Sheffield Crown Court heard on January 18 how Kim Lane, aged 64, of Goodwin Avenue, Rawmarsh, Rotherham, had been charged with 15 offences of indecent assault and gross indecency dating back to between 1978 and 1980 in relation to two complainants who had been aged 12 and 14 during this period.
Ms Lane was the mother of the ‘adopted son’ of notorious London gangster Reggie Kray.
Brad Lane as a young boy developed a fascination with the Kray twin and became a pen pal while Reggie was in prison.
In 1991, Brad, who was 12, reportedly changed his name to Kray by deed poll.
Ms Lane’s late son Brad met the gangster regularly upon his release from prison and built up a collection of Kray memorabilia, which was later sold at auction.
Recorder Gurdial Singh told Sheffield Crown Court that Ms Lane had failed to attend her scheduled trial on Monday and police attended her address and found a body which - given the information he has received - he was satisfied was Ms Lane and that there were indications she had taken her life.
Nicola Quinney, prosecuting, said: “The defendant did not attend court yesterday and there were concerns for her welfare so police attended and she was found unconscious at her home address and she had been taken to hospital.”
Ms Quinney added that Ms Lane subsequently died at hospital.
She also said she had two statements from neighbours outlining how Ms Lane had asked them to sign her last will and testament on Sunday, January 16.
Ms Quinney said: “There is no real suggestion it is anybody other than Ms Lane with the body found at her address and the circumstances of what happened on Sunday.”
Recorder Singh confirmed Ms Lane was taken to hospital where she suffered a cardiac arrest and a doctor registered her life extinct at 2.45pm, on Monday, January 17.
He formally brought the legal proceedings concerning the charges which were denied by the defendant to an end.
The complainant in the case said: “I'm absolutely devastated by the justice system.
“Twelve years ago I went to the police. Originally the CPS would not take the case because it was my word against hers.
“I was sitting in the court. The judge acknowledged the circumstances of her death. But there was no mention of the victim.
“I've had no justification, no closure. The police have been excellent with me throughout, but it feels like the justice system gives no consideration to the victim.”
She said the case was picked up again three years ago after she had seen something on television about historic sex abuse case, and got in touch with a special historic cases panel.
She said she did not believe Ms Lane had intended to kill herself, but thought she may have been hoping to get the case postponed.
The complainant said: “I had waited 42 years for justice. Now there is no closure."
Following today’s hearing, Ms Lane’s defence barrister Joy Merriam said police initially received a report against Ms Lane in 2010 which was not proceeded with but there was a further report in 2017.
She said: “It has been hanging over her head for four years partly down to the pandemic and trials not going ahead and that she became mentally unfit to stand trial from September 2020 to December, 2021.”
Ms Merriam added: “When these allegations are made in this case, and 40 years later, it comes as enormous shock and it’s very difficult for those accused to find the evidence to defend themselves.”
She added that Ms Lane’s position was made more difficult because of the delays surrounding her trial especially given her mental health problems.
Ms Merriam said Ms Lane had “strenuously denied all allegations” against her and highlighted that delays in such cases create difficulties for both defendants and complainants.
A CPS spokesperson said: “The CPS carefully reviewed all the evidence in this case and we were satisfied that there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction, and that it was in the public interest to prosecute. As the defendant has sadly died, the case has been stopped.”