“He re­alised that the trap­pings his old life didn’t mat­ter much”

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Q&A -

for a quiet meal, a huge con­trast to the wild times he’d had at the restau­rant in his pre­vi­ous life.

Af­ter an over­seas hol­i­day, the cou­ple set­tled into coun­try life. Fraser wanted the con­tent­ment he’d found labour­ing on his friend’s prop­erty af­ter leav­ing jail.

At a time when he might have been gut­ted with re­morse at all he’d lost, he re­alised the trap­pings of his old life didn’t mat­ter much. Only his chil­dren mat­tered, and the few friends who’d seen some­thing worth sal­vaging in the wreck­age. Now there was the wo­man who had taken a punt on him, too.

The cou­ple are keen cooks. Vis­i­tors get mar­malade and rel­ish. Fraser rum­mages through a drawer search­ing for the cer­tifi­cate to prove they have won a Royal Mel­bourne Show sauces and pre­serves cat­e­gory.

They even cre­ated their own la­bel. “We called it Bright Fu­tures,” says Allen. So far, she adds, the name seems about right.

It has taken years for mem­o­ries of prison to fade. Not all do. Once, in the gar­den at Port Phillip Prison, Fraser saw Du­pas and an­other sick killer un­cover a nest of baby mice. The pair grabbed the wrig­gling pink bod­ies and hacked them in half with se­ca­teurs, laugh­ing like the psy­chopaths they are.

Some­times he runs into a fa­mil­iar face from his time “in­side”. One day not long ago, a young man ap­proached him while he was filling his car at a ser­vice sta­tion in in­ner-sub­ur­ban Mel­bourne. Fraser ad­mits rolling his eyes and think­ing, “Here we go – some bloke who’s seen me in jail is go­ing to put the bite on me.”

He was only half right. The young man had been in jail with him – but he didn’t want to “snip” him for money. All he wanted was to thank him for some­thing Fraser had for­got­ten.

At Ful­ham, Fraser had been the “prison lis­tener” – an older, wiser pris­oner the staff re­lied on to speak to trou­bled in­mates. The for­mer pris­oner re­minded Fraser that he had taught him the al­pha­bet, then how to sound let­ters into words. It was the start of his learn­ing how to read and write, which meant that when he left prison he was able to pick up the ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion he had missed as a child.

It wasn’t much, just enough to change his life. He had never gone back “in­side”. He just wanted Fraser to know that.

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