NOTORIOUS former London gangster ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser has passed away after slipping into a coma, following an operation on a fractured leg.
Fraser, 90, who spent nearly half his life in jail, died surrounded by family at King’s Cross Hospital in London on Wednesday lunchtime.
He had been in a critical condition following complications from his operation on November 21 - it is understood his relatives staged a bedside vigil because of fears over his failing health.
A family source said on Monday: “Doctors fear that because of his age his body is struggling to cope with the operation. It does not look good at all.
“He is a tough old sod and we know he will fight as hard as he ever has. We all hope he comes through this.”
A second source added: “Frankie’s one tough b*****d - but this looks like it might be the end. Everyone fears the worst.”
It is understood he had been admitted into hospital for a hip operation but doctors noticed he had a fractured left leg two weeks later - the injury is thought to be a recurring one suffered during the 1969 Parkhurst Prison riots on the Isle of Wight, when he spent six weeks in the prison hospital.
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Fraser was a member of the feared Richardson Gang, who were also fierce rivals of the Kray twins. The gang’s activities became infamous during the 1967 “Torture Trials”, in which it was revealed Fraser would pull teeth from his victims’ mouths using a pair of pliers.
He spent a total of 42 years in jail for a variety of offences, but later became something of a media personality after being released from his last stint in jail in 1989.
He was given an Asbo at the age of 89 following an incident at his care home, where he chased a fellow pensioner after he refused to move out of his favourite seat.
Dubbed “Britain’s most dangerous man” by two Home Secretaries, he said at the time: “I thought my flashes of temper had long since gone, but when I saw this bloke called Arthur sat in my favourite chair by the window and refusing to move I lost it.
“I didn’t want any aggro but he was being as stubborn as bloody hell.
“I wanted my chair back and I’ve never been too good at backing down. It’s just not in my nature.”
Born Francis Fraser, in Lambeth, south London, he committed his first crime at the age of 13, when he stole a packet of cigarettes and was sent to an approved school.
It was during the Second World War that he was branded ‘Mad’ Frankie, after he feigned a mental illness to avoid being called up to the front line.
In the 1950s he worked for underworld boss Billy Hill and carried out razor attacks on victims for £50 each.
He later joined the notorious Richardson gang, formed by brothers Eddie and Charlie, and began carrying out more criminal activities.
In 1966 he was charged with the murder of Richard Hart, who was shot at a club in Catford, but the charges were dropped when a witness changed their testimony.
The following year he was involved in a torture trial the Old Bailey, where members of the gang were charged with electrocuting, whipping and burning those disloyal to them.
Fraser himself was charged with pulling out people’s teeth with pliers and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
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