A CONVICTED killer released from jail after more than 25 years inside has penned a crime novel.
Frank Wilkinson was one of Britain’s longest-serving prisoners after being found guilty of the 1985 murder of Alan Raffle.
Mr Raffle, 23, was bludgeoned to death in Kielder Forest, Northumberland, with a hammer belonging to Mr Wilkinson.
Initially, he was a disruptive influence in prison, but for the past 15 years he knuckled down to study, eventually gaining a PhD in English Literature.
Now, the 66-year-old has written Freddie Lee, a book set in 1950s Sunderland which depicts the gangland underworld of the time.
The 450-page book chronicles the main character’s tough upbringing and descent into crime.
Frank hopes that proceeds from the e-book could go to Forces charity Help for Heroes.
Speaking at his Southwick home, he said: “People who’ve read it say that although none of it is true, it’s the most accurate description of Monkwearmouth in the 1950s that they’ve read.
“I wrote into the Echo to ask for people’s memories of the time and got a great response. It was tough with the coal mines and the shipyards and there wasn’t the attitude towards fighting that there is now.
“It’s frowned upon now, whereas back then if you told someone you’d had a fight people would ask ‘well, did you win?’”
Wilkinson still protests his innocence to this day and says his remaining years will be devoted to clearing his name.
He added that he hasn’t struggled to adjust to life on the outside since being released in April.
“I know a lot of people who seem to have had trouble once they left prison, but I didn’t,” he said.
“I spent the first few days just walking around, going into shops that weren’t even built at the time I got sent away.”
l Freddie Lee, by Franklyn Wilkinson can be downloaded from Kindle Books at amazon.co.uk.