John Alexander Barrie more commonly known as Scotch Ian Barrie was an integral member of The Firm, serving as Ronnie Kray's right-hand man. He was present at the murder of George Cornell at The Blind Beggar, where he fired three shots into the ceiling of the pub. John Pearson described him as the "ultra-loyal" member of The Firm.
Barrie served as a soldier in the marines and had a scar from a tank fire on his face. Known as The Firm's man of mystery, he has kept a remarkably low profile since serving his time in prison after 1980, allegedly now living in Nottingham.
Barrie was born in Bristol in 1937, and his family moved to Edinburgh when he was a few months old. Barrie spent a year employed as a seaman with a whaling company in the Antarctic, and from 1958 to 1961 had served in the Royal Scots Greys. During this time that Barrie had an accident when his tank caught fire when it was being serviced, resulting in burns on the right side of his face, his ear, and around the right hand and wrist. He was treated at Catterick Military Hospital, leaving Barrie with multiple scars. Jack Dickson stated, “this didn’t stop women finding him attractive... he looked tough and we got on well together. He could obviously handle himself.” Barrie worked on Salveson’s Shipping Company in Leith, where he met Jack Dickson.
Move to London
Barrie and Jack Dickson both moved to London, initially finding accommodation in King’s Cross (a common place for first-time Irish and Scottish migrants to settle). On 18 June 1964, Barrie was charged with ‘wandering abroad’ and was given a conditional discharge for a month. The pair then moved to Stoke Newington to a bedsit, in return for working as window cleaners. It was during this time that they heard from a colleague about a card club in Brick Lane in the heart of the East End and later moved to the area, where the pair became acquaintances with the twin's uncle Alf and were introduced to the twins in 1964.
After joining The Firm, Barrie and Dickson began to visit The 20th Century Club which was looked after the twins uncle, Billy Kray, the younger brother of Charles Kray. Barrie first met Reggie in The Grave Maurice pub in Whitechapel. Ronnie was unimpressed that Uncle Billy had brought two strangers to the pub without informing him first. After several weeks, Barrie and Dickson had won the trust of the Krays and Ronnie offered them both the chance to work for the Firm. Every Friday, members of The Firm, Albert Donoghue, Ronnie Hart, Jack Dickson and Ian Barrie would make the rounds, collecting the cash for the twins. It was known as "the milk round."
The Murder of George Cornell
Ronnie was drinking in another pub when he learned of Cornell's location. He went there with his driver "Scotch Jack" John Dickson and his assistant Ian Barrie. Ronnie went into the pub with Barrie, walked straight to Cornell and shot him in the head in public view. Barrie, confused by what happened, fired three shots in the air warning the public not to report what had happened to the police. Just before he was shot, Cornell remarked, "Well, look who's here." He died at 3:00 am in hospital.
Arrest and later life
Barrie, aged thirty-one at the time, was drinking in the now-demolished British Oak pub, Lea Bridge Road at the time of his arrest. He was found guilty for the murder of George Cornell and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation to serve at least 20 years, having been arrested at 471 Lea Bridge Road.
After serving his prison sentence and being released in 1980, Barrie has kept a very low profile and has released no book or interviews unlike other members of The Firm, allegedly living in Nottingham and working as a sales rep, in the latter part of his life. It has also been alleged that he was living in a small town on the Clyde, a few miles north of Glasgow in the early 2000s. Barrie was portrayed by Mel Raido in Legend (2015).
- Bennett, John. Krayology (2015). Mango Books.
|People associated with The Krays|
|Kray Family||Ronnie • Reggie • Charlie • Violet • Charles|
|Shea Family||Frances • Frank • Elsie • Frank Sr.|
|Lee Family||Cannonball Lee • Grandma Lee • Aunt Rose • Aunt May • Uncle John|
|The Firm||Albert Donoghue • Ian Barrie • Leslie Payne • Big Pat • Ronnie Bender • Ronnie Hart • Teddy Smith • Jack Dickson • The Bear • Chris Lambrianou • Tony Lambrianou • Connie Whitehead|
|The Richardsons||Charlie Richardson • Eddie Richardson • George Cornell • Mad Frankie Fraser • Roy Hall • Jimmy Moody • Barry Harris • Albert Longman • Tommy Clark|
|Gangsters & Criminals||Freddie Foreman • Jack Spot • Billy Hill • Bert Rossi • Albert Dimes • Eric Mason • Johnny Squibb • Ginger Marks • Leslie Holt|
|Civilians||The Barmaid • Blonde Carol • Maureen Flanagan • Nipper Read • Lord Boothby • John Pearson • David Bailey|
|Victims||George Cornell • Frank Mitchell • Jack the Hat|