Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ask a Former Gangster Anything

"Mad" Frankie Fraser. Photo: Photoshot/Getty Images.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what it was like to be a gangster in mid-century Great Britain, now’s your chance. The UK’s Crime & Investigation channel is producing a special with Frankie Fraser, a notoriously violent member of the Richardson gang, and has opened up the floor to questions via their Facebook page. You have until Friday to ask anything you’d like to know, and select questions will be answered by Fraser himself.

Fraser was a World War II deserter and petty criminal who became bodyguard to gangster Billy Hill after serving a two-year stint in prison for a jewelry store robbery. He was in and out of prison throughout his criminal career, serving a total of 42 years in over 20 institutions. In the 1960′s Fraser joined up with the Richardson gang, arch rivals of the Kray twins who controlled much of East London’s organized crime. While the Kray twins were known for schmoozing with the likes of Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra, the Richardsons were most famous for their brutal methods of torture. After convicting their victims in mock courts, in which Fraser participated, gang members meted out varying forms of torture, including beating, burning and amputation of toes with bolt cutters. Fraser, whose nickname was “Mad,” was especially notorious for pulling out teeth with pliers.

Now 89, Fraser has become involved in television and gives gangland tours of London. He has also written two memoirs.

The Kray Twins: Brothers in Arms

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