What a difference a blog makes! The flurry of excitement that kicked off after my January entry on Ray ‘The Cat’ Jones continues apace with the greatest cat burglar of all time being featured in yesterday’s Wales On Sunday. There are few new details in the piece by Nathan Bevan but there is a lovely photo of Ray The Cat as a part of the print version (not with the online variant, which you can find here). Of course, there has to be a news angle, and in this instance it is the fact that the account of Ray The Cat’s escape from Pentonville as quoted in my earlier blog features in Paul Buck’s recent book The E-list. Having done some further research, Wales On Sunday give a variant account which suggests Ray was one of two men to escape together. I suspect this version is more accurate than the solo escape tale Buck quotes from an old Frankie Fraser book. Bevan also says the infamous Sophia Loren jewel theft took place while Ray The Cat was still on the run after his 1958 Pentonville jail break. He also notes that in his younger days Ray was a boxer. I’d not mentioned this detail in my blogs but I had clocked it elsewhere.
Something else that has come up in relation to Ray The Cat is the ‘Princess Margaret story’. I’ve got no real leads on it, but someone I asked ‘guessed’ that Ray The Cat was the uncaught mastermind behind the 11 September 1971 safety deposit box robbery of the Lloyds Bank on the corner of Marylebone Road and Baker Street (central London). Supposedly a series of sexually compromising photographs of Princess Margaret were found by the robbers in one of the riffled safety deposit boxes. This particular heist had a very different modus operandi to Ray’s jewel and fur thefts, but I suppose anything is possible. However, I would stress that the person who suggested this to me was ‘guessing’, there is no evidence to back it up. I am, however, confident that there is a reader of this blog who could throw more light on the matter, should he care to do so. Moving on, in my last piece on Ray ‘The Cat’ Jones I mentioned news reports about him that had been posted on the web and subsequently come down. What follows is just one example of these lost posts retrieved from my archive:
Last Bid For Imprisonment
The man campaigning to be credited with the £185,000 burglary of Sophia Loren’s jewels from an Elstree hotel is fighting his last battle in his war against a “cover-up”.
Ray “the cat” Jones, who has an estimated career haul of £60 million, was never charged with the 1960 raid on the Norwegian Barn in the grounds of the Edgwarebury Hotel in Barnet Lane — but was incensed when his accomplice claimed sole credit for it in a 1994 book.
Together with his spokesman, Michael Morgan, Ray was back in the village recently, delivering hundreds of leaflets door-to-door, calling on the public to demand police arrest him for the crime.
“This is definitely our last protest,” said Mr Morgan, “we want to finally lay this to rest”.
Ray, now in his 80s, claims the police do not want to re-open the case because it would come to light that officers accepted £12,000 from him for information to help him carry out the raid.
Another claim is that a senior officer, “knowing” Ray had earlier been jailed for a burglary he did not commit, ordered colleagues to let him off for the Elstree job. Mr Morgan added: “I’m convinced beyond any shadow of a doubt there’s been a cover-up.” Police have denied the claims.
Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion. Saturday 20 February 1999. Borehamwood and Elstree Times.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!
Tags: Baker Street, Barnet Lane, Borehamwood, central London, Edgwarebury Hotel, Elstree, Frankie Fraser, Llodys Bank Safety Deposit Box robbery, London, Mad Frankie Fraser, Marylebone Road, Michael Morgan, Nathan Bevan, Paul Buck, Pentonville Prison, Princess Margaret, Ray Jones, Ray The Cat Jones, Raymond Jones, Sophia Loren, south Wales, The E... List: Notorious Prison Escapes, Wales On Sunday