Charlie Richardson obituary
Charlie Richardson, who has died of peritonitis aged 78, was the head of the notorious Richardson gang, the main criminal rivals to the Krays in the 1960s. In 1967 he was sentenced to 25 years following the so-called "torture trial" in which it was alleged that the gang's victims were subjected to horrific violence.
The son of a prizefighter, Richardson was born in Twickenham, south-west London, and was first in trouble as a teenager for stealing a car. He worked briefly as an ice-cream salesman before being unwillingly called up for national service. During his induction interview, an officer asked him if he would give information to the Russians, to which he replied: "Fucking right I would." He then cut up his uniform and pretended to be mad.
It was in Camberwell, south London, that he, with the help of his brother, Eddie, built his empire, part legal through scrap metal and foreign investments and part illegal, through frauds, protection rackets and clubs, one of them at Elephant and Castle, cheekily named the Reform Club, where rough justice was delivered to people believed to have "taken a liberty".
More businesslike than the Krays, Richardson had an office in Park Lane and at one point was making millions.