‘MAD’ Frankie Fraser, was one of the most feared and respected West End crime lords of the 1960s.
Who was Frankie Fraser?
Frankie Fraser was born on Cornwall Road in Waterloo, London on December 13, 1923.
Fraser was the youngest of five children who were growing up in poverty – he first turned to crime at the tender age of 10, alongside his sister Eva.
After trying his hand at crime as a child, Fraser then continued into his later life.
Fraser was part of Britain’s Underworld between the 1940s-1960’s.
During World War 2 he was a deserter – escaping from his barracks on several occasions.
It was during the war that he first became involved in serious crime.
As people faced blackouts, rationing and a lack of professional policing due to conscription, Fraser had ample opportunities for criminal activities, such as stealing from houses while the occupants were hiding for safety in air-raid shelters.
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In 1941, Fraser was given his first taste of punishment when he was sent to borstal for breaking into a Waterloo hosiery store.
After the war, Fraser was involved in a smash-and-grab raid on a jeweller, for which he received a two-year prison sentence, mostly served at HMP Pentonville.
During the 1950s, Fraser’s main criminal occupation was as bodyguard to well-known gangster Billy Hill.
Once again, he was sent to prison, this time for taking part in bank robberies.
He was later released in 1955.
The following year, the British mobster Jack Spot and wife Rita were attacked on Billy Hill’s say-so, by Fraser, Bobby Warren and at least half a dozen other men.
This resulted in Fraser returning to prison once again – this time to serve a seven-year sentence.
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-machine 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 Smith’s club in Catford while other Richardson associates, including Jimmy Moody, were charged with affray.
A witness later changed his testimony, and the charges were eventually dropped, though Fraser still received a five-year sentence for affray.
He was also tried in court in the so-called ‘Torture trial’, in which members of the Richardson Gang were charged with burning, electrocuting, and whipping those found guilty of disloyalty.
Fraser himself was accused of pulling out the teeth of victims with a pair of pliers.
Following a trial at the Old Bailey in 1967, he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment.
Why was he known as ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser?
To prove his unsuitability to the force, he assaulted a doctor before jumping out of the window at the Bradford assessment centre where he had been sent.
How long did Frankie Fraser spend in prison?
Fraser served a total of 42 years in over 20 different prisons in the UK for numerous violent offences.
But his criminal activities didn’t stop when he was locked up.
During his time in prison, Fraser was involved in a number of riots and frequently fought with prison officers, fellow inmates and governors.
In 1969, Fraser was one of the ringleaders of the major Parkhurst Prison riot, which resulted in him spending the six weeks in the prison hospital due to his injuries.
And involvement in such activities often led to his sentences being extended.
What was Frankie Fraser known for?
Frankie Fraser was known a notorious torturer and hitman, who worked as an enforcer for some of London’s most feared gang leaders.
However, it was the during the ‘torture trial’ of the Richardson gang in 1967, that Frankie Fraser become notorious nationally.
The trial which became one of the longest in British criminal history.
When did Frankie Fraser die?
On 21 November 2014, Fraser fell critically ill whilst undergoing leg surgery at King’s College Hospital, Denmark Hill.
Fraser was placed into an induced coma, but just five days later, on November 26, 2014, Fraser passed away after his family made the decision to turn off his life-support machine.
His funeral took place on December 18, 2014.