In 1967, Frankie Fraser went to the Old Bailey for what became known as the ‘Torture Trials’. They were to become some of the most infamous criminal trials of the last half century. The court detailed how Charlie Richardson used iron bars, pliers and electrodes on opponents. He was accused of fraud, extortion, assault and GBH.
The trial judge was Sir Frederick Lawton, QC. His father was the famously strict governor of Wandsworth prison and Fraser had been one of his inmates.
One of the chief informers was an ex-gang member Johnny Bradbury. Bradbury was under a death sentence for the killing of a Richardson business partner. Bradbury hoped that his testimony might mean he’d escape the gallows.
Fraser was sentenced to 10 years for his role as the ‘dentist’ in the so-called Richardson Torture Gang. Gang leader Charlie Richardson received 25 years. Fraser later denied the claims of the prosecution that he electrocuted genitals, nailed feet to the floor and removed teeth. The prosecution had even alleged they’d used bolt cutters to remove fingers and toes. All of the convicted insisted that the torture allegations were made up to enforce their convictions.
Said to have used pliers to extract teeth, Fraser argued that no one, toothless or otherwise, has ever come forward to testify that this happened. Many believe the pliers Fraser carried were a warning, not a tool, for the potentially loose lipped.
Fraser was about to embark on a long period of prison. And because he would never admit his guilt or show remorse, there would be no remission.