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  1. #1
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    UK - Another link to crime tradition passes: Kray firm rival Charlie Richardson dead

    Hard to know where to put this one - it almost deserves a separate, as yet uncreated, forum: call it History of Crime, then branch off to History of Crime: London, and again, to History of Crime: London: East End. That would work.

    But it could also fall under Up to the Minute; the death in question - of Charlie Richardson - occurred last week. Or Celebrity and Entertainment News: the characters in question - particularly the Kray twins, Reg and Ron - mingled with onlookers and hangers-on like the Beatles, Judy Garland, Barbara Windsor and Diana Dors. Or Bizarre and Off-Beat News: names like George Cornell and the Blind Beggar pub and Jack (the Hat) McVitie, like Mad Frankie Fraser and Frank (The Axe Man) Mitchell, summon up something apart from what came before, and what was to come after. These diamond geezers, these hard men, are now ghosts of the East End and of southeast London, most of them, as distant from us now as that fellow called Jack who walked these same Whitechapel streets in the 1880s.

    So when one reads of the death of Charlie Richardson, one hears the bell toll for a range of names: Darby Sabini and Alf White; Jack Spot and Billy Hill. Whether they were ponces - "thieves' ponces," the Richardsons called the Krays - or lords of their manors or both, they were deadly ones, and of their time: when Frank Fraser joined the Richardson gang, it was compared to China acquiring the atom bomb.

    (all links above from Wikipedia)

    Charles Richardson (Daily Telegraph)
    Charles Richardson, who has died aged 78, was a criminal businessman and unrepentant gangster who, with his younger brother Eddie, corrupted detectives and terrorised the south London underworld of the 1960s; after a series of so-called “Torture Trials” — which, for the first time, shed light on the inner workings of British organised crime — he served a 25-year prison sentence before being released in 1984

    Charlie Richardson: Shrewd and ruthless leading figure of London's 1960s criminal scene (Independent)

    'Charlie Richardson was evil, he should have been tortured like his victims' (Independent)
    Sadistic gang boss, who died this week, is remembered by his former prison mate John McVicar

    Charlie Richardson obituary (Guardian)
    Notorious London gangster of the 60s jailed for 18 years after the 'torture trial'
    Last edited by wfgodot; 09-25-2012 at 08:23 PM. Reason: Mad Frank phoned; suggested emendations

  2. #2
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    Charlie Richardson made the Krays look like a pair of teddy bears
    England's dancing days are done...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by badhorsie View Post
    Charlie Richardson made the Krays look like a pair of teddy bears
    Reg maybe, but the Colonel? NEVER!! lolol.

  4. #4
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    Okay, the Richardsons were THE firm in London of the '60s - the Krays spent too much time in jail. But the Richardsons were not the stuff of myth. Legend has it (probably incorrectly, as legends tend to have it) that, when Ron Kray gunned down George Cornell in the Blind Beggar (for having called him "a fat poof," within the hearing of a Kray firm member), this '60s classic was playing on the jukebox - and with the kicker that the bullet struck said jukebox, causing the title lyric to repeat time after time after time, underscoring the darkness of the deed just done:
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eAxCVTMJ-I"]Walker Brothers - The sun ain't gonna shine anymore 1965 - YouTube[/ame]
    Further, I don't believe there has been a film based on the Richardson gang; there was a fine one based on the Krays. Here are its violent scenes - when Cornell and McVitie meet their ends:
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q04VkFxlMNs&feature=relmfu"]the krays part 12 - YouTube[/ame]

  5. #5
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    Excellent news report highlighting the Kray twins and including some of the persons named above (Frank Fraser; John McVicar; and also the Met's Nipper Read, who brought them to justice) on the occasion of the Colonel - Ronnie Kray's - death:
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ntzFqlV_lM"]Ronnie Kray (1933-1995) - YouTube[/ame]
    A short interview from Sky News with Charlie Richardson:
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1OSjxkqW14"]Charlie Richardson interview (London gang boss). - YouTube[/ame]

  6. #6
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    Reggie Kray's gangland funeral, probably the last of its kind:
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwfW-CMBIxk"]Reggie Kray's funeral - YouTube[/ame]

  7. #7
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    Neither the Krays nor the Richardsons committed the London-based '60s caper that is most remembered today; that crime would be the Great Train Robbery of 1963, pulled off by a firm assembled by mastermind Bruce Richard Reynolds. It was set to go off with no violence - the team carried no guns; it almost succeeded in that. Instead, two members of the Royal Train crew - from Glasgow bound for Euston Station - resisted, and were coshed. One man was severely injured.

