On 9 March 1966, Cornell and his friend Albie Woods entered the saloon bar of the Blind Beggar pub, ordered some light ales and then sat upon stools next to the bar. At around 8:30pm, both men were approached by Ronnie Kray; on seeing him, Cornell sneered with sarcasm "Look who's here".
Ronnie Kray walked towards Cornell, took out a 9 mm Luger, and calmly shot him once in the forehead, just above his right eye. Cornell slumped against a nearby pillar, the bullet, apparently, passing straight through him. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died at around 03:30 a.m.
The news spread rapidly. Although Ronnie Kray was identified by several eyewitnesses as he calmly left the public house, no one would agree to testify against him and the police were forced to release him from custody. Cornell was buried in Camberwell New Cemetery, South London.
On 12 December 1966 the Krays helped Frank Mitchell, "The Mad Axeman", to escape from Dartmoor Prison (Frank Mitchell should not be confused with the contemporaneous Frankie Fraser, "Mad Frankie Fraser", who allied with the Krays' rivals, the Richardson gang). Ronnie had befriended Mitchell while they served time together in Wandsworth prison.
Mitchell felt the authorities should review his case for parole, so Ronnie felt he would be doing him a favour by getting him out of Dartmoor, highlighting his case in the media and forcing the authorities to act.
Once Mitchell was out of Dartmoor, the Krays held him at a friend's flat in Barking Road, East Ham. However, as a large man with a mental disorder, he was difficult to deal with. He disappeared and his body has never been found. The Krays were acquitted of his murder.
Freddie Foreman, a former member of The Firm, in his autobiography Respect claimed that Mitchell was shot and the body disposed of at sea.
Playwright Gill Adams wrote the play 'Jump to Cow Heaven', based on Frank Mitchell's time in hiding in the flat in Barking Road and his relationship with his minder and with an escort sent by the Krays to keep him company. The award-winning original production included Martin Freeman in the cast.
Jack "the Hat" McVitie
The Krays' criminal activities continued hidden behind their celebrity status and "legitimate" businesses.
In October 1967, four months after the suicide of his wife Frances, Reggie was alleged to have been encouraged by his brother to kill Jack "the Hat" McVitie, a minor member of the Kray gang who had failed to fulfill a £1,500 contract paid to him in advance by the Krays to kill Leslie Payne. McVitie was lured to a basement flat in Evering Road, Stoke Newington on the pretence of a party.
As he entered, Reggie Kray pointed a handgun at his head and pulled the trigger twice, but the gun failed to discharge. Ronnie Kray then held McVitie in a bear hug and Reggie Kray was handed a carving knife.
He stabbed McVitie in the face and stomach, driving it deep into his neck, twisting the blade, continuing as McVitie lay on the floor dying. Several other members of The Firm including the Lambrianou brothers (Tony and Chris) were convicted of this. In Tony Lambrianou's biography, he claims that when Reggie was stabbing Jack, his liver came out and he had to flush it down the toilet. McVitie's body has never been recovered.