Reggie Kray’s prison pal says gangster ‘wasn’t like’ his notorious reputation10/08/2023
Inside the World's Toughest Prison star Raphael Rowe became friends with gangster Reggie Kray when they were incarcerated together.
The presenter, 55, has returned to front the seventh series of his hit Netflix show, once again coming face to face with some of the world's most dangerous criminals. In the newest series, the broadcast journalist steps inside four prisons across the globe – Bali in Indonesia, Czech Republic, Finland and the Solomon Islands.
But Raphael is no stranger to spending time in prison. In 1990, he sentenced to life in prison after being wrongfully convicted for a murder that took place in 1988 as well as series of aggravated burglaries.
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During his time behind bars, Raphael met and even struck up a friendship with Reggie Kray, a notorious gangster who became a known figure in organised crime alongside his twin brother, Ronnie Kray. The brothers were handed life sentences in 1969, having spent more than a decade operating in the East End of London.
Raphael opened up about the friendship he former with Reggie, admitting he saw him "differently" to how he was painted out in the media. He exclusively told Daily Star: "I became friends with Reggie Kray, a notorious gangster in the eyes of the media and the general public.
"The Charles Bronson's of the world, the Richardson's. These are UK based so-called gangsters. For me it's mythical because I knew the men themselves and I knew the real characters behind the headlines."
Raphael continued: "I've had conversations with these men and see them differently. That's not me saying that they're good people or bad people, I'm just saying I've been in the presence of these individuals as well as serial killers in the making of the documentaries that I create."
While locked up, the TV star revealed he was often punished as he refused to conform to prison rules. He explained "I didn't conform to the regime. I was an innocent man in prison and the expectations for me to conform to a regime that I didn't accept and believe in led me into conflict with the prison guards.
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"In my 12 years in prison I was in constant conflict. Prison guards dehumanised me and treated me like a murderer when I was innocent." Raphael added: "That brought me into conflict with guards and consequences were often that I would get punished. I'd be put on report or dragged down to the segregation block."
Raphael Rowe presents Netflix's 'Inside The World's Toughest Prisons'. Series seven available now
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