|Born||Francis Davidson Fraser
13 December 1923 (age 89)
Lambeth, South London, England
|Occupation||Celebrity, actor, tour guide|
Francis Davidson Fraser (born 13 December 1923, and better known as "Mad" Frankie Fraser) is a former English criminal and gang member who spent 42 years in prison for numerous violent offences.
Early life 
Born in Lambeth, south London, Fraser was a deserter during World War II, on several occasions escaping from his barracks. It was during the war that Fraser first became involved in serious crime, with the blackout and rationing, combined with the lack of professional policemen due to conscription, providing ample opportunities for criminal activities. In 1941, he was sent to Borstal for breaking into a Waterloo hosiery store and was then given a 15-month prison sentence at Wandsworth Prison for shopbreaking. Such were the criminal opportunities during the war, Fraser later joked in a television interview that he had never forgiven the Germans for surrendering.
After the war, Fraser was involved in a smash-and-grab raid on a jeweller's for which he received a two-year prison sentence, served largely at Pentonville Prison. It was during this sentence that he was first certified insane and was sent to the Cane Hill Hospital, London, before being released in 1949. During the 1950s his main occupation was as bodyguard to well-known gangster Billy Hill. He took part in more bank robberies and spent more time in prison. He was again certified insane while at Durham Prison and this time sent to Broadmoor. Aware of the punishments for bad behaviour in that institution, Fraser stayed out of trouble and was released in 1955. In 1956, the British mobster Jack Spot and wife Rita were attacked, on Hill's say-so, by Fraser, Bobby Warren and at least half a dozen other men. Both Fraser and Warren were given seven years for their acts of violence.
The Richardson Gang 
It was in the early 1960s that he first met Charlie and Eddie Richardson, members of the notorious Richardson Gang and rivals to the Kray twins. One member of the criminal fraternity was quoted as saying that “Mad Frank joining the Richardson’s Gang was like China getting the atom bomb”. According to Fraser, it was they who helped him avoid arrest for the Great Train Robbery by bribing a policeman. Together they set up the Atlantic Machines fruit machines enterprise, which acted as a front for the criminal activities of the gang. In 1966 Fraser was charged with the murder of Richard Hart who was shot at Mr Smiths's club in Catford while other members including Jimmy Moody were charged with affray. The witness changed his testimony and the charges were eventually dropped, though he still received a five-year sentence for affray. Fraser has always maintained that, while he fought with Hart, he did not shoot him. He was also implicated in the so-called 'Torture trial', in which members of the gang were charged with burning, electrocuting and whipping those found guilty of disloyalty by a kangaroo court. Fraser himself was accused of pulling out the teeth of victims with a pair of pliers. In the trial at the Old Bailey in 1967 he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
Fraser's 42 years served in over 20 different prisons in the UK were often coloured by violence. He was involved in riots and frequently fought with prison officers and fellow inmates as well as attacking various governors. He was one of the ringleaders of the major Parkhurst Prison riot in 1969, spending the following six weeks in the prison hospital, owing to his injuries. Involvement in such activities often led to his sentences being extended. Whilst in Strangeways, Manchester in 1980 Fraser was 'excused boots' as he claimed he had problems with his feet because another prisoner dropped a bucket of boiling water on them after Fraser had hit him. So he was allowed to wear slippers. He was released from prison in 1985.
Later life 
Fraser has become something of a celebrity, appearing on television shows such as Operation Good Guys, Shooting Stars, and the satirical show Brass Eye, where he said Noel Edmonds should be shot for killing Clive Anderson (an incident invented by the show's producers), and writing an autobiography. In 1999 he appeared at the Jermyn Street Theatre in London in a one man show, An Evening with Mad Frankie Fraser (directed by Patrick Newley), which subsequently toured the UK.
He also appeared as East End crime boss Pops Den in the feature film Hard Men, a forerunner of British gangster movies such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and had a documentary made of his life Mad Frank which was released as part of the DVD The Ultimate Gangster DVD (2003 Gangster Videos), which featured crime figures Charles Bronson, John McVicar, Paddy Joe Hill, Albert Reading, Dave Courtney, Roy Shaw, Norman Parker, Marilyn Wisbey and axe victim Eric Mason. This programme was also shown on The Crime & Investigation Channel & Biography Channel in the UK and was directed by Liam Galvin.
Fraser is also a big Arsenal fan, and his grandson Tommy Fraser is a professional footballer, and formerly captain of League Two side Port Vale. Another of Fraser's grandsons, James Fraser, also spent a short time with Bristol Rovers. Another grandson, Anthony Fraser, was being sought by police in February 2011 for his alleged involvement in alleged £5 million cannabis smuggling ring.
- Fraser, Frank & Morton, James (2000). Mad Frank's Diary: A Chronicle of the Life of Britain's Most Notorious Villain. Virgin Books. ISBN 1-85227-874-9.
- Fraser, Frank & Morton, James (1995). Mad Frank: Memoirs of a Life of Crime. Time Warner Paperbacks. ISBN 0-7515-1137-4.
London-based production company Classic Media Entertainment has secured the film rights to Mad Frankie's life. A feature film production is currently in development and the production has Fraser's endorsement.
- The Independent
- New Statesman
- Law Gazette
- Southport Visitor
- Daily Express
- Cal McCrystal "Mad Frank's Return", The Independent, 5 February 1995
- New Statesman
- The Guardian
- The Internet Movie Database
- Internet Movie Database
- Ashton, Neil (25 September 2008). "Brighton breezy by the sea as future looks less stormy now". Daily Mail. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
- "'Mad' Frankie Fraser grandson wanted by police". BBC Sport. 21 February 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2011.
- Classic Media Entertainment