and Reggie had been found guilty in 1969 of killing Jack “The Hat” McVitie.

Ronnie was also convicted of murdering George Cornell. The twins got a minimum term of 30 years – then the longest sentence passed down at the Old Bailey for murder.

Boothby, who died in 1986, aged 86, was a colourful character, a regular on TV who loved to tell a story. He spoke of meeting Hitler in Germany in 1932.

The outrageous Lord claimed Hitler raised a salute, shouting “Heil Hitler”

– and he saluted back, yelling “Heil Boothby”. Smith says after researchin­g the peer, he is “conflicted” about him.

He says: “Politicall­y, I believe he was on the right side of history but never quite achieved high office. He seems an unfulfille­d talent. He was a great raconteur, but he was also a show-off who never conquered his demons.

“He liked attention, which got him into difficult situations, and other people paid the price along the way.

“The boys and men involved in the Kray episode were mainly in their late teens and it’s difficult to imagine they were at those parties of their own volition with a senior Establishm­ent figure and a terrifying criminal. That’s where sympathy for Boothby wanes. He’s very complex but he was a driving force in campaignin­g for the decriminal­isation of male relationsh­ips.

“I can’t help wonder what would his career have held if it was acceptable then to be a public figure and homosexual?” grace.macaskill@

Ronnie Kray & Lord Boothby
Orgies held at Kray’s place
SENSATION Ronnie Kray & Lord Boothby Orgies held at Kray’s place
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom