MAD FRANKIE’S ROUGH GUIDE TO PRISONS
Fraser spent 42 years in prison and claims to have spent at least a night in each prison in England. He did a number of hunger strikes and spent a lot of time in solitary as a result. He found Durham prison the toughest, had ‘fond’ memories of Gloucester, and quite liked Cane Hill Psychiatrist Prison:
‘...after prison, it was like paradise.’
It was there that he was certified insane. His time at Cane Hill mental hospital and Broadmoor earned him his nickname, ‘Mad Frankie Fraser’. It was in Leicester Security Wing that he first met Marilyn Wisbey, daughter of Great Train Robber, Tommy Wisbey. Aged just 11 at the time, she would meet Fraser again many years later and the two would become inseparable.
In 1968 he was moved from Leicester to the top security wing in Brixton. In the same wing were the three Kray brothers. Fraser also mixed with IRA prisoners and perhaps because of his mother, or perhaps because of the way they deported themselves, Fraser developed an understanding for their cause.
Fraser was behind the 1969 prison riots at top security HM Prison Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight. In response to alleged beatings of prisoners in segregation, Fraser organised a sit down demonstration. This soon turned into a physical confrontation. Fraser managed to get his ‘share of violent retaliatory behaviour’ before being overwhelmed by the better trained and better equipped riot officers. Fraser received multiple injuries that required hospitalisation and he received another five years for his role as ringleader in the riots.
Fraser’s propensity for ‘doing screws’ was one of the reasons he was one of the few prisoners to spend his last 20 years in prison without remission. In 1975, over the period of a week, Fraser assaulted three Bristol prison officers. Three IRA prisoners gave evidence on Fraser’s behalf. After the Parkhurst riots, Fraser claims they had made him an honorary member. In total, Fraser attacked four prison governors. One he tried to hang. Anyone connected with the prison authorities was considered fair game:
“the best thing I ever done.”
Fraser on beating up hangman Albert Pierrepoint
And other prisoners weren’t exempt from his violence. He claimed that he once cut off a prisoner’s ear then he flushed it down the toilet so that they wouldn’t find it.
But it wasn’t all beatings and riots. Fraser got to meet many infamous men including the assassin of Martin Luther King. Fraser later reported he didn’t trust him. And in Wormwood Scrubs, he met the silent cinema celebrity Ivor Novello. The star was in jail for petrol coupon fraud. Fraser’s mother commented that it was worth her son going to prison as he’d met such an important figure.
Prison was an occupational hazard for Fraser. He liked to leave it in style. He was once met from prison by his son in a Rolls Royce.