Day 8 – Mad Frankie Fraser woz ‘ere

20 Feb

The door opens just before 9 as is Ian’s. We are guided down to the end of the landing with a dozen over faces. Journeying down a tight set of steel spiral staircase, we are led out onto the central spur of Wandsworth Prison.

You may have seen this in photos, it’s a tall, circular space, railings running along the walls and a large blue star marks the floor. This star is famous in old Wandsworth folklore. It was once hallowed ground, why? I’m not quite sure, but it was the spot a Governor would stand to issue orders and the griddled floor still in place looks down where the kitchens once were. To stand here, in the centre of the Prison spur, would result in a severe beating, time in the punishment block and your card’s marked for remainder of your stay. You just didn’t do it.

That was until one day in the 1960s when a London villain by the name of Francis Fraser was sentenced to a term of imprisonment here. You might know him as Mad Frankie Fraser, the screws were petrified of him. An enforcer of the feared Richardson Crime Family from South of the River, he came to Wandsworth with a reputation to uphold. He was given the half chance he needed, so grabbing it with both hands, walked out to the middle of the ‘Star’, dropped his trousers and took a crap square in the middle.

We head down a handful of soulless corridors until we reach F Block – the resettlement wing. Here we are spoken to by civilian and uniformed members of staff. The purpose of the venture besides getting the blood moving round our extremities is to talk to us about ‘opportunities here and beyond’. My civilian interview was conducted with a  chino clad man of a highly nervous disposition.

“LOVE the trousers fella” I offer him

It’s a surprise the man hasn’t considered a career change, though his nerves  ease when he sees what I’m in for. He breathes a sigh of relief knowing that he isn’t boxed in the corner of a small side office with a homicidal maniac. Douglas is his name, the man who looked like he held a sense of dread with every prisoner meeting, the meeting was not in the least bit productive but it’s nice having a natter.

The second meeting is held with a rotund woman who really doesn’t understand my conviction or had ever heard of such Financial Regulation laws; she has my down as a ‘Forger’, which sounds very ‘Great Escape – Donald Pleasance’ something I’m fine with; regardless, she sees no reason why I wouldn’t be a Category D prisoner. This means low risk, more importantly this means: Open Prison.

From here the next stage of my prison career is likely to be Ford Prison near Chichester. It made the news last year when inmates set fire to a number of buildings at New Year; for me it spells the start of some semblance of normality again. At least I think it will.

There’s a waiting list though, a huge backlog at Wandsworth means rather than be moved in days, I could be here for a number of weeks more.

Ian comes out of his own meeting, he’s got 7 years, so he will be heading to a C category prison first. He’s leaving in days, to HMP Highpoint. Pang of jealousy to know that his situation will be resolved sooner than my own. But I can’t envy a 7 stretch and he will be nearer his family.

Back on the wing, Lord Taylor’s having his own issues with categorisation and is being sent to a prison even further from his family. His transfer to a D Cat, kept being cancelled, now he’s off to Stamford Hill in Kent. He’s being messed around inside and unlike how the papers will portray it, the powers that be are making efforts to be seen to treating him harshly. The prison service makes a song and dance of stressing the importance of ‘Supporting, promoting and maintaining family ties’. Sending someone from Warwick (Lord Taylor of Warwick) to Kent via Wandsworth, really doesn’t fit that strategy. He wishes me luck as I head off to see the Doctor over a touch of man-flu I’ve acquired.

 

 

 

 

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3 Responses to “Day 8 – Mad Frankie Fraser woz ‘ere”

  1. Cookie February 21, 2012 at 12:44 am #

    I’ve just ordered Frankies book after reading that!also how you mentioned Stamford Hill,my partner was in there until a month ago.
    I am addicted to your posts every day,it’s a real insight. Thank you

    • disgracedbanker February 21, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

      Just make sure you buy my book too when I release my full story 🙂

      • Cookie February 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

        Of course 🙂 I will be pre ordering that one!

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