    The Alabama 3 video relates the tale in song, with narration at the end by Reynolds:
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQqGuufyLlg&playnext=1&list=PL23D7A4D2ED86 33F7&feature=results_video"]Alabama 3 - Have You Seen Bruce Richard Reynolds - YouTube[/ame]
    lyrics
    (one line reads, "wearin' scrubs"; it should of course read, "Wormwood Scrubs," the name of a prison; also, the movie in the video is Thomas Edison's "The Little Train Robbery," filmed in 1905)

  8. #8
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    Three from Richardson gang member Mad Frankie Fraser; the second is filmed on a London bus tour through the East End streets where these crimes proliferated:
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rhr8Vjzy8E"]The killing of George Cornell - YouTube[/ame]
    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ady24UrspI8&feature=related"]mad frankie fraser - YouTube[/ame]

  9. #9
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    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDPaMBlwfHA&feature=related"]Mad Frankie Fraser Documentary Teaser #1 - YouTube[/ame]

  10. #10
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    From the obit: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012...lie-richardson

    Some of his gang admitted routinely snapping people's toes with pliers and pulling their teeth out and it was claimed that troublesome victims had their feet nailed to the floor.
    Ugh. Evil and sadistic indeed!

    I see the writer of this article has his own colorful story.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...ms-8163896.htm

    John McVicar
    A gangster, armed robber and serial prison escape artist, named "public enemy No 1" in the Sixties, McVicar went straight in the Seventies, took a degree and became a writer.


  11. #11
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    Dartmoor prison turns to captivating tourists (Telegraph)
    Bogs, fogs, dogs and tales of celebrity convicts are
    helping to attract 30,000 visitors a year to Dartmoor Prison.

    "The Mad Axeman, Frank Mitchell. The Acid Bath Murderer – though he was in here for something else. Éamon de Valera, the Irish leader – he was a political prisoner…" Brian Dingle, the curator of Dartmoor Prison Museum, is ticking off the prison's celebrity occupants on his fingers – or at least, in deference to the Official Secrets Act and identity protection laws, those whose names are already in the public domain. "I think it's because of the Mad Axeman that people think we're high-security," he muses, "But we've never been more than a 'B'. We're 'C' now, the lowest secure category in England and Wales."

    He's right. Somehow HMP Dartmoor is more than the sum of its parts. The name alone evokes a frisson of delighted horror. When I analyse this I find that, in my mind at least, it conjures up dark and complex images of (a) bogs, (b) fogs and (c) dogs. The bogs and fogs are real, I've experienced both of them, but the dogs come from The Hound of the Baskervilles, a melodramatic Sherlock Holmes story that has little to do with the prison, but happens to be set on Dartmoor.
    ---
    the rest, with a video, at link above
    Last edited by wfgodot; 09-25-2012 at 09:08 PM. Reason: Mad Frank Fraser again, correcting spelling

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by wishuwerehere View Post
    I see the writer of this article has his own colorful story.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...ms-8163896.htm
    The Who's Roger Daltrey played him in the title role of the film McVicar in 1980.

  13. #13
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    Incidentally - a couple times above, in that Alabama 3 video and in at least one of the others, the expression "doing one's bird" occurs. To do one's bird is an expression from cockney rhyming slang - which would have been used in many other ways by the people we speak of here; "bird" here refers to "bird lime," rhyming slang for "time." To do one's bird meant to do one's time in prison.

  14. #14
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    Frank (Mad Axeman) Mitchell

    The Axe Man? Glad you asked. Frank doesn't have his own Wikipedia entry, and that's a crime.

    Here's Frank, at thekrays.co.uk.

    Yes, his nickname came after his escape from Broadmoor, an institution for the criminally insane, when he took a couple hostage and waved an axe around. Didn't hurt anyone but certainly scared them sufficiently to suffer nightmares for years, I'd think.

    Not sure if it says in the entry above, but, according to other sources, the Krays facilitated Frank Mitchell's escape from Dartmoor Prison first to draw attention to his request for a case review (which he did have coming), but their true motives were ulterior: they wanted the Axe Man in their employ eventually, in order to offset the Richardson gang's employment of Mad Frankie Fraser (see IP above; his joining the Richardsons tilted the power axis precipitously).

  15. #15
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    The Daily Mail's photo essay on Charlie Richardson & Co. Nice sidebar: "London's Gangland Undeworld of the 1960s":

    Death of a gang boss: Charlie Richardson known for pinning victims to the floor with six-inch nails dies aged 78
    ---
    Richardson was at one time the most feared criminal in the capital. He developed an empire in South London in the 1950s and 1960s which embraced fraud, gambling, protection rackets – and generated terror through torture, claims which he later denied.

    He was arrested on the day England won the World Cup in 1966. His trial heard he was alleged to have used iron bars, pliers and electrodes on anyone who crossed him.

    The Camberwell-born crime lord was found guilty of fraud, extortion, assault and grievous bodily harm, and was jailed for 25 years.

    Together with his brother Eddie, he was as infamous as Ronnie and Reggie Kray and ‘Mad’ Frankie Fraser.
    ---
    much more at the link

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