Frankie Fraser

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Frankie Fraser
Rob&Frankie.jpg
Born Francis Davidson Fraser
13 December 1923 (1923-12-13) (age 90)
Lambeth, South London, England
Occupation Criminal
Website
Official site

Francis Davidson Fraser, better known as "Mad" Frankie Fraser (born 13 December 1923), is a former English criminal and gang member who spent 42 years in prison for numerous violent offences.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

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.

Fraser confirms in his book 'Mad Frank & Friends' that his grandmother was a Native Canadian.[citation needed]

Post-war[edit]

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. Afraid of being heavily medicated for bad behaviour, 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.[3]

The Richardson Gang[edit]

It was in the early 1960s that he first met Charlie and Eddie Richardson, members of the Richardson Gang and rivals to the Kray twins.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6]

Violence[edit]

Fraser's 42 years served in over 20 different prisons in the UK were often coloured by violence.[7] 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.[8]

In 1991 Fraser was shot in the head from close range in an apparent murder attempt outside the Turnmills Club in Clerkenwell, London. He has always maintained that a policeman was responsible.

Later life[edit]

Fraser has become something of a celebrity, appearing on television shows such as Operation Good Guys,[9] Shooting Stars,[10] and the satirical show Brass Eye,[11] 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 1996 he played (his friend) William Donaldson's guide to Marbella in the infamous BBC Radio 4 series A Retiring Fellow.[12] 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 gave gangland tours around London, where he highlights infamous criminal locations such as the Blind Beggar pub.

Fraser is also a big Arsenal fan, and his grandson Tommy Fraser is a professional footballer,[13] 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.[14]

He is now resident at a sheltered accommodation home in Peckham. In June 2013 the 89 year old Fraser was served with an Anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) by police after a row with another resident.[15]

Books[edit]

  • 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. 

Film[edit]

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.[16]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]