Known as the “Torture Gang” and also primarily as rivals of the Kray Twins, the Richardson Gang were infamous particularly for their brutality. Like the Kray Twins, the gang was headed by two brothers, Charlie and Eddie Richardson, who were born to an unremarkable family in South London. Little is known of their childhood, but what is known is that their turn to the life of crime began shortly after their father abandoned their family, likely out of a necessity to survive in poverty.
Their crimes included racketeering, theft, murder, assault, prostitution. However, what set them apart from the other gangs was their sadism and reputation for carrying out brutal punishments and killings. Taking pleasure in terrorising the residents of their “territory” and in punishing those who disobeyed them, the twins would make use of mock trials that usually resulted in an extreme form of torture for the persecuted. These trials involved the persecuted being brought before the twins, interrogated for their alleged misdeeds and then their punishments would be carried out before all present. Said punishments often involved plying out teeth, cigarette burning, nailing to the floor, whipping and the removal of small limbs. The very act of torture was mockingly described as “taking a shirt from Charlie”, as it was custom for the Richardson sibling to “kindly” give away a shirt of his to the victim that had been tortured, as their own shirt was usually damaged beyond repair and stained with blood. The gang also came close to full-out war with the Kray Twins, after the shooting of a Kray associate, Richard Hart, during a brawl on Richardson Gang premises. Eventually, the Gang was destroyed through the numerous arrest of many gang members and the Richardson Siblings themselves during the late 60s and most were put away for life. However, the bloody legacy it left on the streets of London that it terrorised will not soon be forgotten.