The Murder of Jack McVitie by Reggie Kray on the 28th October 1967, was a pivotal event in the Kray twins criminal history, with the event itself (combined with The Murder of George Cornell) led to the life imprisonment of the twins and the downfall of The Firm.
On 29 October 1967, McVitie was invited to a party in Evering Road in Stoke Newington, London, with several of his underworld associates and their families. The Krays had secretly arrived at the party first and had spent an hour clearing away guests. Reggie Kray's initial plan to shoot McVitie upon entry failed. His gun jammed and, instead, he stabbed McVitie repeatedly in the face, chest and stomach as part of a brief but violent struggle. The twins quickly fled the scene and McVitie's body was deposited, wrapped in an eiderdown and left outside St. Mary's Church, Rotherhithe by Tony and Chris Lambrianou, and Ronnie Bender, who were minor members of the Firm.
When the Krays discovered the whereabouts of the corpse, they ordered it to be immediately moved, probably because of the close proximity of friend and associate Freddie Foreman. The body was never recovered, although in an interview in 2000 (which featured Reg Kray giving a frank account of the activity of the Firm 12 days before his death) Foreman admitted to throwing McVitie's body from a boat into the sea at Newhaven, Sussex. He was also reported to have been buried in a newly dug grave at Gravesend Cemetery in Kent.
Following McVitie's murder, the Krays and several other members of their gang were finally arrested by the Scotland Yard police officers who had been watching their exploits for years. At the Old Bailey on 4 March 1969, both were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a recommendation that they should each serve a minimum of 30 years. Ronnie's murder conviction was for the murder of rival gangster, George Cornell, whom he shot dead in March 1966.
The jury took 6 hours and 55 minutes to reach their unanimous verdict. Never before at the Old Bailey had such a long and expensive trial taken place. The Krays' elder brother Charlie, together with Freddie Foreman (who helped move the body) and Cornelius Whitehead, were all found guilty of being accessories to McVitie's murder.
Prison seemed to do much to encourage the myth and legend surrounding the Krays. Both wrote best-selling books about their lives and, in 1990, a full-length biographical film entitled The Krays was released (featuring real-life brothers Martin and Gary Kemp as the Kray twins). Jack McVitie was portrayed by actor Tom Bell in this film before also appearing in the 2004 film Charlie, this time depicted by Marius Swift. In the 2015 film about the Krays, Legend, he is played by Sam Spruell.